I’d like to briefly write about my motivation for going to work. Before my previous position in one of the biggest banks in the Nordic I thought myself as a pretty traditional finance student who only works for career goals, bigger challenges and of course, money. My job there wasn’t too challenging. In fact, sometimes I believed that even a trained monkey could do it. Nevertheless, I felt really satisfied after leaving the workplace every day and never ever had I any grudging feeling of knowing that I have to get up early to work the next day again.
The reason was the people there. Sure I still felt like I want challenges and something that I could leverage to develop myself even further, but because of the great culture at the work I truly enjoyed every day I spent with my colleagues.
Money can only get you so far in encouraging people to better performance. In my opinion in today’s competitive business environment if you really want the best of your employees it’s not enough to offer high salaries or other benefits if the people there do not enjoy each other’s company and actually have fun while working.
Putting some effort in generating a good workplace environment is a win-win for both the employees and employers. By creating a superior corporate culture you engage employees in mutual goal setting and they are more committed to achieving these goals. You get more out of your employees for a small effort. That’s what I noticed as well last year. I wanted that our team as a whole succeeded in all the internal competitions and other goals. We were the top-performing team in our department even though we weren’t exceptionally good in any particular way. We just enjoyed working there and I suppose that reflected in our performance.
This is an effect that has been noted in previous literature as well. Harvard Business Review raises a research that showed that performance increases on nearly all levels – productivity, creativity and engagement – when people work with a positive mindset.
The article also notes that it’s very complicated to measure happiness or define it objectively. One of the biggest pitfalls is that people believe that success precedes happiness. Examples of this kind of though process are “I’m happy after I reach my sales target” or “I am happy after I get promoted”. That is also why it seems hard to find the best way to keep everyone happy. Yet it’s hard to ignore the benefits and value of happy employees.
Company by itself is just a term used to refer to bunch of people working towards a common goal. If the people don’t succeed, the company won’t either. That’s why last year my perspective towards a working culture changed completely. I still want a challenging job where I can aim for the stars, but I want to do it in a great company. And with a company, I do not mean a firm but a bunch of great people.