Case study: Creating happiness at work

Case study: Creating happiness at work
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A mid-size organization came to us with a strategic problem at the end of last year. They were having difficulty in retaining essential employees for the business, which affected their growth strategy; they had faced a problem with creating happiness at work. Because of the loss of staff they couldn’t take on more clients. At the same time they had problems with their current projects; milestones were not delivered and quality was not according their standards.

Expanding the organisation was no longer possible because they were losing talented people fast. That meant that every team was more or less in permanent crisis. So we were asked to help them improve the retention rate.

So we:

  • Assessed the whole organization by using our online questionnaire.
  • Analysed the data to see what worked and what needed to be improved.
  • Facilitated several focus group sessions to get a better understanding of the problems that came out of the questionnaire.
  • Organised 360 feedback for the senior leaders to obtain a better understanding of their role.
  • Coached the senior leaders based on the outcome of the 360 feedback .
  • Ensured that the people strategy was aligned with the organizational strategy.
  • Re-aligned some of the HR processes based on the outcome of the focus group sessions, online questionnaire and 360 feedback.
  • Helped leaders to implement the refreshed and realigned HR processes.
  • Ensured knowledge transfer in the organisation so that knowledge was widely available in the organisation and no longer in the hands of a few people.
  • Re-assessed the organization.

What were the issues we faced?

Several leaders did not agree with the cause that people left the organisation. At the same time not all leaders embraced the new ways of working and leading staff. This caused a threat in the implementation because if the senior leaders do not see the benefits of changing the organisation will not change.

What were the key factors to project success?

The first important factor that helped a lot during the project was the support from the CEO. After some hesitation, the support finally came from and the attitude of the CEO. This became a critical success factor as at the CEO did not belief in the need in the beginning. The CEO later agreed in moving forward with our suggestions because of the fact that he needed to do something. During the course of the project the mind-set of the CEO changed.

A second key factor was that leaders could hear, feel and see a different attitude of the employees. They started to talk about the project and the fact that the organisation was doing something about the unhappiness in the organisation. Employees started to believe again in the organisation. This belief of the employees impacted the leaders too; they wanted to continue with the project too.

Another key factor that helped was that we ensured that we organised short-term wins that were visible in the organisation. For instance, we trained leaders in providing more frequent motivational feedback and coaching team members which most of them implemented in their daily job.

The last factor that helped deliver success was ensuring that we were working bottom-up and top-down simultaneously. This meant that everyone could quickly see that things were starting to happen and changes were being implemented.

What outcome did the project generate?

  • The percentage of employees leaving the organisation dropped significantly.
  • More stability in the organisation.
  • Trust level between colleagues increased.
  • People have more meaningful interactions.
  • Employees feel more honoured for the work they do.
  • Employee’s belief in the organisation has increased.

Concluding thoughts

When there is a climate of unhappiness or mistrust in an organisation, employees feel tensed with regards to interacting with other members of the organisation and this always has a tremendous impact on the output and quality of the results.

This organisation and especially the CEO understood that the best investment this organisation could make was in its own employees. Also, the fact that all levels developed simultaneously their skills and took initiatives to improve work processes and other activities, top-down and bottom-up, was of great influence in starting a transformation. The organisation became again an empowering environment and this brought the happiness back in work.

Want to learn more about keeping a happy and motivated workforce? Contact us at or!

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