How to Make 85,000 People Happy, According to John Lewis
Keeping 85,000 people happy at work is an imposing task. After experimenting with how to make people happy for 100 years, John Lewis has learnt that not everyone finds happiness in the same places. Sarah Gillard discovered how to navigate this challenge in her role as the Director, Insight and Assurance within the Personnel function at the employee-owned John Lewis Partnership.
In this two-minute video from the 2018 Happy Workplaces conference, Sarah offers three tips derived from the company’s decades of experimentation.
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We are leading a movement to create happy, empowered and productive workplaces.
How can we help you and your people to find joy in at least 80% of your work?
Sarah's first tip is to embrace the differences.
“People enjoy different things,” she says. “I think the message is: Get the hygiene right and then really focus on community and experience, because in our experience that is what makes people happy.”
Sarah’s second tip is to embrace the dissatisfaction, counter-intuitive as that might seem.
“Part of what makes us human is being dissatisfied. That’s what makes us strive to be better and really finding out what's at the source of that dissatisfaction is probably going to help you improve the experience for everybody, even people who think they're already as happy as they can possibly be.”
The third tip is to recognise the amount of enriching things that are cost free.
“Saying 'thank you' is free. Having your manager recognise that you've done something really well is free. Having people around you know that you're caring for ageing parents or that you're about to get married or that you’ve had a birthday or that your child is about to start a new school – these are the things that actually make people feel happy and feel part of a community.”
- 11 takeaways from the 2018 Happy Workplaces conference: read Henry’s blog about all the big ideas discussed at the 2018 Happy Workplaces conference
- Take The Happy Challenge – Henry’s challenges managers to make no decisions for three months
- 8 Principles From Some of the Best Workplaces on the Planet – Pim de Morree looks at eight trends from some of the world’s most engaged workplaces
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Buy recordings from the 2020 Happy Workplaces Conference
This year's conference took place on 30th July via Zoom. We were delighted to welcome James Shaw, a minister in the New Zealand government on putting wellbeing at the heart of policy and Ynzo van Zanten of Tony's Chocolonely on creating a culture of happiness to achieve an important mission (ending slavery in the chocolate industry).
If you missed the event, we are now offering recordings from the day for just £25 per person for individual access. Please ask us for details if you'd like to purchase access for your entire organisation.
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