Male Owner Of Coffee ShopIt was nearly dark when I arrived at the resort in Colorado Springs. I was there to speak with veterinarians, practice leaders, and team leads who were attending an annual leadership institute.

Since the resort was only 90 minutes from our mountain home, I could drive. No airplanes, no security lines – just driving.

When I parked to go check in, I noticed someone in the brightly lit offices in front of me. An employee – a woman – was in her office, probably wrapping up her day.

She was having a fine time – dancing boldly through her office. Dancing! She probably didn’t realize that the office lighting meant her moves were clear for anyone outside to observe. And, she acted like she didn’t care if others could see in.

She was grinning from ear to ear. I couldn’t hear any music but she was bouncing to the rhythm of whatever she heard! She’d pick up a file and dance across the office to the cabinet where she stored the file. Then she’d dance back.

I watched for a couple of minutes. It put a smile on my face. “There,” I thought, “is someone who really loves their job.”

Happy employees generate great returns for your business. Yet many work environments are dull and frustrating for employees. Many work environments are so competitive that they are cut-throat. Employee engagement suffers.

Trust suffers! A 2014 Interaction Associates study found that only 40 percent of employees trust their leaders.

How can you gauge the health or quality of your work culture? Observe how leaders and employees interact with each other for a few days.

If employees in your company gossip . . . bend the rules to benefit themselves . . . withhold information that could help others . . . or worse, most employees are not going to be happy.

If leaders in your company discount or demean others or others’ ideas . . . spend more time and energy finding fault then praising effort . . . don’t delegate authority and responsibility to talented, engaged employees . . . or worse, most employees are not going to be happy.

When employees are happy, productivity goes up. A 2014 study by the University of Warwick found that happy employees outproduce unhappy employees by 12 percent.

When employees are happy, customer service goes up. Clients who implement my proven culture framework see customer service rankings rise by 40 percent.

When employees are happy, my clients have seen results and profits improve by 35 percent.

Some organizations really get employee happiness. The see employee happiness as the first step in creating a vibrant, successful, sustainable company. They align practices to ensure great performance by happy employees.

One of those companies – Madwire in Loveland, CO – was recognized by GlassDoor as the best small & medium company to work for in 2016 – as rated by employees. Madwire’s employees rate the company at a 4.9 on a 5.0 scale. 100 percent of employees would recommend the company to their friends, and 100 percent approve of the co-CEOs.

Employee happiness is within reach. It demands that leaders be intentional about the health and quality of their team or company’s work environment.

By observing how leaders and employees interact, you’ll see gaps. You’ll see that your culture doesn’t treat players consistently with trust, dignity, and respect.

How can you refine your team or business’ culture? By crafting an organizational constitution and holding everyone – including yourself – accountable to living those agreements, every day.

Do you dance at work? Do your leaders and team members enjoy work so much that their smiles shine brighter than the sun? Or are employees happiest when they’re leaving work – to go serve their passions? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Photo © Monkey Business – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

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The music heard on my podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005-2016 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I played all instruments, recorded all tracks, and mastered the final product for your listening pleasure.

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: Good Comes First (2021) and The Culture Engine (2014).
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