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5 Pitfalls of Employee Happiness Initiatives posted Jan 14, 2018


If your company is considering taking employee happiness seriously, there are pitfalls to avoid in order to ensure a successful intervention strategy.

There are even some strategies that have been known to backfire.

Here are 5 pitfalls and how to overcome them.


#1 Pitfall

Avoid ‘happiness pressure’ and ensure employee buy-in.

Forcing people into happiness is the worst. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, pays his employees $2,500 to leave if they are unable to accept happiness as a value at work.

Give employees an opportunity to opt in to happiness culture yet consider it non-negotiable by offering incentives to those who are unable to adopt a value of positivity, high concern for healthy well-being and flourishing.


#2 Pitfall

Avoid stressed out leaders and ensure leaders are positive.

If a company decides to take on happiness for a cultural value it is paramount all leaders are able to embody this principle.

Leaders’ stress and well-being will make or break organizational happiness.  The 2010 International Journal of Management Reviews reported an organization’s happiness is the sum of individual happiness.


#3 Pitfall

Avoid using surface level techniques and instead use sustainable happiness strategies.

It is paramount the exercises related to happiness implementation are sustainable when adopting happiness as a cultural value.

There are plenty of “woo woo” techniques when it comes to happiness.  It’s best for the  organization to determine which activities they can fully support that will lead to maximum effectiveness with long term results.

Flawless implementation is essential. If there is an iota of doubt or a shed of woo woo as it relates to happiness in a 'serious' work environment, the entire objective could backfire.


#4 Pitfall

Implementation can be ineffective if done improperly.

Ensure a professional plan for implementation can be put into place.  

Effectively monitor how the cultural value of happiness directly affects absenteeism, turnover, sales, performance, and other organizational metrics.

Each organization has an opportunity to collect vital performance data as happiness is implemented. To ignore the collecting of this data would be a pitfall because it would be impossible to prove any objective impact.

It is best to show business impact by creating clear formulas for how to relate the increase of happiness with tangible organizational benefits.


#5 Pitfall

Avoid making happiness superfluous.

Collect metrics of business impact and create clear standardization for how happiness increase relates to bottom line contribution.


In summary, companies today have a special opportunity to implement positivity and happiness as a key organizational strategy.  By raising awareness of employee well-being, they can make a valuable contribution to their business’s bottom line.

With over 20 years of proven results in developing Sustainable Happiness, the Happiness For HumanKIND team would like to hear from you to learn more about your employee well-being strategy & share our happiness increase strategy that has proven and fast results.

2240 PointsGold

Dr. Aymee Coget

/ Sustainable Happiness Expert