Michael Lee Stallard and Jason Pankau on Happiness in the Workplace

“The life you live trains you for the life you’re going to lead.”  This is the opinion of Michael Lee Stallard and Jason Pankau, partners in E Pluribus Partners, the world’s leading experts on how rational and emotional connections can boost productivity, innovation and organizational performance in the workplace.

In a recent interview for the Alter NOW Podcasts, Stallard and Pankau cited a Gallup Poll that ranked 132 countries in terms of happiness.  The United States ranked 12th, which was lower than the Scandinavian nations of Denmark and Finland and even Costa Rica.  According to Stallard and Pankau, “If you look at what’s happening, people are working longer and harder days.  We spend the bulk of our waking lives in certain kinds of relational environments – this has an enormous impact on our happiness and ability to connect with others.”

Using a number of systems, including humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,  Stallard and Pankau have created a list of six universal human needs that people want to experience in the workplace.  They include:

  • Respect – When we are with people who are condescending, patronizing, passive-aggressive or who look down on us in some relational way, there is a negative emotional impact. No one can thrive in that kind of environment, because humans need a basic level of respect in the workplace.
  • Recognition – We rely on the interactions of people around us to recharge our internal batteries. Authentic, positive affirmation – not false – is the most effective. Otherwise, employees are drained of energy.
  • Sense of belonging – Everyone needs people who have our backs and who are trustworthy. These people help us live up to the values that we aspire to, support us and are with us through the ups and downs of life.
  • Autonomy, which is a task-mastering need – This gives us the freedom and flexibility to do our work free of bureaucratic red tape and without the presence of over-controlling personalities. People cannot thrive in that kind of environment. Additionally, autonomy assists with personal growth.
  • A challenging environments – When people are over challenged, they are stressed; conversely, people are bored when they are not challenged. When work provides the right degree of challenge, people are so immersed in the task at hand that time flies and it is energizing.
  • Need for meaning – People typically derive meaning from work that is consistent with a mission that is important to them. Additionally, they find meaning in the relational connections they have in the workplace; this provides a connection with their personal life.

To listen to Michael Lee Stallard’s and Jason Pankau’s full interview on happiness in the workplace, click here.  To sign up for Michael Lee Stallard’s and Jason Pankau’s newsletter and receive a free digital download of their book, click here