Should You Ask Your Employees if they are Happy?

Research shows that happier people are more productive, more creative, work better on teams, have stronger relationships, and make better managers. Who would you rather have talking to your clients, grumpy people or happy people? Given that the research shows that happier people are more successful and help companies become more successful, why don’t more companies measure and influence employee happiness?

The answer is in the question.  Companies know they can’t manage or control employee happiness, they can only influence it.

  1. People have varying levels of happiness that is influenced by a multitude of scenarios going on in their lives so a company can’t provide a one size fits all or one correct solution.
  2. Measuring happiness is imprecise at best and companies have been taught to look for clear objective measurements.
  3. Most scarily, when companies ask employees if they are happy or why they are not happy, what do they do with that information? It will require hard work from creative authentic leaders to address the real issues people and companies face, but have so far ignored.


 Happiness is the Next Step in Well-Being Management

Happiness is known more scientifically as Emotional Well-being and the measurements and challenges are very similar to the corporate push for influencing physical well-being. In the early 2000’s a proliferation of scientific studies began to convince corporations that blood pressure, cholesterol levels, weight, and habits like smoking were indicators that their employees were not physically healthy.  Additionally, these studies showed that unhealthy employees were expensive because of insurance costs, productivity lost to sick days and hospital visits. To be fair, the leaders in most of the organizations also cared about their employees’ well-being and put programs in place to help improve well-being.  Happiness is the next natural step in this well-being process.

Manage Their Minds, not Butts in Seats

Our current day management practices were created in the 40’s for manufacturing businesses. Companies were focused on whether employees showed up, held their position on the line, and how many nuts they attached to the bolts. Today we are managing knowledgeable workers in a totally different environment and our management practices have to evolve.  We can no longer focus on butts in seats. We have to focus on managing the psychology of our people. Positive, excited, and motivated minds are going to be significantly more productive than depressed negatives ones.

Today’s technology enables our teams to work from anywhere. Instead of focusing on where they are working or when they are working, we should focus on whether they are in the best mindset to produce for their teams and the company.  Manage positive minds rather than butts in seats.

 Happiness Measurement is Proliferating

Happiness is being recognized by more and more people, organizations, and even governments.  In 2011 the United Nations created Resolution 65/309 and placed happiness on the global development agenda and they released a World Happiness Report. The National Institute of Management created the GNH – or Gross National Happiness Index.  The UK, India, Canada, Bhutan, and many other countries, as well as US cities have already made happiness measurement a part of their infrastructure. Since 2009, Gallup has been conducting an annual happiness survey. There is a push to measure happiness and engagement on a daily and weekly basis now, instead of an annual basis and companies are springing up all over the world to fill that void. Happiness measurement is here.  It is not a matter of if your company will adopt it but when.

A recent report by Deloitte, titled Trends in Global Human Capital identified culture and engagement as top issues that need to be addressed by organizations. An organization’s ability to create an atmosphere that highlights opportunities for happiness is quickly becoming a differentiator in their ability to attract top talent so they can win in the marketplace rather than falling behind.

Q: Should you ask your employees if they are happy?

A: Only if you care about them and the future success of your organization.


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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

How to Love Your Work

How to Love Your Work

We spend more than half of our waking hours working, and for many of us it can even be more. Those hours can seem even longer if we don’t like what we do. So how can we learn to love our work? The first step is trying to find something you love when you are looking for a job. When people love what they do, they are happier and more successful. They work longer hours, make more friends at work, spend most of their time thinking about how to do things better, and talk to everyone about what they do which provides them with lots of diverse ideas on how to do their job even better. Their job becomes intertwined in their life rather than separate from it and they excel because of it.

But the job may not be your passion. It may just enable your passion. Your job can be how you earn enough money to surf or play music. So you are not passionate about the job, but you are passionate about what it enables you to do. The key is to put your job into the perspective of your passions or dreams.

Job crafting is one way to find more interest in your job. How can you make adjustments in your job so it leverages your strengths, calls on your passions, and changes the boring and routine tasks? I often use the example of our janitor who doesn’t think her job is to clean bathrooms, it is to keep the “kids”, her name for our young work force, happy and productive. She makes sure they have coffee in the morning, clean dishes, and re-arranged furniture to help them be productive. Last week she pulled furniture out of an old storage room and set up shelves for the people who’s desks were getting overcrowded. She changed her job to be something she was passionate about. As part of job crafting you can also turn boring routine tasks into contests with yourself or others. If you did 100 entries yesterday, how can you do 150 entries today and maintain the same quality.

Job seekers and job holders alike can find more interest and passion in their job by looking for the connections. Do they connect with the vision and values of the company? Does the company purpose give them something bigger than themselves to pursue, for example, an alarm company making the world safer?   Do they connect with their friends and teammates at work? Can they be passionate about helping their co-workers succeed or help their team complete a big project? Can they connect with all the things they can learn on the job or the opportunity for travel and/or career advancement? Can they get excited about the opportunities for them to take on and accomplish huge projects with seemingly insurmountable challenges?

It is not about the job, it is about how they look at the job and how they choose to create the connection between their jobs and their lives.

If you want to love your work start by trying to find a job you will love. If that doesn’t work then find out how your work enables your passions. Focus on how your work can make a difference in someone else’s life. Find or create connections between your work and your passions.


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

How to get Happy – 4 Concepts connected to Leadership and Success

Over the years I have had the opportunity to study leadership and success.   I am struck by the connections between each area and how those connections are similar for happiness as well.


Your first test on happiness:

  1. Do you want to:
    1. Receive happiness like winning the lottery or receiving a gift?
    2. Experience happiness as a state of mind?

If you choose A, then you may be waiting for a while, possibly forever.  However, if you choose B, then we, the team at, have a lot to share that may be helpful.


Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book The How of Happiness, explained that happiness is created through our daily intentional activities.  This is consistent with Leadership and Success as well.   Happiness is within our ability to control with what we do in our daily lives and how we think.


Here are 4 concepts that will provide a framework for exploring happiness.

The first concept is understanding the difference between Pleasure and Happiness.   Are you chasing immediate pleasures like sex, decadent foods, couch time, and video time, or are you nurturing relationships, maintaining your health through diet and exercise,  finding ways to improve yourself, and being thankful for what is working in your life.  The pursuit of pleasure involves feeling good in the short-term at the possible risk of negative long-term outcomes; the pursuit of happiness consists of intentional activities and habits that promote long term health and well-being.



The second concept is taking control of your life.   George Bernard Shaw although a little gruff, was headed in the right direction when he explained pursuing happiness as, “…being a force of Nature instead of a feverish little selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. “  Do you own your decisions and the consequences of those decisions?  Are you deciding every day to invest in the habits and activities that will lead to happiness or are you waiting and hoping that happiness will find you?


The third concept is cultivating close positive relationships.  Do you have a few close friends you can talk to and share tell about your failures and successes? People who know and appreciate the real you, the good and the bad?  Are you caring and sharing in the community? Is there a person, group, or cause that you care for and give to?  The acts of sharing our true selves with others and caring for others are the most important things we can do to generate happiness and contentment in our lives.


The fourth concept is finding and expressing purpose and meaning.  The full George Bernard Shaw quote is:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish little selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.


Do you have something bigger than yourself to focus on?  Is there something bigger that you believe in or something that you know you were meant to do?  For many people this can be expressed in their religion or other spiritual pursuits.  Others may focus on their children or their meaningful contributions.


In summary, if you are choosing to pursue happiness:

  1. Understand the difference between Pleasure and Happiness
  2. Take control of your life and your happiness.
  3. Develop close positive relationships and care for others.
  4. Find and express purpose and meaning in your life.


As described above for happiness, leadership and success require a long term perspective, action and ownership, strong relationships, and a sense of purpose.


Also like Leadership and Success, happiness is not a possession that can be acquired.   It is a state of mind resulting from the cultivation of intentional daily habits.    It has to be pursued, explored, and experienced on an on-going basis.   Find out more about how to cultivate Happiness Habits at

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