Happster, as its name suggests, is all about happiness. After all it is a workplace happiness app, and we are passionate about workplace happiness.
That being said, our focus is on the structure, environment and behaviors that naturally lead to happiness in the workplace, not necessarily pursuing happiness directly.
We don’t use direct approaches of measuring happiness, such as pushing out pulse surveys asking employees how happy they are. Why? Because we don’t want them to become less happy.
This may sound counterintuitive, but science tells us that consistently measuring and monitoring one’s own happiness results in less happiness. New York Times Best Selling Author Adam Grant, Ph.D., explains it this way:
“When we pursue happiness [directly], our goal is to experience more joy and contentment. To find out if we’re making progress, we need to compare our past happiness to our current happiness. This creates a problem: the moment we make that comparison, we shift from an experiencing mode to an evaluating mode.”
We are all capable of experiencing happiness as our circumstances, surroundings and psyches converge to provide this rewarding emotional feedback. However, once we begin the evaluation process, we are no longer experiencing—we are critiquing.
In that same Psychology Today article, Grant describes the common errors people encounter in their pursuit of happiness based on decades of research by a litany of experts in the study of happiness.
Famous psychiatrist, neurologist, holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl had this to say based on his many years of research and clinical observations:
“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”
This is why Happster isn’t designed to help monitor personal happiness or consistently remind its users how far they are from a happiness goal.
Instead, Happster is a collection of tools that help facilitate an environment consisting of all the right ingredients for happiness, grounded in the science of positive psychology. Teams working within a space that is ripe for happiness allows happiness to ensue organically.
Engagement and productivity soon follow.
Happster’s co-founders and team embrace the science of Positive Psychology, which focuses on the study of human flourishing, with an applied approach to optimal functioning. Positive psychology has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities and organizations to thrive.
Positive Psychology is interested in unleashing human potential, rather than diagnosing what is ‘wrong’ and then attempting to fix it. The features of the Happster app have been designed while embracing these important concepts.
Let’s check out the core features.
Humans who are unable to talk or communicate experience extreme emotional turmoil.
Likewise, when employees perceive they don’t have a voice—or that no one is listening—they become frustrated as well.
Feedback is designed to help democratize the workforce, and provide a forum to help facilitate a shared vision among team members and management.
Employees can upvote feedback posted from their peers so that leadership can see the things that matter to people most. Leaders can also respond to feedback, thereby contributing to the open communication, transparency and shared wisdom that helps to foster trust and facilitate engagement.
According to research expressing gratitude not only makes the recipient feel appreciated, but it also enhances the physical and mental health of the giver!
Dr. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher has discovered that those who practice gratitude experience greater joy, pleasure, happiness, and optimism along with stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure and feeling more refreshed upon waking up in the morning.
The Heroes feature allows any peer to express gratitude toward an exemplary employee for their helpfulness, dedication, or any outstanding deed by nominating that person as a hero.
The rest of the team can upvote the nomination and add their own complements if they wish. Paying others sincere compliments comes with similar benefits for the bearers, and in one study the recipients of the compliments considered them just as good as cash.
Heroes provides a way to incorporate compliments and gratitude into the company culture and to memorialize these interactions.
Empowerment leads to happiness.
Few things are more frustrating to an employee than not having the resources or means to carry out a task or assignment.
Qhub is a searchable repository of questions and answers about anything anyone working in your company may need to know. These questions can be as basic as what a particular company acronym stands for, to more advanced inquiries such as how to use a type of software, or about the best Excel formula to use for a given spreadsheet.
This enables employees to help each other while creating minimal disruption to their flow. Another win for happiness.
Leadership receives analytics on the categories of questions being asked so they know exactly where to allocate resources for training, leading to further empowerment of the team.
Finally, team members may search and ask questions in Qhub anonymously. This could help avoid embarrassment for things they had innocently forgotten about. And we all know embarrassment is a happiness killer.
The Happster Dashboard
Every team member gets a personal dashboard that contains a to-do list, a module for tracking their accomplishments, a place to list things the team is looking forward to, gamification, and updates to their feedback. We highlight the psychological advantages of these items below.
- Checking an item off of a to-do list feels good, releases dopamine in the brain, and motivates us to do even more. This is the place for a team member to break down large, overwhelming tasks into microtasks, and get rewarded for their productivity along the way.
- Acknowledging our accomplishments allows us to see what we are capable of doing, and how far we have come. This is a healthy foundation from which to continue any project, and will help keep us motivated during challenging times.
- Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project reminds us that “By having something to look forward to, no matter what your circumstances, you bring happiness into your life well before the event actually takes place.”
- Gamification helps make learning new habits fun. To encourage the team to use the various features of the app, Happster-Fi offers challenges and provides visual rewards for achievers.
- Of course, seeing updates to our feedback reminds us that our voices are getting heard, and that others are considering our suggestions.
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