Perpectives on Happiness : A Crowdsourced Post

I have been blogging for a while on happiness as I have a firm belief that a happy person can be highly productive and can help make companies more profitable, create better social order and make our societies a far better place to live in. I had asked my readers on what they understand on happiness and was surprised to get several responses. I am attempting to put the responses in a structured form to create an optimal reading experience for this blog post.

Happiness is a volatile state of mind and means different things to different individuals, but finally it aims towards peace and nothingness what Buddha says. However “Practices which leads to Self Exploration and gives Sense of Achievement” leads to happier workforce. Self directed teams (SDT), which was implemented in TATA group came out with findings that the teams were significantly happier and had a fulfilling work environment and outcome. This comes out again to prove that happiness is not induced, but it is a state of mind and will mean different to different individuals.

“Happiness is not a destination but a journey“

Some of the readers pointed out the issue of overwork. It is a general issue with a lot of working teams that they have to work long hours and even on weekends to meet the needs of the organization. However, it has been noted that for those who enjoy their work, working long hours is fun instead of an issue.

Getting skilled to do the job effectively and achieve results gives satisfaction. Companies therefore have been focusing on the right skillset and right job fit which is key to ensuring the right level of engagement level amongst employees.

One of our readers has rightly summed up the essence of a happy workplace. – In short: Happiness is too personal & broad a term. I try to build practices to promote higher levels of Engagement, Empowerment & Workplace Satisfaction. Hire the Right People, especially your Leaders. Focus on building a fantastic company culture, which is Fair, Transparent, Clean & Supportive. Eradicate toxicity- dirty politics, power plays & inflated egos have impaired & destroyed many a great company. Build practices that promote respect, fair compensation and benefit, security, appreciation, & growth. Recognize that most people like to work for a sense of purpose, worth, fulfillment, achievement & learning in a safe & comfortable place.

Another very refreshing view point brought out by a reader happens to resonate completely with many who relocate and migrate for better career.
We are in an age where people are migrating away from natives, or back to natives like never before. This has led to very diverse workplaces. Also, there has been a surge in the number of opportunities across the globe today, people’s mindsets have changed over years, and people have become more open to move on to a better opportunity, unlike a decade or two earlier when people had inertia doing so. So to retain the best, the age-old loyalty tactics are no more enough :). Meritocracy, and rewarding the right people in a commensurate manner has become equally important. About a year ago, I personally experienced an entire team crumble and leave in a span of 3 months. There were people who turned their backs to onsite opportunities for landing into a seemingly dream job here in India. But the reason why the team members started looking for options elsewhere, and the reason for their unhappiness was so clear – lack of meritocracy, and loyalty driven (rather than merit driven) reward structure :). Today the entire team has scattered happily in great workplaces, and are super happy with their decision to quit

Almost resonating similar sentiments a great input from another reader says :
There are various ways to ensure happiness at workplace – Flexibility, Avoiding red tape, treating your employees as humans and NOT resources, listening to your employees, giving them constructive feedback, planning surprises that would lift the mood. What’s important in all this is that these approaches should be sustainable and scalable.

Finally, a young person who seems to look at a good work life balance says :
Avoid staying late in office , going out occasionally on team outing , instant recognition if some good work done and last but not the least carry a smile.

Happiness is therefore not a destination but a journey. It is not measurable, but only experienced. Finally, it is completely upto us to remain happy or not. Let us create a better and happy work place and be more productive.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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1 Response

  1. Milind says:

    Cannot agree more -“Happiness is not a destination but a journey“ – nice line to keep in mind always …I always used to run for the destination and miss the pleasure in the journey now thinking about it and realizing its so simple …to be happy enjoy the journey…

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