The slide.

Join us for our first ever webinar. The topic: What really makes us happy at work.

Companies have tried many different tricks to make their employees happier. Raises, bonus schemes, promotions, foosball tables, lavish lunches, gyms, massages – even slides and live piano players in the employee cafeteria.

But it turns out those things are not even remotely connected to happiness at work. In fact, in many cases they become distractions that keep workplaces from doing the things that really matter.

So if your workplace has some (or all) of the above and people are still not happy, engaged and motivated, this webinar can tell you what’s gone wrong and what to do instead.

Join us on Thursday September 25 if you’d like to learn about:

  • What it actually is that makes employees happy at work (it’s not what you think).
  • Why raises, bonuses and promotions do not cause happiness – but can absolutely cause unhappiness.
  • What the science of happiness (also known as positive psychology) says and how it can be applied in the workplace.
  • The one question almost every company forgets to ask about happiness at work.
  • Specific examples of what a workplace can do that actually works and does make its people happier.
  • What you yourself can do, to become happier at work.

The webinar will be short (only 30 minutes)  and punchy. We will get to the point quickly and leave you with new information and tools you can actually use.

Date and time: Thursday September 25 at noon US East coast time / 9am pacific time / 5pm GMT / 6pm Central European time.

The webinar will be held live on our youtube channel, so there is no login needed and no software to install. If you can watch youtube, you can join. There will be a chance to ask questions via chat.

And best of all, it’s free :)

Sign up here – all fields must be filled out:

Signup for the webinar

Helping and happiness

There’s an excellent article in HBR about The Culture of Helping at US innovation agency IDEO by Teresa Amabile (whose work we already love around here)  Colin M. Fisher, and Julianna Pillemer.

The authors raises some issues around helping behavior and point out that helping co-workers may not come naturally:

Helpfulness must be actively nurtured in organizations, however, because it does not arise automatically among colleagues. Individuals in social groups experience conflicting impulses: As potential helpers, they may also be inclined to compete. As potential help seekers, they may also take pride in going it alone, or be distrustful of those whose assistance they could use. On both sides, help requires a commitment of time for uncertain returns and can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Through their structures and incentives, organizations may, however unwittingly, compound the reluctance to provide or seek help.

In their study, they looked at what mattered most:

In our survey of the entire office population, people were asked to click on the names of all those who helped them in their work and to rank their top five helpers from first to fifth. (See the exhibit “What Makes an IDEO Colleague Most Helpful?”) Then they were asked to rate their number one helper, their number five helper, and a randomly suggested “nonhelper” (someone whose name they hadn’t selected) on several items. Those items assessed three characteristics: competence (how well the person did his or her job); trust (how comfortable the respondent was sharing thoughts and feelings with the person); and accessibility (how easily the respondent could obtain help from the person).

The kicker:

Trust and accessibility mattered much more than competence.

When looking for help, people don’t necessarily go to the smartest colleague but to the one they trust the most and have easy access to.

All in all, the article is a fascinating look into an organization that has succeeded in creating a culture where asking for and offering help is a natural part of the culture.

Go read the whole thing – it’s excellent (free to read, registration required).

I believe that a culture of helping is essential for creating a happy workplace because everything is easier, if you know you’re not alone and you can get help when you’re stuck.

Also, I believe that the desire to help others is much more common in happy workplaces. We know from several studies, that happy people are less selfish and more helpful towards others.

Another excellent example is New York-based Next Jump who make software for employee engagement programs. They transitioned their internal employee awards, so they no longer go to the best or most skilled employees, but to the ones who help others succeed the most:

Helping at NextJump

In short, I believe that a culture of helping is both a tool to create a happier workplace and an indicator of workplace happiness.

Study: Positive feedback increases intrinsic motivation


Here an interesting study on the effects of positive feedback:

Male and female undergraduate students performed an interesting task and received either positive or negative feedback relative to their performance.

Subjects then filled out intrinsic motivation and feelings of competence scales.

Results showed that, relative to negative feedback, positive feedback led to higher levels of intrinsic motivation and competence feelings for both males and females.

So not only did positive feedback increase feelings of competence, it also gave the subjects more intrinsic motivation.

This is crucial, because intrinsic motivation (i.e. your own desire to do something) is the only kind that reliably and sustainably makes us work towards a goal.

This is just one more reason to praise people who do good work.

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Do you want to be a Chief Happiness Officer?

Here’s one of the next big things we’re working on: We want to create a training program for other potential Chief Happiness Officers.

We’ve been doing this work for corporate and government clients for over 10 years. We’ve spoken in over 30 countries and worked with organizations like IKEA, LEGO, IBM, Pfizer, Accenture, Oracle and many, many others.

In short, we have collected a lot of experience and knowledge on making workplaces happier – and we’d like to share that as widely as possible.

Here’s the idea: We will create a 4 or 5-day training some time in the first half of 2015. Possibly in Copenhagen (where we are), possibly in London or New York.

Space will be limited to approx. 25 people. We’re still working on pricing and exact timing.

The academy is for:

  • Managers and HR people who want to become internal CHOs inside their organization.
  • Consultants/speakers who want to build a business creating happier workplaces.

Happy at work in CuracaoThe content of the training will include:

  • The theory and science of happiness at work. Everything we do is based on research from psychology, neurology, sociology, management science, etc. We will give you an overview of the most relevant findings from these fields and how they apply in the workplace.
  • The practice of happiness at work. We will share all of our favorite tools and interventions, so that you can then use them yourselves.
  • Presenting happiness. We will work on your presentation skills, specifically aimed at giving you tips and tricks on how to present on happiness at work.
  • Measuring happiness at work. How do you measure happiness at work, so that you can document progress from your work.
  • How to sell this to others. How do you sell the idea of happiness at work – either inside your own organization or to potential clients.
  • Pitfalls and traps. What can go wrong? What must you avoid? How and why do happiness interventions fail?

As part of the training we will share many of our materials – including master slide decks, interventions, tools, articles and more so that you will get a ton of tools to use right away.

After the training, we will create a network so we can continue to learn from each other and develop new and better ways of creating happy workplaces.

We can safely say that being a CHO is challenging but also one of the most fun and rewarding jobs in the world :) It’s not for everyone – it takes a lot of creativity and courage to go up against established thinking – but the world needs more of us. Which is why we’re doing this.

Are you interested? Do you want to be a Chief Happiness Officer? Please fill out this form and we will keep you updated as we develop this:

Yes, I want to be a Chief Happiness Officer

* indicates required

If you have any questions or suggestions, you can also leave those in the comments.

Get to know new employees

2014-08-12 11.40.13

In the last two months we have doubled the size of our company. We used to be three but we have added two interns and one full-time employee, who are working on some really cool projects for us.

Basically, Thomas, Nanna and Sofia in the picture above are our research department. We call them Woohoo Labs :)

Any time you add people to a team, it’s essential to get to know each other. The best tool we know for that is Personality Poker, so of course we played a game and ended up learning a lot about ourselves and each other.

2014-08-12 11.40.06Here are the personalities of everyone in the team:

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No matter which tool you use, it’s important to get to know the people you work with – both their professional skills and their personalities.

How do you do it? How does your team welcome new members?

Are you a happy boss? Take this test and find out.

Happy boss quizz

What kind of manager are you? Are you a happy boss or do you spread fear and misery all around you? We’ve created an online test that you can use to find out.

Being the boss used to be about making tough, ruthless decisions. This is changing. More and more wildly successful leaders today devote themselves to creating happiness – for employees, customers, shareholders and themselves.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, committed his company to “Delivering Happiness” to both clients and employees. Richard Branson  has said that “more than anything else, fun is the secret behind Virgin’s success.”

Take our test and learn if you are a happy boss.

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