How Great Companies Help Employees Find Joy

  • How Great Companies Help Employees Find Joy

    How Great Companies Help Employees Find Joy

    I spoke to a longtime friend the other day. She was telling me how unhappy and unmotivated she is at the job where she’s worked for many years. She said once she starts her day and gets into her routine, she’s fine. But our conversation left me thinking about this question: What is the joy of working? 

    I often think of her and wonder what kind of job she’d love to do. But then I realized it’s not the job—it’s the culture and ultimately, the company leaders she’s unhappy with. Company culture is one of the strongest forces for happy employees to stay with a company. Leaders are the ones creating the culture and delivering the message.

    In Shawn Achor’s book, Happiness Advantage, he talks about the power people have to influence those around them. One of my favorite quotes from the book: 

    “How many well-meaning managers shoot themselves in the foot when they remind those under them at work of their weaknesses? Conversely, when a manager openly expresses his faith in employees’ skills, he doesn’t just improve mood and motivation; he actually improves their likelihood of succeeding.”

    A great example is MOD Pizza. Previous owners Ally and Scott Svenson possessed ‘The Four G’s,’ which were inspired by Shawn Achor’s book. They knew the world didn’t need more pizza, but instead, people needed a place to be themselves, do work that means something and earn money doing it. Ally mentions that almost daily, she would get an email about how her team went above and beyond to help others.

    Their ideas can be translated into any company culture.


    Showing respect and being thankful for opportunities. Business owners are here to serve others, and this fulfills the company’s mission of having a people-first culture. Hire people who will be grateful to have the opportunity to work in the environment you create. 

    The Svensons set out to hire employees with intellectual disabilities or those formerly incarcerated. This strategy succeeds because these team members are already grateful someone is giving them a chance to succeed.


    Being big hearted and kind. Giving team members a chance to grow and being generous to them with time, encouragement, education and empowerment. When showing generosity to the team, leaders are creating an environment in which the team can pay it forward to clients. Clients are treated better because the team feels they are being treated kindly.


    Keep pushing yourself as an employee and leader to learn more and grow personally. This results in growth for the company—employees will want to help customers and to welcome new team members.


    This one is my favorite because so many leaders leave this part out. Shit is going to go wrong. It always does. Even though you will be challenged, you can’t give up. Choose another way to do something and have the courage to pick yourself up and try again.

    The 4 G’s apply to leaders and teams. If we embrace them, we will start to ingrain them into our cultures. Even if you are in a situation where your manager isn’t practicing the 4 G’s, you can start and know that they are contagious. People will notice how you make them feel and pass it on. They might even start to love their jobs.

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