What I Do Well + What is Useful + What I Love = Happiness at Work
When Laurence Vanhee joined Belgium's Ministry of Social Security, the department was struggling to recruit Belgian citizens to the civil service and simultaneously losing 40% of staff to retirement. Social Security is essential, especially in a country comprising two very distinct groups. So Laurence and her colleagues set out to change the laws in order to gain more flexibility, attract newbies and retain people.
In this two minute clip from the 2018 Happy Workplaces Conference, Laurence outlines how the Ministry circumvented traditional HR practices to focus on what staff did well, what was useful to the organisation and what they love to do.
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There are many restrictive laws and regulations in Belgium, conceived by people with no comparable experience to those affected by the laws. This is echoed in the HR policies of government ministries. Laurence named her solutions to these bureaucratic barriers “the three potatoes.”
Number one is to “find the answer to what I am doing well,” she says. Not via introspection – that’s not the most reliable road to self-evaluation – but by seeking feedback from colleagues, bosses and anyone else you’re working with.
The second potato is the question, “In my job, what is useful to the organisation?” People might excel at things that have no tangible impact on the organisation’s effective functioning, but what are they doing that people genuinely care about?
And the third potato is all about what you love to do. “If you want to make young people happy, you put them there, they do what they love to do and which is useful to the organisation, and they will calculate the happiness at work,” says Laurence. “This is so easy.”
- 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
- The Happy Manifesto by Henry Stewart – click here to get your free eBook, full of great ideas for creating a happy workplace
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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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