The working population's mental health has recently been in the headlines in Finland. Big national media outlets such as Yle News and Helsingin Sanomat have reported on increased burnouts among the Finns and the most recent statistics by Kela (the Finnish Social Insurance Institution) show that mental health issues have become the most common reason for sick leaves.
Happiness at work is trendy right now. It is trendy to post images from an office with bean bag chairs and a pool table. It is trendy to share the pictures from a company holiday party or a lunch with the team. It is trendy to tell everyone on LinkedIn how much you care about your employees, their happiness, growth, and work-life balance.
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” This quote is so widely cited all over the internet that you have probably seen it more than once and you already know who said it. That's right, it was Sir Richard Branson, the Founder of the Virgin Group.
This morning, I attended a Hacking Happiness session organized by the OpenIDEO Barcelona Chapter. OpenIDEO is IDEO's platform for open innovation. Their goal is to solve complex challenges in society by using design thinking as a tool. Design thinking allows practically anyone to find innovative solutions to problems in a human-centered, yet feasible and viable, way (IDEO).
Employee happiness is something that every dedicated leader wants for their organization. However, when it comes to putting in the resources to revamp your internal processes or to build an employer branding strategy from scratch, it may be difficult to justify the investment. The results of your hard work to create a happier workplace don’t appear overnight and you might find yourself putting it off because you need to focus on “priorities”, such as this month’s customer satisfaction numbers and sales figures.
I am a big believer in the famous Confucius quote: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” And I dare to say that most people wish they loved their jobs so much that work wouldn’t actually feel like, well, work. Instead, work would be something that they enjoy, something that they look forward to, and something that they feel passionate about. Something, that makes them happy.