Max Borders' recent article Ten Keys to Happy Companies in The Motley Fool covers the essential ingredients that comprise a satisfying company culture, all of which suspiciously sound a lot like our model here at Great Place to Work®. Borders even cites examples such as Google, Cicso, DreamWorks and Whole Foods- all of whom have made reoccurring appearances on the FORTUNE Best Companies to Work For®list.
What I enjoyed most about the article was that while Borders nailed the essentials; purpose, teamwork and a culture of trust, he threw in a few additional ingredients for a bit of flavor:
Beauty - “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it,” said Confucius. It’s important that firms integrate the aesthetic into their organizations. This may sound like a bizarre claim for an investor site. But beauty is a big part of happiness. It’s important to see beauty in the apparently mundane -- for example in business processes.
I completely agree with this last statement. I don’t know about you, but I have worked long and hard on Excel spreadsheets, and finally, at the end of the day when they are completed and I fall asleep dreaming of tiny boxes, I feel good about the gorgeous report I put together. Knowing that others will access the information they need smoothly and efficiently, to me, is a beautiful thing.
Flow - The concept of happiness eludes definition. And happiness can be hard to sustain. But some of us can when we’re happy at work. As positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi teaches us, there is a species of happiness to be found in "flow." Flow is a state of focused immersion in an activity.
Finding flow in everyday work can be elusive. But if you have ever found something such as knitting or shoveling snow to be soothing or calming, then you can understand where he is coming from. It can be challenging to access this, and even harder as a leader to promote flow in the workplace but it can be done. Listen to your employees and ask them- what can we do to make your job a more fulfilling task? Ergonomics is a great place to start, as an uncomfortable task will definitely impede flow.
Kelli Marjolet is Marketing Manager in the U.S. and a blogger for Great Place to Work®.