Employee Engagement Ideas Can Bring Happiness to the Workplace

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There are a million books and studies conducted with ideas about achieving happiness in our lives.  It’s something we seek, but have yet to find a magic “formula” for.  And what about happiness in the workplace specifically?  How do we achieve that?  And as employers, how do we create an environment that fosters happiness? Recent research suggests that the happiest, most productive employees are those that are engaged.  Employee engagement can be defined as “an employee’s intellectual and emotional connection with an employer, demonstrated by motivation and commitment to positively impacting the company vision and goals.” See this article on employee engagement.  OK, so we know employees need to be connected to the employer.  But how?

1. Strong leaders foster engaged employees

As an employee, if you are lucky enough to be linked to a strong leader, they will invest in you, coach you, teach you, challenge you.  They will lead by example, and you will want to follow them wherever they go.  You will go above and beyond your normal responsibilities simply because you have so much respect and loyalty to that leader.  What better way to foster a connection between an employer and their employees than to tie a strong leader to an employee, who is themselves a strong leader to another employee, and so on.  By having an organization of strong leaders, you are building a solid chain of engagement made of links throughout the company.

2. Establish a clear vision for the company with transparent goals

We hear this a lot – “define the vision of the company.” But really – how can you have a company of engaged employees that feel connected to the purpose of the company if they don’t know what the vision is or how they are going to get there?  And it’s more than just defining it – it’s about fostering a commitment to that vision and living it out one step at a time in the daily workplace.  A 10-year “pie-in-the-sky” dream is broken down into a 5-year plan, then a one-year plan, then quarterly goals, etc.  And it’s important that each employee has a contribution to the success of these goals.

3. Encourage relationships at all levels

This doesn’t mean everyone has to be best friends, and we certainly don’t want to encourage inappropriate relationships.  But it does mean that you should invest in getting to know who is sitting next to you.  What do they like to do when they’re not at the office?  Are they a pet lover?  An outdoors person?  You get the point.  Learning about each other fosters a rapport that is mutually beneficial for employees and employers.  Again, we’ll go a lot further for someone we like and respect than we will for someone we don’t.  And those relationships form lateral bonds that serve to further strengthen the links of the organization’s engagement chain.

If happiness in the workplace is tied to engagement, then we should focus our efforts on creating a values-based culture that attracts strong leaders.  Strong leaders will groom other strong leaders and encourage relationships across the organization.  Before you know it, you’ve built an organization full of engaged employees, who are productive and happy.  Maybe we’ve discovered the formula for happiness in the workplace … now if we could just figure out life.


The Culture Counts blog is a discussion of law firm culture and legal innovation, including topics such as effective leadership, employee engagement, workplace culture, ideal work environment, company core values, and workplace productivity.  

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