Happiness at work at NRI

I just got one of my favorite kinds of emails – from a company who is doing something to create a happier workplace.

Dean Stainton who is the Director of Client Services and People Systems at NRI Distribution in Canada wrote:

I wanted to reach out to you and let you know about a couple of things.

I had the fun of meeting you at the Worldblu Live Conference in Denver and attending your session on workplace happiness. As a result of that experience I decided to try something when I got back to our work environment.

I am very fortunate that I have accountabilities on both the HR and the Client Services side, knowing that getting 12 customer service reps onside with workplace happiness would be far more difficult than 4 HR people I decided to give it a try and tackle Workplace Happiness with the 12.

I bought copies of the book for everyone (Happy Hour is 9 – 5) and everyone took some time to read it on their own. After reading the book we discussed it in our weekly meeting (which has been named Happy Hour!) and each Client Services Rep and myself were left with three questions to answer:

  1. What can you do to make NRI a happier place to be?
  2. What can we do as a team to make NRI a happier place to be?
  3. What is stopping you/us from doing the answers to the above?

Those are some great questions and Dean’s group came up with plenty of ideas and have implemented two already.

Dean's team
Dean’s team

One is a Praise Window at Dean’s office (erasable markers are available at the window and coworkers write down good things about each other for everyone to see). Dean writes:

No matter what people have written they are doing it with a smile on their face and typically a little giggle. Everyone who comes by stops to have a read and all either smile or laugh too….it is really contagious (but you already knew that). It has gotten to the point now where people in the warehouse are talking about doing the “praise window”. It has been particularly neat to see this coming from the Client Services side, as people have typically expected things like this from our HR team.

Someone else suggested “sharing the love,” writing:

I know that every now and then I get an email from a client who is super stoked about something. Most of the time I’m just happy that they’re happy and delete the email. Recently I forwarded one of these emails to Ops to SHOW them that the client was happy with the work they had done. This is praise coming directly from the client, and not just boring old me who says “yay! Thanks!” all the time. I think it was awesome for them to see, and made them feel good about their work! I know this isn’t something that happens often, but when it does…..share it!

Dean sums the whole thing up like this:

The ideas and enthusiasm have been amazing and once realizing that they didn’t need anyone’s “permission” to do cool, fun things it has been contagious.

And this is the team doing it, not the Manager asking them to do it!

We are very early in our journey but wanted to let you know the impact that your insight and passion have had on our team. I anticipate that the next time I send you an email it will have expanded past the Client Services Team. Thanks Alex!

What I really like about this is two things:

  1. That Dean gave his team a chance to talk about what they could do to create a happier workplace
  2. And of course that they then did it

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: Happiness at work is something we do.

I suggest you find a way to ask some of the same questions in your workplace and if you come up with something cool, please tell me about it :o)

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