How to Make Happiness a Team Sport


We have never been exponents of the smiley face versions of questionnaires but we are interested in understanding human emotions and with happiness being a primary emotion, we wanted to investigate how to design that in to organisations. We think we know how and it is easier than one might think.

Why happy?

It’s fairly common practice to measure things like employee engagement, customer satisfaction, customer experience and any number of other ways to decide how happy staff and customers are, but do they work?

Perhaps a brief delve into some basic psychology will help understand if they are the best type of measures to measure happiness. In order to be “happy” a human being needs to feel safe, as a hygiene factor and “loved” as a fluffy factor. I use the word fluffy not to demean the feelings around being loved but as a hard description of the many beneficial feelings around feeling loved, which for each of us will be different.

So fluffy, in that there needs to be texture and width to create the soft, warm feeling which most of us will associate with being loved. People who feel “loved” deliver better services, they can be trusted with greater responsibility and they have greater pools of resilience.

Happiness needs a wide gate

When I first started thinking about measuring happiness, I spent time working out what happiness would feel like for the team we work with at our clients. By mapping out the factors, which people say mean they are fulfilling their core purpose both in their role and in their organisation, it was possible to understand what made people happy, not just by themselves but in their teams. What I found was that there is a very wide gateway for people to feel happy within their work and the difference they make. This means organisations need to give themselves wide parameters for the people working in them, being served by them and even investing in them to feel confident and happy in their work, which in turn will allow them to feel happy.

What would happy look like in an organisation?

Happy organisations are made up of happy people and to achieve this people need to feel and be rewarded for delivering to the highest standards. To do this, organisations need to measure the right things. These could include measuring people doing what they say they are going to do, outcomes that result in the building of trust and integrity. Above all encouraging people to do what they are good at and giving them feedback that tells them how well they are doing, the difference this makes to their service users and/or colleagues and ideas as to how they can do even better. So the answer to delivering happy organisations is to give up the measurements which have little or nothing to do with happiness and re-work the measures so that they do. It is a simple start, with a big prize, in years to come we will wonder why more organisations haven’t taken up the challenge.

At Halo we specialise in helping successful organisations and people become more even more successful so if you would like help measuring your performance then do contact us on 44 (0)1276 477445.