ATLANTA – Happiness drives our success, Jenn Lim, CEO, co-founder and chief happiness officer of Delivering Happiness, told attendees here at SECO’s MedPro 360 program.
Healio was the official media partner of MedPro 360.
“Happier employees equal happier customers equal successful companies and leading fuller lives,” she said. “The formula is the same no matter the size of the company.”
Lim eventually became a consultant to Zappos.com after initially struggling to choose a profession.
“It wasn’t about selling shoes; it was about making people happy,” Lim said.
In this position, she created Zappo’s culture book.
“If you can create an environment where your employees are happy first, then you can have a more stable and profitable business,” she said.
“What are your goals in life?” she asked the audience. “It always comes back to being happy. Successful business, be healthier, find a girlfriend/boyfriend. It’s in our Declaration of Independence.
“Our brains are hardwired to be happy,” she continued. “Yet we’re bad at predicting what can sustain it. We know that lottery winners, their happiness levels stay the same or go down. People who lose a limb, their happiness levels stay the same or increase.”
Lim explained that Zappo’s internal priority is their company culture.
“If you get the company culture right, everything else comes more naturally,” she said. “We paid people to quit. Every trainee has 5 weeks of training. During that 5 weeks they have a standing offer of a check to leave if they don’t feel like it’s a good fit.”
She said the amount of the check started at $100, but now it is $5,000.
“They keep increasing it because not enough people are taking it,” Lim said. “For every bad or wrong hire you have, it costs a company exponentially more than their salary.”
Zappo’s was named one of Fortune’s best places to work and outperformed the S&P 500 for years, she said. It grew and was acquired by Amazon.
Lim shared six major lessons of using happiness as a business model:
Commitment. “We know a culture doesn’t mean free Red Bull and a ping pong table in the break room,” she said. “It’s more dynamic and complex. Unless you commit to this as a long-term journey, it’s not worth the investment.”
Revisit your core values or create them if you do not have them. Make sure these values are unique to you and reflect why you created your company in the first place, she said.
Commit to transparency. “It’s no longer work-life balance, but work-life integration,” Lim said. “We tell people to bring their passions to work. Someone in IT loves camping. He talks about camping this weekend. Someone else overhears and asks to come along. They have an experience outside of work and then they bring it to work on Monday. They’re more engaged. They’re working harder because they’re friends.”
Purpose. “It’s not about the paycheck; it’s about our lives,” she said.
Build meaningful relationships. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute, Lim said.
Build the right team. “Hire slow, fire quick,” she said. “Hire and fire based on values. It only takes one person to change the dynamic of the company, especially in a small business.”
Lim shared a tip relevant to optometric practices.
“Who’s the first line to deal with patients?” she asked. “Receptionists and check-in technicians.”
An attendee at one of her seminars said when he was at his doctor’s office, the receptionist gave him her business card, which said she was director of first impressions.
“We know happiness pays off,” Lim said. “You improve your retention because burnout will improve, there’s less turnover, less sick leave, and you’ll have more engagement. People will be more productive.”
She concluded: “Imagine if we can walk into our workplace every day and be true to our authentic, weird selves, live our values, passions and purpose, and prioritize for lasting, sustainable happiness.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Lim J. Delivering happiness. Presented at: SECO/MedPro 360; May 3, 2017; Atlanta.
Disclosure: Lim is CEO, co-founder and chief happiness officer at Delivering Happiness.