Sunday, October 7th, 2012
When I first started this blog in 2008, I was prone to depression. I literally felt like I had those huge ankle weights holding me down. Those days don’t happen very much any more. Over the years of studying work happiness, I’ve learned about life happiness, too.
I still feel sad like everyone else. No one can avoid sadness, but my sadness doesn’t last as long as it used to.
The more work I’ve put into my core happiness, the more resilient I feel. When I fail, I don’t take it as hard as I used to. I shake it off and try something else. It’s this trait that all happy people seem to possess. They never let things bring them so far down that they just give up.
Just so we are clear, I’m not talking about hiring people who aren’t phased by failure. I’m talking about hiring the resilient people who can get knocked down and find a way to see a positive and build on it.
That’s why I’m writing this piece. You have to learn how to separate the fakers from the real deal happy people.
You may be thinking, Why do I even care if my people are happy?
“People are more productive and creative when they have more positive emotions. In fact, we found that, if happier on a given day, people were not only more likely to come up with a new idea or solve a complex problem that same day but also to do so the next day.”
- Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, The Progress Principle
Why You Should Hire Happy People
You can’t teach people happiness. They have to want it deep down within their souls. They have to want to be happy so much so that they keep on working at it. This trait is passed on to their co-workers. They never give up and it’s infectious.
Employees either believe they deserve happiness or they don’t. If they aren’t happy when they walk through the door that doesn’t mean they won’t ever be happy. They may be intimidated by their environment. It’s up to you to figure out who is willing to work hard at being happy and pass this feeling on to their co-workers.
Happy people are:
- More resilient
- Go the extra mile
You can support your employees happiness. Ask your employees what is making them unhappy and remove it if possible. Ask them what they enjoy about their job and see if you can find a way for them to spend more time doing tasks that fit with their superskills. It’s important to have a dialog with your employees about happiness. The more you listen the more you can help them.
Finding Happy People
The easiest way to see if someone is happy is to find out what they care about. Ask questions that allow them to talk about their passions. You’ll get a gauge of what makes them happy and if your position will meet their happiness needs.
You can also ask a potential hire what they’ve done in the past if they aren’t happy at a job. See if they take you step-by-step through how they turned their job into something positive. If they tell you that they quit without trying then you know you need to keep looking for a better candidate.
Pay Unhappy People to Leave
You don’t always get every hire right, so do what Zappos does. They offer their employees $3,000 to quit after a month. They don’t want people staying with the company just for the money. They want people dedicated to the whole culture and mission of Zappos.
Once you learn how to hire a happy person, you might spend a little more time training them– especially if they don’t have the skills to succeed in their job. But believe me, once you’ve trained them, they will dig in and get it done. They’ll do it with such a good attitude that you’ll wonder why you haven’t used this approach sooner.
What do you think? Can you turn unhappy employees into happy ones? Let’s have a dialog in the comments below.