Tag Archives: Semco

Happy vs sad workers

8 Jul

You don’t need an infographic to tell you that most of North Europe does not experience high levels of sunshine throughout the summer months. Turn left at the UK and you will see Ireland a rocky outcrop on Northwestern Europe. Here is definitely not sunnyville. This week for some reason we have been hit with a sunny heat wave and it rocks.

The dilemma for most of us when the weather is this good is do we go to work or do we invent an illness and stay home. Or as an employer do we provide concessions to our workers and wrap up proceedings a little early and send your staff to the park or beach.

Weather like this in our part of the world does not come very often, would you blame us for wanting to soak up as much of that vitamin D as possible. Employers should take note. If you feel your staff have gone the extra mile for you throughout the year then this is the time to do pay them back. This will all depend on the industry you are in. A mass exodus of Traffic controllers from Dublin airport is not the wisest thing no matter how liked you want to be as a boss.

Yvon Chounaird  head of Patagonia the outdoor lifestyle company is a great believer that if the weather is right and your staff are looking to head out whether it is climbing, trekking or surfing just let them do it. After all his company was built on people being passionate about the outdoors. They will repay you in many other ways. Trust your staff to do the right thing.

Ricardo Semler from the Semco organization in Brazil trusts his people, that is how he turned Semco into a €1 billion organization, by giving his staff autonomy to the point that they can decide their own salary. If you have the right people onboard the salary they choose will define what they are worth and will correspond very closely with what you would offer. As Ricardo says

“I am not interested in…making sure that you (the employee) are here, that you are giving us so many hours a day. We need people who will deliver a final result.”

If you believe your staff need to be supervised constantly the likelihood is that they feel that way too and will want to down tools as soon as you are not around. My blog here explain Maslow’s X and Y theory and it’s connection with your workforce happiness.

Today or this week as the sun shines, think about what you can do for your staff that will make them feel valued (as they should be) . A round of 99’s or an afternoon off it’s up to you. The payback from your staff when that extra mile is needed. The wellbeing of your people must be paramount. Remember some of them see more of you in the 40hrs or so a week that they spend with you than the ones closest to them.

Happiness and motivation are created never bought. As Yvon Chouinard says“Let my people go surfing”

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Happy Henry

28 Mar

Happy-Manifesto-front-coverHappiness in the workplace is an essential cog in the growth of all successful and sustainable companies. It creates wellbeing within your staff, increases productivity, lowers absenteeism rates and creates a healthier environment that your staff want to work in and in return your staff feel valued and willing to go that extra mile when needed.

I have with interest followed companies and leaders that are championing the importance of wellbeing in the workplace. Companies like Zappos with Tony Hsieh at the helm and Semco with Ricardo Semlers innovative approach to autonomy at work.

Another name that has been leading this field is Henry Stewart. Henry created the aptly titled Happy ltd a company that started in the field of I.T training and now helps companies to create happier workplaces.

Henry understands the importance of job ownership, trust and freedom to make the right choices in the workplace. He had initially worked as a financial officer for the News on Sunday which managed to close after 6 weeks and £6.5m in funding due to the fact that

  • Staff where not trusted
  • Strong blame culture
  • No freedom to execute the job.

Henry went on to create Happy ltd and 21 years after his experience with “The News on Sunday” he had led Happy Ltd to the position of 18th best workplace in the UK.

How Henry did this was down to reverse what he had seen in his previous role and provide his staff with

  • Trust and freedom
  • Communication
  • Challenges
  • Autonomy
  • The desire to want to turn up to work each day rather than to feel they had to.

He outlines how he did this in his book Happy manifesto. Here Henry asks questions that every one who runs an organisation should be asking of themselves and their staff.

  1. What can you do as a manager or colleague to make your people feel good now?
  2. How would your organisation be different if its key focus in management was on making its people happy?
  3. What would be different in your organisation if mistakes were encouraged and welcomed?
  4. Do you encourage your people to play to their strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses?

These are just some of the questions that managers and company owners need to ask to grow the company that will serve us, our staff and our customers well. Otherwise we end up as corks bobbing in the ocean screaming “I must have control, I must have control”.

Well the cool thing is that Henry is organizing a Day on the 24th of April where you can get to meet him and some other fantastic speakers on the benefits of creating a happier workplace for you and your employees.If you can not make it a copy of the Happy Manifesto is recommended reading for all who are willing to make the leap to happiness at work.

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