There's A Big Difference Between 'H.R.' And 'High Performance' Happiness At Work
According to Cliff Oxford, the founder of the Oxford Center For Entrepreneurs, most of the talk about employee happiness is entirely off base.
In a New York Times blog post, he argues that there's an extremely important distinction between "H.R. Happy" and "High Performance Happy." Most companies are obsessed with "H.R. Happy," when true success comes from the latter.
"H.R. Happy" is defined by friendly bosses, the occasional conversation about hobbies outside of work, the occasional birthday party, and maybe even the ability to take the dog to the office.
High Performance Happy, Oxford writes, "is an attitude with a skill set that says we are on a mission that is bigger than any one of us. We find our happiness in being on a world-class team that is making a difference." It's about giving people plenty of responsibility, and realizing that nothing makes people happier than delivering on that trust.
Oxford makes a very important point. Obviously, a pleasant work environment and good relationships mean a lot. But no amount of perks will matter if you don't have great people doing something they believe in and care about.
That kind of culture takes a great deal of work, mostly in
Finding those people can be difficult, but it's worth the effort. Relying on perks to produce happiness and productivity is using a small lever, and gets a small effect. Ideas, responsibility, and growth are much bigger motivators.