Hap­pi­ness Is Con­ta­gious, So Why Not Pass It On?

The HR Digest - - Content Features -

The hefty term, “Happy Work­placeHappy Em­ploy­ees” may re­flect the pic­tures of tech com­pa­nies lo­cated in Bay Area with fat pay­checks, re­frig­er­a­tors stocked with mac­a­roons and craft beers, sleep­ing area, open workspaces, count­less va­ca­tion days, and light work­loads. In or­der to last in the burnout, ab­sen­teeism, and emo­tional com­pe­tence com­pa­nies have dis­cov­ered that en­sur­ing the grass is greener on their fence’s side is para­mount and of­ten it means com­pris­ing a few out­ra­geous perks. But as it calls out, these fac­tors don’t nec­es­sar­ily bring forth em­ployee hap­pi­ness. In fact, higher em­ployee in­cen­tive pro­grams, ca­reer ad­vance­ment pro­grams, ex­cel­lent work­place re­la­tion­ships, great work-life bal­ance, am­ple ben­e­fits, au­then­tic­ity among em­ployee as well as clients, and chances of em­ployee growth are re­garded as the po­ten­tial fac­tors re­spon­si­ble for boost­ing the em­ployee hap­pi­ness. The com­pa­nies who have started con­sid­er­ing these as­pects in their work­place cul­ture have re­mark­ably noted the soar­ing rate of em­ployee hap­pi­ness. So, why en­sur­ing the em­ployee hap­pi­ness at work­place is so im­por­tant? Can we pro­mote more of hap­pi­ness in our or­ga­ni­za­tions and teams? Are we un­con­sciously pro­mot­ing em­ployee un­hap­pi­ness? Re­cently, we posed few ques­tions to Alexan­der Kjerulf, the founder of Woohoo inc., one of the lead­ing ex­perts on work­place hap­pi­ness in the world. He is the au­thor of ‘Happy Hour is 9 to 5’, an in­ter­na­tional best­seller, and four other books. Kjerulf tells us about his ca­reer, his ex­pe­ri­ences, how to bring hap­pi­ness into a com­pany, and much more.

Give us some in­tro­duc­tion about your­self, let us know your in­ter­ests other than this pro­fes­sion.

When I’m not mak­ing peo­ple happy at work I watch a LOT of movies and read a TON of books – pretty much any genre of both.

I’m also a beer afi­cionado, a Cross­fit fa­natic and pos­si­bly the only per­son in the world who does not like choco­late.

How did you choose this ca­reer?

I have a masters de­gree in com­puter sci­ence and have been a con­sul­tant and en­tre­pre­neur in IT for al­most 10 years.

Lov­ing my job has al­ways been a per­sonal value for me. I’ve al­ways felt that life is too short to work at a job you hate and that work AND life are more fun when you love your job.

In 1997 I co­founded an IT con­sul­tancy called En­ter­prise Sys­tems with the pri­mary goal of mak­ing it a very happy work­place. It was! We sold it in 2002 and at that point I re­al­ized that my true pas­sion in life was not IT, but hap­pi­ness at work.

So in 2003 I co­founded Woohoo Inc. and since then I’ve been do­ing speeches, work­shops and man­age­ment train­ings for clients like IKEA, LEGO, Pfizer, IBM, Hil­ton and many oth­ers in over 30 coun­tries.

You’ve been work­ing in this in­dus­try for a very long time and you’ve worked for some prom­i­nent names in the in­dus­try. What has been your best ex­pe­ri­ence so far and why?

I al­ways love work­ing with clients where the top lead­er­ship gets it and has a gen­uine in­ter­est in the well­be­ing of their peo­ple. Some of my fa­vorite ex­am­ples are LEGO and IKEA.

But I also love go­ing to ar­eas of the world where hap­pi­ness at work is a fairly new idea. My first visit to In­dia was amaz­ing be­cause few peo­ple there think in terms of cre­at­ing happy work­places, but once they were in­tro­duced to the idea, they loved it.

IM­AGE: Alexan­der Kjerullf, Founder of Woohoo Inc., one of the world’s lead­ing ex­perts on hap­pi­ness at work.

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