Matt Phelan’s new book The Happiness Index – is released today … and we’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak preview of what we think is a ‘must read’ for HR practitioners and business leaders. 

As the co-founder of a unique platform which helps organisations measure key employee engagement and happiness drivers (also called The Happiness Index!), Matt is a global authority on how people think, feel, and behave in the workplace.

In his book, he sets out to explore how businesses can ensure that the people who fuel the success of their business – their employees – are fully committed to their organizational goals.

To do this he takes a deep dive into the data gathered by The Happiness Index platform from over 100 countries and 2 million employees to help the reader understand what really drives engagement and happiness at work – and how this can be harnessed to accelerate an organization’s performance.

Matt defines employee engagement as what our brains need to thrive at work, and employee happiness as what our hearts need to do the same. Both, he argues, are equally important and consist of 24 neuroscience-based sub-drivers:

Happiness Index Image

By taking this scientific, data-driven approach, the book provides a robust examination of the factors that determine employee engagement and happiness at work, including in-depth interviews with specialists in each of the 24 sub-drivers and compelling case studies from organizations around the world. In doing so, it shows how firms can weave happiness and engagement into the fabric of their people strategy.

In The Happiness Index, Matt expertly paints a picture of a world of work where people can truly thrive and grow – and organizations can truly prosper from that growth. It’s a transformational picture we know HR practitioners and business leaders will find inspiring.

If you would like to discuss engagement strategies in more detail, please get in touch with us on our contact page.

And to get in touch with Matt, head over to his LinkedIn page:

While huge strides continue to be made in regard to the treatment of HIV, in the US there are an estimated 1.3 million people who are HIV positive. In the UK, that figure is around 100,000.

Despite the fact that the disease is no longer steeped in the stigma it once was, taboos still pervade around being diagnosed and living with HIV. And the fact is, it has now become something that someone can live with without having any complications, meaning they can live and work just like anyone else.

However, there is still a drought of information and awareness around the disease that can lead to many HIV-positive people feeling uncomfortable with disclosing their status at work and having access to necessary resources.

So, what can employers do to challenge the taboos surrounding HIV?

1. Educate and Raise Awareness

The first step is the most obvious: educate your workforce and raise awareness about the virus. Provide training sessions or workshops to help employees understand what HIV is, how it’s transmitted, and dispel common myths and misconceptions surrounding it. This will help reduce stigma around the topic and instead foster a sense of empathy which, at the same time, will strengthen your people’s power skills.  

2. Encourage Open Communication

Managers who can build trust with their team and present themselves as approachable will be able to find it easier to start a dialogue with staff. This will enable HIV-positive workers to feel more confident in disclosing their status, and they should then be reassured that this disclosure will remain confidential so that their privacy can be respected. This ensures that the employee is getting any necessary support and accommodations without any fear of judgement.

3. Flexible Working Arrangements

Recognize that employees with HIV may have medical appointments and treatments that require a level of flexibility in their work schedule. Offering remote working hours or adjusted working arrangements can help accommodate these needs without having to compromise their job performance.

4. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

EAPs should have tailored resources to support individuals with HIV. This can include access to specialized mental health services, or the appropriate charities and organizations who can better externally support these needs.

5. Regularly Review and Update Policies

Employers should be periodically reviewing their workplace policies in relation to long-term illnesses such as HIV to ensure they remain current and remain aligned with best practices and legal requirements. They can even communicate with HIV positive staff member(s) to help refresh these policies and ensure they are properly reflecting their needs.

Recognizing and understanding how best to support those who are HIV-positive in the workplace is a great way of reinforcing your values of inclusivity and support. This will help to create a culture at work that empowers employees from all walks of life, and ensures that they are their most productive, as well as being their most fulfilled and appreciated.

If you would like to discuss how we can help train your team around these issues, and help craft and implement inclusivity policies, please get in touch with us.

Many of us that work remotely or in a hybrid setting are accustomed to working in the same environment as our pets. In fact, more than 23 million American households adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

With in-office work having returned, some are now anxious about leaving their pets at home. This has seen many companies develop pet-friendly policies for their office spaces, including big names such as Amazon, Google, Airbnb, and Salesforce.

So, if your organization is currently a pet-free zone, should you consider welcoming our furry- (and possibly even our feathered- and scaly-) friends into the workplace?

On the plus side, a study by LiveCareer found that 94% of people were supportive of having pets in the workplace – and 52% of respondents cited pet-friendly benefits and policies as important when considering an employer.

In addition, studies have found that when people are engaged in petting either dogs or cats their stress levels are reduced. It has also been discovered that when people interacted with dogs, their ability to think, plan, and concentrate was enhanced. And what was even more interesting to note was that this effect lasted up to six-weeks after contact!

Pets also offer a sense of emotional support for employees; in research conducted by the University of York and the University of Lincoln, it was discovered that pets help reduce stress because they tend to be tuned into humans and so can successfully supply emotional support. There is also the added element of increased connectivity amongst staff, as having pets at the office means people are more likely to get to know each other with their pets acting as an icebreaker.

However, employers must take into account certain factors before introducing pet-friendly polices into their workplaces. For example, there may be one or multiple members of the team who have allergies to certain animals, and some may find certain animals frightening.

So, whilst it is clear that for the most part a pet-friendly workplace improves productivity and mental wellbeing, any shared spaces must still meet the needs of every employee.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you design pet-friendly policies in your workplace, please get in touch with us on our contact page!

Move over Gen Z – Generation Alpha will soon be knocking on the workplace door!

Set to be the largest generation to date (it is predicted that there will be over 2 billion of them globally!), Gen Alpha are the children who will be born to predominantly Millennial parents between the years of 2010-2024.

This is also a time when we have seen continuous technological strides, the increasing adoption of AI, and the dawn of the metaverse, so it wouldn’t be surprising to assume that their expectations of the working world will be vastly different to the ones previous generations have grown up with.

Now, at the turn of the century, the author Douglas Adams offered a set of rules about these kinds of change which I would like to apply to this new generation of talent:

  1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
  2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
  3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

So, what might this tell us about the expectations of Alphas as they enter the workplace – and what we should be building into our evolving People strategies?

  • They will learn digitally – this next generation of kids include the ‘Covid-kids’, and because the majority of them had to go through school during the pandemic, they have had early access to learning online. With some schools still continuing this hybrid learning, and nearly a third of university courses adopting it, this will see a digitally native generation like never before. While we’ve seen some growing pains as hybrid and remote working styles continue to gain popularity, these new workers will likely thrive working remotely, as they are already well accustomed to it. Therefore, they will most likely be attracted to jobs that offer this flexibility, as it will be entirely familiar to them.
  • They will specialise earlier – due to their access to technology, Gen Alpha will find themselves being able to specialise earlier and heading into more niche jobs – some of which don’t even exist yet. It’s likely companies will be seeing a rise in jobs like drone pilots, user experience managers, life simplifiers, and virtual reality engineers as this new generation herald in a new technological age. From this perspective, innovation will be at the heart of these young people, and so employers who can create opportunities to job craft are going to be very attractive to this new wave of workers. It is also thought that they will have a significant lack of engagement with deskless jobs, and these hands-on careers will likely be less attractive to a generation who have grown up with automation and assistance at their fingertips.
  • Digital networking – Growing up with social media means that Gen Alpha are the most interconnected generation to ever have existed. 65% of them aged 8-11 either own or have access to a mobile phone, as well have having designated messaging apps to communicate with each other, such as Roblox chat and Messenger Kids. Another survey found that 43% of them preferred to speak to their friends online over the weekend instead of see them in person, so it isn’t shocking to hear that this digital communication reliance will translate into the working world. They will want to network digitally and globally; the idea of working across time zones will be a desirable and normal one, as they are already very adapted to communication across the world. If companies can create the space for this globalised platform to take shape, the results could see different sectors of work combining to create new, innovative products not yet even thought of.
  • Virtual assistants – research has found that Generation Alpha started speaking with their smart devices at the age of six. It will come as no surprise then to discover that they will most likely expect to have a virtual assistant of some sort when they start working. Growing up with Alexa, Siri, and Cortana to answer their questions and conduct their ‘admin’ tasks will create an expectation to have access to this assistance in the workplace. The Work 2035 Report reflects this notion, as it found that by 2035, 83% of professionals believed that technology will automate repetitive low-value tasks, freeing up time for Alphas to focus on more meaningful and skilled work.
  • Recognition will retain – it is more than likely that validation and affirmation will be a driving force for Gen Alphas. After growing up with social media and having digital validation drilled into them, a company’s recognition and rewards strategies are going to play a huge part in retaining key Alpha talent.
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) and Sustainability – these are going to be the driving forces for attracting future talent. As we’ve already seen with Gen Z, those growing up now are going to be well versed in being socially conscious, moral, and understanding the long-term effects of climate change. This will mean that an organization’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda will be more important than ever, as Alphas will be looking at what organizations are doing to better the planet. And from a DEI standpoint, as companies continue to see increasingly diversified C-suites and people in positions of power, the idea of having a diverse workforce will almost be a given to these young people. If employers are ensuring that these factors are being optimized, they will gain access to the top talent that the Alpha generation has to offer.

The evolution of the workplace has accelerated exponentially over the past few years. The structure of work has become much more elastic in nature, and it continues to evolve in all sorts of unexpected directions as time goes on.

The next generation of workers are set to make a huge impact in the working world, so if we start to prepare for them now, their assimilation and onboarding will be a smooth and productive process.

If you would like to discuss how to start planning and preparing your workplace for the generation to come, please get in touch with me:

The effectiveness of an employer’s hiring process is often overlooked. And yet, this is the first real interaction a potential employee has with your company – in many ways, it echoes the setting for a first date.

Both parties are trying to present the best versions of themselves, in the hopes that there is enough of a connection for the relationship to progress further.  

Therefore, like dating, hiring someone is a two-way street – while the candidate will be doing everything they can to impress the employer, the employer needs to know the best way to present themselves to the candidate, honestly, in order to make them want to join the team.

And yet, candidates have recently been expressing their frustrations with elongated hiring processes, and shared how this has been a deterrent for pursuing opportunities. But these extended processes have emerged because employers want to be 100% certain that a person is the person for the job.

So how can employers create a hiring process that considers the interests of both parties?

The stages of a hiring process can differ depending on the role – a senior role will often involve multiple stakeholders and will naturally have a longer hiring process. But for entry-level and midmarket roles, employers should be looking at no more than three interviews.

Put it this way – after three dates, you can usually tell whether or not this could blossom into something more, but if you’re creeping towards date six and either of you are still unsure, oftentimes this is not a good sign.

The same can be said for interviews; having one after the other, with no clear end in sight for the candidate, will likely see their desire to work with you dwindle with every hoop they jump through. An unending process can lead to companies losing out on top talent due to another employer having a more efficient and effective process.

It is important for employers to remember that they are most likely not the only company the candidate is talking to. Just as people date different people in search of a connection, looking for a new job is no different. That’s why it’s always good to keep in mind that as much as a candidate would like to be hired, an interviewer needs to be clearly demonstrating why their organization is the best one to consider.

Lastly, being candid and clear about what your hiring process is going to look like with the candidate from the offset is going to calibrate their expectations right from the start. This means having a fully-formulated process that is understood by your hiring managers so that it can be shared with potential new hires and keep them in the loop for what this process will look like for them. Doing this will already lend to your attractiveness as a company, as it demonstrates that you are organized, and that you value the time of the candidate and hold their interests at heart while also fulfilling your own.

Perfecting this process is a crucial tool when seeking out the best new talent; recent research found that two thirds (65%) of employers globally had lost their preferred candidate to a protracted hiring process. Understanding how to optimize the candidate experience means that a company can reduce its convolution whilst still feeling assured that they have gained meaningful insight to make an informed decision.

Some top tips for hiring managers to remember:

  • Values matter!
  • Ghosting is for Halloween.
  • Respect is a two-way street.
  • Make them feel special.

At OrgShakers, we understand and can help you find that balance between employer and employee needs. By training hiring managers to optimize the current process, we can help you solidify this so that it can be communicated to each new candidate to avoid any misleading feelings.

If you would like to discuss how we can help your company, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at                        

When I first started my job, I wasn’t exactly fluent in workplace jargon. I had just graduated from university and hadn’t ever been in a corporate environment, and straight off the bat there were acronyms being thrown around that I would surreptitiously google so not to seem out of the loop.

For example, a term that we use a lot is ‘BD’ – which I now know stands for business development. However, when I first joined, I’d never heard the phrase, and told myself I would ask what it stood for. I subsequently forgot, and then when the next meeting rolled around a fortnight later it was already too late.

Now, it obviously wasn’t too late – but in my dramatic, Gen Z, new worker brain, the idea of admitting I didn’t know something that I had been pretending to know the whole time was mortifying.

Interestingly, a recent study has found that workplace jargon makes 48% of Gen Z and Millennial workers feel less included in the workplace, and 46% of them cited how this barrier to understanding had led them to make a mistake at work.

This can lead to communication barriers, productivity stunting, and a general lack of cohesion in the workplace. But is the solution as simple as teaching new, younger employees this jargon so that they can begin to speak the language?

The short answer is no – and this is because younger people now have an entire language of their own.

We have dubbed this non-verbal online language as ‘Cybernese’. It is essentially online etiquette, but to those who find themselves in Gen X or above, there are a lot of meanings hidden in things that may seem completely harmless. For example, emojis may seem straight forward, but they are a minefield of double-entendres that could be HR horror stories waiting to happen if someone isn’t well-versed in this digital tongue. The language even spans to things such as Zoom backgrounds or punctuating sentences (if you text a Gen Z worker with full stops at the end of your messages, it’s more than likely they will assume you are being passive aggressive, even though this is just grammar!).

What we’re seeing is two older generations using old-fashioned lingo that younger workers don’t understand, and two younger generations who have got their own online language that more midlife workers have not come to grips with yet. So, what can employers do to create an inclusive environment for all?

The best approach would be to know a bit of both. Workplace jargon is not a necessity, but much like a habit, it would be hard to suddenly quit using it cold turkey. And besides, it has euphemistic tendencies which make communicating tasks easier, so it can be a positive thing. But if you’re going to use it, be considerate to your audience. If you’re talking to an employee who you know is familiar with these terms, then go right ahead. If you’re talking to a new or younger employee, then it might be best to avoid them to mitigate the risk of things getting lost in translation.

When it comes to Cybernese however, it may be worth employers making the extra effort to ensure that all their staff members are up to speed with this emerging language. This is because as remote and hybrid work settles into normalcy, a lot of communication and interaction between colleagues will be happening virtually. Here, it will be important to become well-versed in Cybernese so that communication is clear and appropriate (you can check out our video for how to avoid emoji-geddon for some examples of this).

If employers are able to recognise and understand the best ways of communicating with members of staff, they will be able to give them the clarity that is so important to ensuring productivity and high-quality output. To discuss how we can help you ensure your culture has inclusion at its core, please get in touch with us.

Reducing turnover and improving employee retention is always a top priority for employers.

And yet, with the effects of the Great Resignation still lingering, as well as increasing concerns over the skill’s gap, coming up with innovative and effective retention strategies has never been more important.

Something we have also come to notice is the rise in non-linear career paths. One study has found that Gen Z are 53% more likely to pursue an unconventional career path as they are proving to be a lot less anxious about abandoning the traditional career ladder.

This normalization of non-linear careers has risen in popularity, and has been coined a ‘squiggly career’ by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis in their book of the same name. A squiggly career is one that embraces the idea of a career that is full of change, challenge, options, and opportunities, allowing people the space to develop in different directions without the anxiety of doing so. It rejects the notion that the career ladder is the only shape a career path should take.

Now, from an employer perspective, the idea of encouraging a squiggly career is a bit counter intuitive. But the ideology that rests at its core is an interesting and timely one, and could hold the key to helping leaders be more creative with their approach to retention strategies.

It is clear that some workers, particularly younger workers, are attracted to this idea of non-linear career paths. It gives them more space to try different things and to align their passions with their work. At the moment, the only way to take a ‘squiggle’ like this in your career journey is by changing employer altogether, but what if employers were actively creating this ‘squiggle room’ in the roles they offered?

One of the best ways of doing this is by creating the space for employees to job craft. This means being open to being flexible, creative, and innovative with an employee’s role, and allowing them to craft their own personality and passions into what they do in order to increase engagement and produce top-quality output. This ‘squiggle room’ allows the space for employees to explore different skills and approaches all while remaining in their role, which means they won’t feel the need to actually move on to a different career entirely as their needs for flexibility are already being fulfilled.

Squiggle room also works great even for those who prefer the linear career path. There are always things in life that get in the way of our journey up the corporate ladder, whether that be trying to achieve a work-life balance, or taking care of kids, or falling ill. The list goes on. But with this ethos of flexibility built into a company, all these hurdles are going to feel much more manageable because their employer has actively created the space for these inevitable squiggles to occur.

And the proof is in the pudding – 54% of workers said they would leave a job if they didn’t think they belonged at a company. But with ‘squiggle room’, there is space for everyone to be accepted and included for who they are, not just the skills they have to offer.

To discuss how we can help you create a squiggly culture in your workplace to improve retention rates, please get in touch with us.

If you’re anything like the famous Mathematician Archimedes, you might find that you do some of your best brainstorming in the bathtub. And you wouldn’t be alone in this!

Last month, we conducted a poll on our LinkedIn page which sought to discover where employees were doing their most productive thinking.

It might be surprising to hear that 89% of respondents said that they had their most productive thoughts outside of their work office, with the responses ranging from their home offices, their morning showers, and even when they were walking the dogs!

There are many explanations for this; for example, there are studies that highlight a direct link between nature and wellbeing. Being in nature not only reduces feelings of anger, fear, and stress, but also contributes to your physical wellbeing too. Therefore, it might not actually be such a stretch to hear that people have some of their most productive and innovative thoughts when outside.

However, when I saw these results it got me thinking – is pressure, or even the implication of pressure, the root of the productive thinking problem?

An overwhelming amount of respondents are doing their most productive thinking outside of the work office – even though the work office is where employers hope that their staff are being most productive! And Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce Report reinforces this alarming notion, as only 23% of the global workforce are actively engaged at work.

What we’re seeing is that productive thinking is happening in places where there are not connotations of pressure and stress and where no interpersonal risks have to be taken. For instance, when brainstorming in person with fellow colleagues and managers, a person will be less likely to contribute an idea (even if it is a productive one) because of the fear of it not being thought out enough. Whereas in settings outside of the formal workplace, there is less pressure to contribute immediately, and this allows for time to assess different factors before pitching the idea.

So, how can employers reduce these feelings of pressure and access their team’s most productive thinking?

The first and most obvious suggestion is having flexible working policies. Most companies now offer some form of hybrid working, but it might be worth taking this one step further. If our most productive thinking is happening outside of the office, then why not take your team outside? Try working in some more ‘untraditional’ spaces, or creating a more untraditional space out of your office, to see what this might inspire.

The second suggestion is normalising dissent at work. If one barrier to productive thinking is the fear of seeming silly, then tackle this fear at its root. Strive to create a psychologically safe space in the office that encourages people to actively challenge ideas, and one that doesn’t punish anyone for contributing. This allows for more productive innovation to take place, and leads to some of the best creative thinking!

Lastly, it is important to recognise that a little bit of stress and pressure can actually be a good thing. Not only have studies proven that a little stress is interpreted by your body as a ‘survival strategy’ and therefore improves cellular health and longevity, but it can also be reframed as a drive to make someone want to be the best version of themselves. Managers should be coaching this reframed mindset so that their team can leverage feelings of stress. Some stress at a job is going to be inevitable, but it can be wielded to their advantage!

If you would like to discuss how we can help introduce policies around flexible working and shake things up to get people thinking more productively, please get in touch with us!

As the workplace landscape continues to evolve in the digital era, a focus on learning and development is now more important than ever. Technological advancements are seeing the culture of work begin to change and grow at an exponential rate, and so now more than ever employers should be focusing on their younger talent.

This notion is reinforced by a recent report which found that Gen Z are very keen to develop digital skills for their future careers, with 36% planning to acquire new digital skills and 40% viewing tech skills as essential to their future careers.

As conversations around the effects of AI in the working world continue to be had, recognizing the potential of Gen Z employees and investing in their upskilling could be the key to staying ahead in an ever-changing world. So, why are younger workers worth investing in?

  1. Technological Aptitude – Gen Z are often referred to as "digital natives" as they have grown up immersed in technology. Because of this, they possess a natural aptitude of digital tools, social media, and emerging tech. By harnessing this technological aptitude and placing a focus on upskilling it, employers can leverage their skills to create potential for innovation and digital transformation, which will help drive the growth of their organization
  2. Adaptability and Agility – as mentioned above, Gen Z has grown up in a fast-paced, ever-changing world. They are therefore more accustomed to adapting quickly to new environments and technologies. By investing in their upskilling, employers can harness this adaptability and agility. This invites the contribution of fresh perspectives, creative problem-solving, and a willingness to embrace change, enabling organizations to stay ahead of the competition.
  3. Bridge the Skills Gap – the rapid advancement of technology has resulted in a significant skills gap in the workforce. A global survey by Equinix discovered that 62% of IT decision-makers viewed a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to the sustainability of their business. Upskilling Gen Z is the way to bridge this gap and ensure a steady supply of talent with the necessary skills for the future. Training programs that focus on emerging technologies, data analysis, communication, and critical thinking can equip Gen Z with the skills required to tackle complex challenges and drive innovation.
  4. Collaboration and Diversity – members of Gen Z are more racially, ethnically and sexually diverse than any other previous generation. Due to this, they embrace collaboration and cohesion, and have a tactful understanding of morality and cultural sensitivity. This means that their perspectives are fresh, inclusive, and socially relevant, and bringing this into the workplace can do wonders for innovation and for accessing new consumer markets.

Investing in the learning, development, and upskilling of Gen Z employees can make all the difference for employers trying to get ahead in a corporate world that is constantly in a state of flux. And by placing importance on the growth of their younger employees, they will also demonstrate how valued they are from the offset of their careers, fostering a sense of loyalty which will result in higher retention rates.  

To discuss how you can unlock the full potential of this new generation in more detail, please get in touch with us here.

Dissent in the workplace is a delicate thing. Challenging the status quo can be seen as a rebellious and necessary act, but normalising dissent is a lot easier said than done. People get defensive, or begin questioning their own judgement. There is a sense of discomfort in dissenting which has to be navigated sensitively.

That being said, those employers that are creating a space for constructive criticism to take place are the ones unlocking all of their innovative potential.

So, what does this space look like, and how can employers create it?

The first step is by ensuring that the space in which the team are discussing and debating is a psychologically safe one.

Firstly, leaders should clarify openly that they are welcome to opposing opinions. A manager or executive who is leading the discussion will carry natural weight in their words, so they should use this to their advantage; ask for contributions, ask for debate, ask for challenges to the status quo. Establishing the space as one where employees can contribute freely will immediately boost engagement in the topic being discussed.

It is then great to follow this with establishing that ‘there are no wrong answers’. Asking employees to take an interpersonal risk is a vulnerable thing to do; nobody wants to be deemed ‘incorrect’ or ‘silly’. The encouragement of dissent is all about the encouragement of innovation – in the right space, ideas that may have seemed far-fetched can ignite a domino-effect of thought from another employee and so on. Leaders need to actively make the space to be a bit wacky, as they may strike gold in unlikely places!

Once the debate is in full swing, the chairman (in this case, the manager in charge) will naturally notice who is more willing to be honest and open. They should actively engage with these people and ask them directly for their opinions – if others around them see that they can truly dissent without repercussions (within socially acceptable boundaries, of course) then this will likely entice and embolden the rest of the team to get more involved.

This is also a fantastic diversity and inclusion strategy, as it pushes for divergent thinking. For those employees who are more neurodivergent, they will feel much more comfortable and valued sharing their perceptions and ideas in a psychologically safe environment.

Dissent can unlock a wealth of opportunities for employers, it just has to be managed correctly. And it’s no secret that many contemporary companies have been wildly successful by challenging the status quo.

If you want to discuss coaching and training options for encouraging dissent in a productive way in your workplace, please get in touch with us here.

‘Hustle culture’ is a buzzword that’s become quite popular over the last year. With some dubbing it as ‘burnout culture’, it is the idea that you have to work extra hard and put in extra work to get recognised for promotions and opportunities at work – in short, you are always hustling.

Since the pandemic, employers have started to become more in-tune to helping their staff achieve a better work-life balance. However, the remaining prevalence of hustle culture suggests that there is still a way to go for employers to normalise happiness above hustling.

For instance, there has been a rise in hustle culture amongst the youngest generation of workers, partly to demonstrate how they reject this preconceived notion that Gen Z are prone to ‘quiet quitting’ (although, our previous article explains why this term is actually a misnomer). But by this logic, it seems that in order to successfully hustle, one must forgo personal time, boundaries, and essentially their happiness overall.

And yet, our own poll found a stark contrast to this conclusion, with 77% of respondents measuring their success by how happy they were, in comparison to just 11% stating they measured it based on how much they earned. So, while there seems to be a shift happening in favour of doing something that makes you happy, there is still this belief that working unpaid overtime and devoting yourself to your job is what you should be doing if you want to be successful.

This idea of being ‘always on’ and always hustling has been around for years – with the rise of Thatcherism and Yuppie culture in the 1980s came the normalisation of hard and constant work to contribute to your country and become a young, affluent person at the same time. But, rather ironically, those who partook and perpetuated this ideology are now, for the most part, measuring their success based on how happy they are. Recent data from Rest Less found that almost half of the self-employed workforce across the UK are over 50. This highlights how those who were once hustling like no tomorrow did, in fact, realise there was a tomorrow, and they wanted to be happy at work rather than hustling through it.

So, what we’re seeing here is a pattern of ‘hustling’ in the early stages of your career in order to be ‘happy’ later in life. And while this seems quite transactional, it raises the question: why shouldn’t employees get to be happy from the very beginning of their careers? Adhering to this old-fashioned idea of what work should be only perpetuates it more. Employers play a huge role in breaking this cycle of over-hustling, and this is rooted primarily in how they measure the commitment of an employee.

Hustle culture remains because employees are still led to believe that working more equates to being a better worker. When, the reality is, employers should be rewarding their teams based on the quality of their output, not the quantity of their input.

At the end of the day, people measure success on an individualised scale. Some people may thoroughly enjoy working overtime and throwing themselves into their work, and that is completely fine. Just as it is also fine to set and expect boundaries from your employer so that you can have a life outside of your job. And there is even a middle ground here, what some are calling a flexible hustle culture, where you can hustle here and have more time off there. But as an employer, it is key to remember that no matter how your employees define their success, the playing field for opportunities and promotions must have a set criterion. That way, employees are free to hustle where they see fit, but do not feel pressured to do so in order to get ahead.

If you would like to discuss how you can design and implement strategies for work-life balance and measuring quality of output, please get in touch with us here.

If you’re wondering what ratatouille has to do with employee engagement, here’s an alarming statistic … in their State of the Global Workplace 2022 report, Gallup discovered that only 21% of employees were engaged at work.

Flipped on its head, this means that almost 8 out of 10 workers worldwide are actively disengaged.

So, time for employers to start being more innovative in their approaches to increase engagement levels.

Which is where we need the ratatouille.

Because unlocking engagement is rooted in an organization’s Meaning, Values, Goals, and Responsibilities.

Or, more memorably, by Making Very Gooey Ratatouille!

Meaning – As Simon Sinek famously said, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why do you it”. While he was talking about consumers, this ideology is very applicable to employees, too. As a leader, knowing how to demonstrate the purpose of your work to your team highlights its importance. Motivating and inspiring passion in people about what they do is the best way of engaging them. This rings especially true when you look at the results of one poll which found that 90% of respondents said that work should bring a sense of meaning to their life. If leaders are actively supplying that meaning, and highlighting the value of what each individual employee does and why they are doing it, this will no doubt lead to a more engaged workforce.

Values – This is in reference to the way in which leaders train people to create and deliver output. Leading with purpose requires a methodology that reflects the values that the company holds, and so it is important to ensure that the way the products and services are created and delivered highlights their purpose and need.  

Goals – Employers need to be able to depict the bigger picture to their teams, and this means being clear and concise about how the company is going to achieve its goals. This requires leaders to be mapping out what needs to happen in order to get from point A to point B smoothly. By doing so, they will be instilling faith in their abilities and bring their ‘leading with meaning’ mindset to life as their staff will be able to see the end result.  

Responsibility – Lastly, members of a team need to know who is responsible for doing what. Each employee will play an integral role in the success of an organization, but in order to do so their responsibilities must be made clear. Leaders have to make a point of ensuring everyone knows what is expected of them, and then apply this ‘meaningful mindset’ to those responsibilities. This will result in each member of staff being fully engaged and prepared to do what is needed of them in order to fulfil their part in reaching the end goal.

By combining these four ingredients together, employers are sure to be making very gooey ratatouille that will see employee engagement skyrocket, as well as the production of high-quality output, and an increased likelihood of retention!

To discuss how you can start implementing this strategy into your leadership team, please get in touch with me at

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