Monday, September 12, 2016

We'll Pay You $2,000 To Quit

Is your estate attractive enough to candidates, to be able to make this same offer? 

Picture yourself at your next domestic job interview. Your resume is as polished as your shoes; your references are both stellar and verified. You've passed your background investigation with honors - you've not only never committed an infraction of the law, your contagiously good citizenship has actually prevented them from occurring in others - and your credit score was found, amazingly, to be 875 out of a possible 850. Your technical skills are irrefutable and your perky exuberance sets you up as the model candidate. You've also spent several weeks memorizing each of the answers to the latest book of the 100 most commonly-asked interview questions, and you're now chomping at the bit to have the chance to show how wonderful and well-prepared you are for this very serious, important meeting.

Yet, suddenly, the Principal whisks into the room, completely ignores the PowerPoint presentation of your resume lighting up his wall, pulls up his chair next to yours, leans in close, looks you in the eye, and only says to you:

"I'm so confident that anyone would be happy here, I'll pay you $2,000 on top of your first month's pay if you don't like us and you decide to quit. Please, won't you come take a look at our household and see if it makes you feel happy?"

What?!  Sounds impossible, you say?

Well, if we can agree on the premise that happy employees and workplaces make the most productive employees and workplaces, then it stands to reason that an employer would only want happy workers at work. What, then, could possibly ever be the advantage of having unhappy people work for you?  And, what could possibly be the benefit of having a miserable workplace?

And so thought billionaire Tony Hsieh, who founded internet shoe retailer giant Zappos. As it turns out, Hsieh really doesn't care all that much about shoes (he proudly owns only four pairs and lives in a trailer park). He just wanted to make a workplace where everyone was happy to be there.  

And guess what? He attracted people to the interviews that were looking for the same thing!

Their happiness was reflected in the 10 core values that he and his employees carefully wrote, over a one-year period. Yes, it took that much time, and a lot of work to get there. Yet, would showing up at an uninspiring, confusing, and miserable workplace every morning  - be any easier? Hsieh and his colleagues decided, collectively, to create a great, happy workplace - purposefully - and it was created through those expressed, written core values

That's how he was able to make the $2,000 guarantee. He knew that very few unhappy types would want to start working at a place that had - purposefully - established a process for the employees attaining happiness. 

And he was right! Because, guess what? Almost no one quit, and even fewer took the money.

It's worth noting: the happiness Hsieh was looking for wasn't the kind where staff paste on a plastic, insincere smile whenever someone enters the room. Instead, it's the kind of happiness that comes alive within your entire being, the kind you can't possibly fake; the kind that multiplies out of control when you're in a room full of co-workers that are as happy as you are to be there...  because everyone knows that everyone else in the room is as tuned into the collectively established core values, as they are.

And... here's a happy, shiny-shoes ending for Zappos - and also for anyone that thinks happiness is just some silly, dreamy notion, or perhaps not as useful on their estate as confusion and misery - Hsieh sold his happy company to, on the condition that their family of workers be allowed to stay together. Amazon (happily) agreed, paying Hsieh $1.2 billion for the opportunity to keep their happiness core values intact. Well, I guess you could say, happy talks

Could this kind of purposeful success through happiness be created within a domestic staff... on your estate?

Is there any reason not to?