How we apply the Employee Experience model for a happier workplace at Zone

The Meaning of Happiness at Work

Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky defines happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” In his book Flourish, Martin Seligman, a pioneer of positive psychology, has identified five core elements of happiness and well-being in his PERMA model. PERMA stands for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments. Seligman notes that while there may be some variation across individuals, these elements are universal regardless of a person’s age, life stage or circumstance and that it is natural for people to continuously seek what makes them happy.

How Zone Creates a Happier Work Environment for Employees

As an experience consultancy with a dedicated Employee Experience Strategy team devoted to supporting our clients to build employee-centric workplaces, we understand the vital role happiness plays at work — not just for our clients but for our own people. We share some strategies we’re working on at Zone to ensure our employees have the best and happiest experience at work.

We make our people feel welcomed and included

Ensuring our people feel welcomed and included is woven into the fabric of our business. It’s not just written in our values; it’s part of our DNA. Cultivating a sense of belonging and inclusion are hugely important to ensuring our people feel valued (and happy) at work and is something that we are committed to continuously improving at Zone.

We listen to our employees and give them a voice

Very few organisations foster open and productive debate and conversation between their employees and leaders. But Zone believes it’s impossible to commit to building a fulfilling work environment without the input of our people. We go beyond the obligatory engagement and pulse surveys to really engage with our teams and understand what they want and need, their pain points, and what delights them about working at Zone. We prioritise getting to know the individuals that make up our unique organisation to show that we trust and value their opinions in decision-making and company progression, such as by asking the right questions to understand what happiness and well-being means to them to help us implement the right initiatives to promote these feelings.

Employees discussing and planning with sticky notes on board

We are flexible beyond just working from home

Our Zone Employee Experience Strategy team co-create with our clients to achieve moments that matter in the everyday working life of employees.

We encourage our employees to have fun

The positive emotion of having an informal chat and having a laugh with colleagues at the end of a busy day is cherished by many workers. A way to decompress, gain perspective, and engage with others is an enormous part of belonging that goes beyond being part of a work team. Lockdown and remote working, however, tested ingenuity to create spaces to authentically engage, especially as there was a real wish to connect in-person. Yet, for many, returning to the after-work pub scene now feels humdrum, or shall we say ‘pre-pandemic’, as the pandemic has inevitably transformed company culture. It’s apparent that what some people consider “fun” does not appeal to others, which can sometimes make employees feel isolated.

We provide real opportunities for our people to grow

One of the most crucial elements of employee experience is opportunity for growth, development, and progression. According to Gallup, 60% of employees say that the ability to do what they do best is important to them and in line with Seligman’s PERMA model (mentioned above). A key aspect of workplace happiness involves having meaningful opportunities for continual learning and skill development, enabling employees to capitalise on their strengths and build their careers simultaneously. Our Growth Framework sets out the skills and knowledge people need to succeed in their roles, and provides employees with a practical tool to help decide what to base development conversations on with their managers.

What Zone Want You to Know

Creating a positive EX isn’t easy, but it’s foundational to happiness at work and business performance. At Zone, we realise it’s a continuous work in progress, and that’s why we are dedicated and persistent in putting EX at the forefront of what we do. We take the happiness of our own employees just as seriously as we do our clients.

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We write about customer experience, employee experience, design, content & technology to share our knowledge with the wider community.