February 10, 2016

Creating Workplace Vitality™ : The Happiness Link

Dr. Tracy Brower, PhD, MM, MCR Global VP of Workplace Vitality™ MARS DRINKS™

The 50 Happiest Companies in America have been announced, and Mars, Inc is on the list. What an honor!

So how is happiness assessed? In evaluating happiness, Career Bliss combines perspectives on pay, workplace, the company’s CEO, job satisfaction, opportunities for growth, and your relationship with your leader.

While we know that the ingredients for happiness are likely both tangible and intangible, it turns out these criteria for happiness are a lot like the elements that make up Workplace Vitality. Based on our extensive studies on Workplace Vitality and how to achieve it, we find that happiness matters – a lot. It’s part of Well-Being in which we have an overall sense of health, happiness, and work-life fulfillment. What also matters are engagement, collaboration, and productivity. When we pay attention to these, we are more likely to have a place that is vibrant, thriving, and alive with potential – a place that people want to work and where they are inspired to give their best effort.

Mars Drinks is a division of Mars, Inc, and because of our 100% dedication to the workplace and our commitment to our customers, we’re studying Workplace Vitality. Here’s how it relates to happiness, and how leaders and employees both have roles to play:

We are more likely to have a positive sense of Workplace Vitality and be happier when we have the opportunity to grow, stretch, and learn new things. Part of the human condition is to strive for more and seek growth. We found that this craving for stretch is part of a sense of Well-Being and also a driver of Engagement. How to provide this opportunity to stretch?

  • As a leader, encourage people to continue their education and provide new and challenging assignments. In addition, in an informal setting over coffee, get to know employee’s strengths and development areas. Give them learning opportunities in both areas – not just the areas where they need to improve, but also in the areas where they perform brilliantly already. Passion inspires even more learning and performance.
  • As an employee, seek new learning opportunities both inside and outside of the workplace, clearly communicate your goals and passions within your company, and seek out people – over a coffee or a cup of tea – who make you think and who motivate you to test new ideas.
  • At Mars Drinks, we have “Drinks Academy” where we provide classroom and experiential learning to associates, distributors, partners, and customers. At Mars, our talent management approach encourages people to take responsibility for their development through classroom opportunities, taking stretch assignments and learning from others.

Happiness and Workplace Vitality are more likely when we like the work we do, and when we feel like it matters. Ideas for fostering work that matters:

  • As a leader, communicate a compelling vision – over and over and over... One brilliant leader I know says, “If you’re not tired of hearing yourself talk about the vision, you’re not communicating enough.” In both formal settings – company-wide huddles or town halls – and informal settings – over a beverage at the coffee brewer – reinforce for people how their work matters to the company and to the organization’s customers.
  • As an employee, ask questions and get to know the business. When you have a sense of literacy about what matters most to customers, it’s easier to see the connection between your day-to-day efforts and the difference they make. Focus on ways to improve your performance and regularly share your new ideas with others.
  • At Mars Drinks we have simple mission that connects our Associates – we create great tasting moments at work – it order to bring this to life for our people, we celebrate these “great moments” in different ways throughout our global business. One way we do this is through a daily “morning huddle,” where all Associates in the site gather for an update on how our factory is performing, how our customers feel about us, and general announcements. This keeps our people connected with our purpose.

When we feel connected to others at work, we’ll be happier, more motivated, and have a greater sense of Workplace Vitality. What leaders and associates can do to stay connected?

  • As a leader, encourage employees to work together on tasks and share accountabilities for assignments. Foster more cooperation in the team and create an environment where people can share new ideas and ask for help from teammates. Encourage teams to break bread together and build personal relationships.
  • As an employee, reach out and get to know those on your team, but also those across the organization. Seek opportunities to share coffee, get to know others, and understand where they’re coming from. A sense of belonging is a fundamental human need, and one that we can foster by building relationships with those around us.
  • At Mars Drinks, we bring people together every month to connect with each other and with business priorities. Associates have the opportunity to share their news, ask questions, and enjoy a free lunch together. In addition, Mars supports our associates’ endeavors through the Mars Volunteer Program (MVP) and Mars Ambassador Program (MAP) which provide opportunities to contribute to our communities.

Happiness is about a lot of things, but these are three of the most important – the opportunity to learn new things, a feeling that our work matters, and a feeling of connection – and all of these are critical components for Workplace Vitality as well. We know from our research, but we also know from our experience. We don’t have it all figured out, but we’re enthusiastic about our progress on the journey.

Tags: Workplace Vitality