If your boss handed you stock options in the company, would that make you happy?
The stock is based on your years of service, with the goal of providing you a stake in the company you helped build. The owner believes your contribution is important and wants you to enjoy the benefits of your labor.
The 2,000 employees of the Greek yogurt company Chobani had that happen in April. All full-time employees received a stake in the company, calculated by tenure. If the company is sold or goes public, those shares can be retained or sold. The staff was surprised (there was no advance announcement) and most were decidedly happy. That, according to scientists, is good for mental health…and business.
This kind of thing doesn’t happen often, so it got a lot of attention. But Chobani is a rather unusual company. Their approach to business? “A cup of yogurt won’t change the world, but how we make it might.”
· Chobani donates 10% of its profits to charity
· 1/3 of their workforce is made up of refugees
· They purchase from a local network 900 cooperatives and farms
· They work to ensure humane treatment of cows
· They use hormone-free dairy products
This commitment to people (and cows) is an important part of job satisfaction and overall mental health, because it reflects how a company and its employees connect: shared values and guiding principles. Employees are more engaged, and therefore happier, in an environment that reinforces their own values and beliefs.
Research proves that people who experience job security are healthier – mentally and physically – than those who worry about losing their jobs. Depression, anxiety and insomnia are some of the common mental-health issue employees struggle with when financial worries loom large. One way to mitigate that stress is “allowing greater employee participation in workplace decision-making,” according to the Institute for the Study of Labor, a non-profit economic research institute that analyzes global labor markets.
Employees who share their expertise and participate in developing workplace policies are happier and more productive. Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and chief executive of Chobani, is leveraging that concept to make sure his staff is happy. The privately-held company doesn’t disclose financial data, but it’s estimated that up to 10% of its future value of could end up in the hands of employees if it goes public or is sold. The money is good, but it’s the tangible commitment to his employees that research says is the game-changer.
There are any number of ways employers can improve the happiness-quotient within their corporate culture. But it can only happen when employee satisfaction is truly valued. Happy people are more productive, committed to their work and more likely to stay.
If stock options aren’t a possibility, here are some steps any company can take to ensure the happiness of their entire staff – from CEO to interns:
· An effective recognition and reward system that promotes employee engagement. Recognition is frequent and recognizes worthy actions of employees.
· Shared values and guiding principles: Engaged employees thrive in an environment that reinforces their values and beliefs.
· Demonstrated respect, trust and emotional intelligence on the part of the employee’s direct supervisor.
Check out a fun infographic here.