Stanford Graduate School of Business has been teaching a course called “Designing Happiness.” Led by professor Jennifer Aaker, who has worked with companies like AOL, Adobe, and Facebook, business people are being taught how to make companies more successful by evoking joy.
Fast Company describes the course:
“Aaker asked her students to develop their own plans for incorporating happiness into a fictional company. She also had them use a custom-built smartphone app to take at least one photo of a happy moment every day for 30 days, and then rate each moment on a scale of 1 to 10 to quantify their feelings.”
After putting Aaker’s happiness lessons to work, executives and students saw powerful results:
“They learned that the anticipation of a pleasurable experience feels as good as finishing an onerous task (like a marathon or an exam),” says Fast Company. “They discovered that a meaningful experience (acquiring a new skill, volunteering, or spending time with family) often makes people happier than moments of pure pleasure. And they learned that happiness shifts with age. Younger people feel happiest when they are excited, while older people equate happiness with peacefulness.”
It sounds silly and mushy, but happiness can be monetized. Companies can leverage it to create emotional connections with customers; it is a powerful selling mechanism that keeps people loyal to brands.
Corporations that are actively trying to make customers happy are benefiting too. Zappos and Google are known for their great work environments.
A more specific example is Coca-Cola. The soft drink company placed “happiness” vending machines in a university during final exams. Instead of soda, the machine spit out a box of pizza or flowers. Videos of pleasantly surprised students were captured and went viral on YouTube. Coke’s videos received millions of views and generated a lot of positive PR.
Business success is just simple psychology. It comes down to how well a company deals with people, so leave room in your business plan for an emotional strategy.
For easy ways to implement happiness in the work place, check out:
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