Passion in the Workforce: Engagement Drives Employee Retention

It all started with Tony Hsieh's book, Delivering Happiness, which sold more than 220,000 copies internationally and topped best-seller lists at The New York Times and elsewhere. Jenn Lim, a consultant at Amazon.com subsidiary Zappos and producer of the company's now-famous Culture Book, helped launch Delivering Happiness, and is now the CEO and chief happiness officer at the Zappos subsidiary of the same name.

"What does it all mean?" In this video segment, Lim explains that having a higher purpose to give meaning to the day-to-day work is part of what keeps employees engaged and inspired to stay with a company and work toward its future growth. 

A full transcript follows the video.

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Andrew Tonner: Then maybe can we just take a moment to expand on -- again, coming from an investor's perspective -- some of the things that an investor should be looking for in a company that delivers happiness to all of its stakeholders and maybe the link between that and the long-term profitability.

A number of things; if you're, say, analyzing a company and understanding a company that delivers happiness, what are some things investors should look for?

Jenn Lim: Sure. Our biggest premise is that we can't forget the fundamentals. Bottom line, a company has to be profitable. If you're just thinking about happiness all the time, there's no profits. We know the end of that story.

What we're saying is that we just need a new approach for anyone looking how you build for the long term. Let's just assume the profitability is there and you have good people -- all the traditional metrics.

What we're saying is, by layering the signs of happiness and positive psychology with the thoughts of -- unless you have a passionate workforce, unless you have a higher purpose for your employees, again, to be inspired by -- those kinds of things, if you don't have it, that means you're looking for the short term.

If you want to look at it in more old-school terminology, it really is about employee retention and engagement. If you want good people to hang around and build a better and better company, it is about happiness. Whether we like it or not, it's becoming more of an expectation.

It's not just the young generation, too. There are so many middle to older generations that we talk to, that they've climbed the ladder and they've gotten to this point in their life and they looked back and they said, "I'm a partner, but so what? What happened along the way?" They're coming back to say, "Hey, what do we need to do to make something more meaningful here?"

All we're saying is, beyond the traditional metrics, think about the long term of those sort of criteria. Are the leaders thinking about "What is going to inspire my employees? What is our higher purpose?"

I like to talk about Simon Sinek's book. He had a TEDTalk called "Start With Why," and that's basically the whole thing. Start with the "Why" first, because then you'll know if you have alignment between your employees, your management, your investors, really quick.


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