Want to boost people’s happiness at work? Try this expert’s formula


In a preview of his presentation for AHRI’s Convention, Sebastian Terry lays out his wheel-and-spoke approach to fulfilment. It has the potential to increase people’s happiness at work.

Sebastian Terry’s formula for happiness might sound familiar: in short, it involves drawing up a list of things you really want to do and ticking them off one by one.

But Terry insists the exercise – which he calls 100Things – is not about creating what you and I might refer to as a ‘bucket list’.

“My issue with that term is that it suggests a life spent jumping out of planes and driving sports cars,” he says via videoconference from Kauai, where he has been running workshops for a large US firm.

Instead of focusing on pricey possessions and one-off experiences, Terry wants us to identify goals that extend our abilities, enhance our relationships and solidify our sense of self.

And he believes many of these goals can be reached in the workplace, where most of us spend almost half our waking hours. This is what could help us all to achieve happiness at work.

“For too long, there’s been a mentality that our personal life is where we are in control and can thrive, and work is merely a means to an end,” he says.

“But work should be more than that. To me, a ‘modern’ workplace is one that presents an opportunity to develop ourselves both professionally and personally.”

Setting work-related goals

For HR, goal setting is nothing new. What, then, makes the 100Things process valuable?

“Fundamentally, we all hope to engage with things of meaning in our lives. But doing so isn’t always easy,” says Terry.

That’s because modern society tends to prize material wealth and encourages us to chase dopamine hits, often to the exclusion of everything else.

It’s easy to give the quest for meaning short shrift – until one day we might realise we’re unhappy. At this low point, identifying meaningful goals can be daunting.

The 100Things process is designed to help us pinpoint where ‘meaning’ lies for each of us individually, and to set relevant goals.

“Through years of experience, research and development, 100things provides the structure and tools to help organisations holistically inspire, engage and motivate their individuals and teams. The program helps people understand what the core aspects of their lives are and use that to draw up meaningful and personally relevant lists.”

The central analogy is of a wheel, which represents our lives, and spokes, which give the wheel its structure.

“The core aspects of your life – the elements that create your sense of self – are your spokes,” says Terry. “Together, they allow the wheel to turn.”

On average, Terry says people have seven or eight spokes in their wheel, and those seven or eight are very often drawn from a universal list of about a dozen.

“That dozen includes physical health, mental health and wellness, key relationships, romantic love and professional development,” he says.

Old-school thinking tells us that we should focus on the professional development spoke with our employees, but Terry says HR should be helping staff identify and act on all eight.

“Within a workplace, if you allow a person to identify their spokes, you can then allow them to set and strive for meaningful goals that would actually go toward strengthening those spokes.

“Our research has shown that employees who engage with our program experience hugely positive shifts in positivity, optimism and motivation in the workplace. With mental wellness being such an important consideration in the aftermath of COVID-19, we’ve found our program to be a win-win for both employee and employer.”

Helping staff to act on their lists

Terry’s 100Things program includes an eight-step framework that organisations can use to help employees identify their spokes and create relevant goal lists.

Once that’s done, there are several ways HR can use the lists to elevate the collective mood at work.

“The top one is simply bringing people together to share their goals with each other. Passion inspires passion. If you’re able to share your passions with people who are close to you, it does nothing but inspire and reinforce that mindset of growth. The sense of connection and subsequent spike in engagement has been wonderful to see.”

Other types of group work can keep employees engaged with their 100Things lists and, by extension, maintain good vibes in the workplace.

Image: Sebastian Terry

“Group accountability is a really amazing avenue,” he says. “If you create opportunities for people to get together and frankly discuss workplace and personal issues, you allow for progress to be made. That can help people achieve their individual goals.”

100Things lists can also serve as ice-breakers at informal and social employee gatherings.

“When it’s front and centre, we find that people get to know each other in ways they never previously did.

“They find out they have so much personal crossover that they never realised. They have similar goals; they have similar shared values. As such, we now deliver our programming over extended periods of times – 21 days to 12 months – to ensure an
ongoing framework for communication and progress.”

Collective evolution

Creating an ongoing sense of camaraderie is important because it fosters accountability in the workplace as well as a solution-focused mindset.

“Developing a workplace that integrates personal expansion with professional progress is fast becoming a must-have, as opposed to a nice-to-have.

“Having a list of goals to work towards over the long term is an incredibly powerful tool to improve performance and develop a culture of inclusiveness. Overtime we see that individual growth leads to collective evolution.

“If those goals are personally relevant and true to your core values, you’ll feel good about yourself for pursuing them. That sort of enduring happiness is profound.”


Hear more from Sebastian Terry at AHRI’s Convention in August this year. Register today to secure your spot.


 

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Want to boost people’s happiness at work? Try this expert’s formula


In a preview of his presentation for AHRI’s Convention, Sebastian Terry lays out his wheel-and-spoke approach to fulfilment. It has the potential to increase people’s happiness at work.

Sebastian Terry’s formula for happiness might sound familiar: in short, it involves drawing up a list of things you really want to do and ticking them off one by one.

But Terry insists the exercise – which he calls 100Things – is not about creating what you and I might refer to as a ‘bucket list’.

“My issue with that term is that it suggests a life spent jumping out of planes and driving sports cars,” he says via videoconference from Kauai, where he has been running workshops for a large US firm.

Instead of focusing on pricey possessions and one-off experiences, Terry wants us to identify goals that extend our abilities, enhance our relationships and solidify our sense of self.

And he believes many of these goals can be reached in the workplace, where most of us spend almost half our waking hours. This is what could help us all to achieve happiness at work.

“For too long, there’s been a mentality that our personal life is where we are in control and can thrive, and work is merely a means to an end,” he says.

“But work should be more than that. To me, a ‘modern’ workplace is one that presents an opportunity to develop ourselves both professionally and personally.”

Setting work-related goals

For HR, goal setting is nothing new. What, then, makes the 100Things process valuable?

“Fundamentally, we all hope to engage with things of meaning in our lives. But doing so isn’t always easy,” says Terry.

That’s because modern society tends to prize material wealth and encourages us to chase dopamine hits, often to the exclusion of everything else.

It’s easy to give the quest for meaning short shrift – until one day we might realise we’re unhappy. At this low point, identifying meaningful goals can be daunting.

The 100Things process is designed to help us pinpoint where ‘meaning’ lies for each of us individually, and to set relevant goals.

“Through years of experience, research and development, 100things provides the structure and tools to help organisations holistically inspire, engage and motivate their individuals and teams. The program helps people understand what the core aspects of their lives are and use that to draw up meaningful and personally relevant lists.”

The central analogy is of a wheel, which represents our lives, and spokes, which give the wheel its structure.

“The core aspects of your life – the elements that create your sense of self – are your spokes,” says Terry. “Together, they allow the wheel to turn.”

On average, Terry says people have seven or eight spokes in their wheel, and those seven or eight are very often drawn from a universal list of about a dozen.

“That dozen includes physical health, mental health and wellness, key relationships, romantic love and professional development,” he says.

Old-school thinking tells us that we should focus on the professional development spoke with our employees, but Terry says HR should be helping staff identify and act on all eight.

“Within a workplace, if you allow a person to identify their spokes, you can then allow them to set and strive for meaningful goals that would actually go toward strengthening those spokes.

“Our research has shown that employees who engage with our program experience hugely positive shifts in positivity, optimism and motivation in the workplace. With mental wellness being such an important consideration in the aftermath of COVID-19, we’ve found our program to be a win-win for both employee and employer.”

Helping staff to act on their lists

Terry’s 100Things program includes an eight-step framework that organisations can use to help employees identify their spokes and create relevant goal lists.

Once that’s done, there are several ways HR can use the lists to elevate the collective mood at work.

“The top one is simply bringing people together to share their goals with each other. Passion inspires passion. If you’re able to share your passions with people who are close to you, it does nothing but inspire and reinforce that mindset of growth. The sense of connection and subsequent spike in engagement has been wonderful to see.”

Other types of group work can keep employees engaged with their 100Things lists and, by extension, maintain good vibes in the workplace.

Image: Sebastian Terry

“Group accountability is a really amazing avenue,” he says. “If you create opportunities for people to get together and frankly discuss workplace and personal issues, you allow for progress to be made. That can help people achieve their individual goals.”

100Things lists can also serve as ice-breakers at informal and social employee gatherings.

“When it’s front and centre, we find that people get to know each other in ways they never previously did.

“They find out they have so much personal crossover that they never realised. They have similar goals; they have similar shared values. As such, we now deliver our programming over extended periods of times – 21 days to 12 months – to ensure an
ongoing framework for communication and progress.”

Collective evolution

Creating an ongoing sense of camaraderie is important because it fosters accountability in the workplace as well as a solution-focused mindset.

“Developing a workplace that integrates personal expansion with professional progress is fast becoming a must-have, as opposed to a nice-to-have.

“Having a list of goals to work towards over the long term is an incredibly powerful tool to improve performance and develop a culture of inclusiveness. Overtime we see that individual growth leads to collective evolution.

“If those goals are personally relevant and true to your core values, you’ll feel good about yourself for pursuing them. That sort of enduring happiness is profound.”


Hear more from Sebastian Terry at AHRI’s Convention in August this year. Register today to secure your spot.


 

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