The Real Rules for Employee Happiness

Rule #1 It has to be worthy!

It does not matter how many fancy trappings your company had, percs offered, free food, nifty social media presence. If you are hiring the best people, the will leave if they feel their work isn’t going somewhere. Even if the work is a boring spreadsheet, if a clear connection can be made to something worthwhile, it’s stops being a dreary pain and becomes an element of a larger vision. But if you can’t make that connection, you might get short term compliance but eventually you are going to lose engagement.

On the flipside, if you get consistent compliance on work that is disconnected from the larger vision, it’s time to worry. What are your employees really showing up for?

Rule #2 Hire for talent, develop the talent, engage the talent!

It really chaps my hide to see how much effort goes into hiring really talented people and how much talent gets left on the table.

Rule #3 Start with diversity—it’s not a fad or an accessory!

I recently heard about a man who found himself being invited to EVERY MEETING. Not because he was key to the discussion, a stakeholder, or decision maker. It was because he was one of the few African Americans in the company. He said he felt like an item on a check list (diversity quota—NAILED IT!). Yah, no.

If you are inviting people to meetings so you can get a great photo with all the right flavors, you are failing at diversity.

Instead, consider this:

Rule #4 Kick out competition, foster collaboration!

Rule #5 Values and ethics need to go bone deep.

Rule #6 Make it safe.