December 5, 2014

Happiness is the new ROI.

Happiness is the new ROI.

Happiness is the new ROI.

Really? What an intriguing thought. But whose happiness are we talking about? Employees’? Management’s? The entire company’s?

I’ve heard a lot of sentences begin with the words “happiness is.” Most of the definitions are so simple and “inspirational” that I don’t give them a second thought. But this one made me stop and click through to the video presentation given by Centro CEO Shawn Riegsecker at the 4A’s Talent 2030 Conference.

Riegsecker says a company’s culture is “the greatest determinant of a company’s long-term success.” There is nothing like the culture of an advertising agency. The best part is the wonderful team of creative personalities, constantly pushing one another to create a better product for the client while honing their skills to be the best they can on a personal level.

At ab+c, the people drive the culture — a culture built on a foundation of respect and centered on the idea of family. We’re not big on titles. If anyone has an idea to share, people want to hear it. We love a good brainstorming session with different departments represented and all ideas thrown on the table.

So when we begin the hiring process, we pay a lot of attention to the way we advertise. Our ad placements speak at least as much about the agency as the actual job. We want applicants to get a real sense of ab+c as a place and as a group of people. Attracting top talent is about more than the actual job these days. Applicants are looking at the company too. They want to “connect” on some level and feel at ease. Interviews are no longer one-sided — both parties ask each other questions.

One component of our interview process is strictly peer-based. After an initial interview, we may ask the candidate to come back and meet with some members of the team he or she might be working with the most. It gives the applicant a real sense of ab+c and the culture, and allows other members of the ab+c team to be a part of the hiring process. The feedback received from a peer review is a vital part of the process.

There is something to be said for the simple meaning of happiness and applying that to business. People are happy when they can come to their workplace feeling respected and valued. Too often employers stray from the simple notion of treating people like people. Saying “great job” can go a long way. Such recognition costs the company nothing, yields positive lasting results and motivates people to do their best.

So what is happiness at ab+c? I asked this question of a few of my coworkers. Interesting answers:

“Working with people I enjoy being around and joking with.”

“The flexibility — life happens outside of work and ab+c understands that.”

“Not being micro-managed.”

“Dogs in the hallway.”

“Satisfaction of winning a new account.”

“Seeing measurable results from a successful campaign.”

“Overall personality of the place.”

Happy employees. Not a bad way to measure success.

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