Global workplace expert Jenn Lim joined us for a discussion on how to foster a happy and healthy workplace environment. Jenn is the CEO and cofounder of Delivering Happiness, which was created to assist companies in developing cultures for more sustainable and profitable business approaches. From quiet quitting to quiet firing and all the things in between, we touch upon the important stuff to remember in order to feel mentally safe in the workplace. Offering decades worth of experience in company culture and strategy, here are some of Jenn’s tips for both employers and employees to consider!
5 Tips for a Healthy Workplace with Jenn Lim
1. People are assets
By reframing the company mindset to realize that employees are assets, we can invest in them which they will then reinvest back into the company in their own ways. The pandemic’s crippling economy brought on an onslaught of layoffs and hiring freezes, but Jenn points out that the “worst place to tighten the belt” is with the people that keep the ground running. Consider using the website Glassdoor as a tool for measuring out good places to work, as it runs as a rating system of employers in which the employees can share experiences anonymously or not. There’s also the Forbes lists of best companies to work for, which have all outperformed the S&P 500 over the last 15 years. These are helpful for when you ask yourself questions like “Why would they be investing in people?” or “Why do they want to make sure people are fundamentally, meaningfully happy?” And besides the stats, you have each of everyone’s insightful stories.
2. What is quiet quitting and firing?
The idea of quiet quitting came from its blowup on TikTok when people shared how they only want to put in effort for the work they get paid for and nothing more. In reality, people are not leaving their jobs, but taking time for themselves and making space available to prioritize their mental health. People have been entrapped in hustle culture for so long, leaving companies at an adapt or die moment now. Employers have to learn how to adjust to their employees’ needs, understanding what helpful steps will keep them more productive, engaged, and in an overall better space for the company and team. This has also resurfaced the phenomenon of quiet firing, which is when employers use subversive, reverse psychology tactics that make people want to quit. Excluding them from conversations, meetings, and emails while dumping tons of work only worsens the employees’ stress and burn out. It’s important we’re consciously aware of this disconnect and doing what we need to as human beings to tend to the increasing levels of anxiety, not only in the workplace, but also in general areas of life.
3. Create psychologically safe work environments.
When companies create a place where the employee can feel psychologically safe, this opens healthy channels of communication between manager and employee where they can share where they’re currently at without feeling judged at the possibility of getting fired. Having that honest space will allow people to be comfortable in expressing themselves, whether it’s complimenting amazing things they have done to continue with or admitting where they messed up and how they can learn from that. That sense of safety is so crucial at a time like now where the majority of people are still processing what has gone on in the midst of the pandemic and are still not altogether there. Progressive leaders should promote this transparency, and embrace and encourage what their employees’ goals or passions are even if they fall outside of that specific workplace. Don’t make assumptions without asking questions and actively listening to the true issues at hand, paying attention to not only data, but the stories behind what people are feeling. Jenn says, “Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with us, let’s try to focus on what’s right with us and improve that.”
4. The 4 levers of improvement
No matter where you are on the scale of happiness, Jenn emphasizes these four levers to help you improve. The first is keeping your sense of autonomy, valuing your own flexibility especially after having a loss of control. The second is a sense of progress where companies must make sure their people are learning, developing, and growing, both in their careers and as a person. The third is the feeling of connectedness, which is where the depth and breadth of your relationships lie. Finally, the last is purpose, finding that thing that you do to make you feel bigger than yourself and the team you’re a part of. Take 2-3 things that are going well and celebrate it; then take 2-3 things that aren’t so great and use it as things to work on moving forward. This way, you’ll be more intentional about what to fix and remind people you can build towards it together as a team. Engaging in more meaningful ways, like what’s important to us as human beings, will help people connect in deeper ways
5. Keep your values aligned
If you find yourself consistently displeased with whatever comes your way at work, it’s important to acknowledge it might be a value misalignment. Company leaders should remember to not take this so personally, as it just might mean it’s not the right place or fit for the employee. Having codified values that are not just stating words, but define specific behaviors and actions to be upheld work as a social contract between management and employees. This shows that they’re taking time to work on these kinds of initiatives to look out for everyone’s well being. From this, it’s also important to not chase down the next job, but first focus on looking inward and finding what’s most valuable from within. As everything constantly shifts around us, we as individuals must be able to ground ourselves in order to be future proof and not just something that follows with the trends. Find out what values are most important for you and maintain your own boundaries as you figure out that the most significant work you can do is what lies within yourself, which you can then use to figure out answers to the external questions and adapt to things outside of our control. Make sure you feel fulfilled in the things you strive to do, living, embracing, and understanding both your highs and lows in this Great Reawakening that has been brought on by mass resignations. Assess and sift out what’s bothering you, your challenges, and what you don’t like. These reflections will allow you to see that success is not from the highs, but actually from coming out of the lows, letting you build resilience over time.