Businesses in America and worldwide have become increasingly adept at increasing productivity, improving margins, and making money.
But what about our happiness at work? Alarming statistics have between 70-80% of employees actively disengaged at work. We're unhappy at our jobs, and if you hadn't noticed, we spend a ton of our lives at work. The importance of employment happiness seems readily apparent. Even so, many Americans have little to no expectation of liking their jobs or feeling satisfied at them. "It's just a job," you'll often hear them say. Whether they lack the luxury to be able to care about enjoying their work, or they've been preconditioned to consider their job a necessary evil, work happiness isn't even on many people's radar.
Chris Reimer's book, Happywork, is a refreshing, bold look at our work lives. It offers a blueprint for a better office culture by telling the story of a company with the worst office culture you can possibly imagine. Chris's point is that happiness at work is critical to not only work productivity and effectiveness, but your family and personal health, as well.
In an effort for everyone to better understand how to build the right kind of office culture, where employees are happy, healthy and productive, I asked Chris to share the 7 ways to create a horrible office culture, like the one profiled in his book. This is what he shared:
1) Hold back on positive feedback.
But let the negative feedback fly. You don't want your people getting too high on themselves. Positive feedback is the cotton candy of HR tactics; you don't have time for this. On the flip side, these drones working for you aren't going to learn their lesson unless they stop making mistakes. They need to fear making mistakes. That way, mistakes simply won't happen!
2) Take credit for the work of others.
Hey, you hired them. The glory is yours. Besides, your employees probably would have been embarrassed had you publicly recognized their great idea and nose-to-the-grindstone effort.
3) Get your employees hyper-competing with each other.
Yes, we're competing externally with a host of other talented, amazing companies. But competition begins from within, where employees duke it out in the employment octagon, leaving the most talented standing. We need to separate the wheat from the chaff; once that's done, we can start cooperating and going after our competitors.
4) Ignore the great ideas of your employees.
In fact, don't even listen, unless it's an idea worth stealing (see no. 2). You're the one with the fancy degrees; these people work in lower positions for a reason, right? With a limited amount of precious time each day, mete out your listening carefully.
5) Keep dead weight around, but fire good people for no reason.
And when it's time to cut off some heads, do it with extreme prejudice and impunity. It's best to keep your employees off-balance, sort of like a gunslinger making a poor sap dance by shooting at the ground near his feet. Keep 'em limber and focused!
6) Haze outgoing employees.
People quitting your organization are quitters. They need to feel pain for their betrayal, even if you're providing them a dangerous narrative to share via word of mouth, social media, blog posts, future speeches, and so on.
7) Keep tabs on employees by stalking their social media accounts.
And if you get a sniff of something you don't like, ask for their personal passwords so you can log in and get the real scoop. Oh, you need not worry. It's probably not yet illegal in your state. And they're your employees; you deserve to know what they're doing online.
With this House of Horrors master plan in place, you're ready to maximize shareholder value and live the American dream. The lowly alternative, of course, is to construct (and demand) a happy workplace with healthy human beings at its center. Choose wisely, and good luck. No matter what your role at your company, you can be part of the problem- or part of the solution.