Please Join Us!
When: Friday, August 4 @ 1pm EST (5pm GMT / 10:30pm IST)
Topic: Creating a Happy Workplace
About This Week’s Chat
A long time ago, I would never have believed that a fish market could be a happy workplace. How could anybody be happy in such circumstances? How could you “give it your all,” have fun, and do amazing deals in such a cold, smelly place?
I’m not used to being cold and I don’t like the smell of fish, but little did I know what was about to unfold.
On my first day as HR and training manager at a new company (a few years ago), one of the directors sat me down. He explained to me that the company had embraced the FiSH!™ philosophy and that it wanted all its staff training programs to be built around it.
Happy Sellers, Happy Customers
Did I hear that correctly? Fish? Like the food you eat with chips?
“Yes,” he replied. “Haven’t you heard of it?” Without wasting another minute, he took me to the training room and started playing a video.
What I saw was unlike anything I had ever come across before. A bunch of guys working at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle made it such a happy place that office workers from nearby buildings would spend their lunchtimes watching the fishmongers at work.
A few years later, during a visit to the U.S., I insisted on going to Seattle. I wanted to see for myself that it wasn’t all an act for the camera, and that the fish market was really as happy as it looked on film.
On an icy-cold day I finally stood in front of the fish market. Everything I’d seen in the video was happening right in front of me: the fishmongers threw fish around and joked with customers.
They talked to each potential customer as if he or she was the only person in the world, and made them part of the fun. They paid attention to the children in the line, and made everyone around them laugh. It was true: a group of ordinary people had made a fish market look like it was one of the happiest workplaces on earth.
During this visit I realized that the way people treat others is an important factor in determining how happy a workplace is. Of course, the physical environment also plays a role, but poor relationships can spoil the most beautiful and luxurious workplace. And strong relationships between people who care for and respect each other can make an uncomfortable physical environment much more bearable.
Creating a Happy Workplace
The results of our last Twitter poll seem to confirm this observation. We wanted to know which element is most important to our readers and followers in creating a happy workplace. Autonomy came in last, at a mere seven percent, while almost half the respondents voted for “good relationships.” To see all the poll questions and results, click here.
One of our regular participants, Akilah Ellison, or @OrganicLeaderVB as we know her, suggested this week’s #MTtalk Twitter chat topic, “Creating a Happy Workplace.”
We’d love you to participate in the chat, and the following questions may spark some thoughts in preparation for it:
- How would you define a “happy” workplace?
- Is it realistic to expect to be happy at work?
- Who is accountable for happiness in the workplace?
- What are the barriers to having a happy workplace?
- What are the limitations and pitfalls of workplace programs designed to increase happiness?
- How might you engage with an employee who is openly opposed, cynical or negative towards initiatives to create a happier workplace?
- How can you contribute to making your workplace a happy space for your colleagues?
To help you prepare for the chat, we’ve compiled a list of resources for you to browse.
At Mind Tools, we like hearing from people all over the globe. We’d like to learn from you, too, and we invite you to participate in the #MTtalk chat this Friday, August 4, at 1pm EST (5pm GMT; 10:30pm IST). Remember, we feature great participant responses right here on our blog every week!
How to join
Follow us on Twitter to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the action this Friday! We’ll be tweeting out 10 questions during our hour-long chat. To follow the chat, type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “All Tweets” and you’ll be able to see the live chat feed. You can take part in the chat yourself simply by using the hashtag #MTtalk in your tweets.