How to create a culture of happiness in your company

Evotalents October 15, 2020

In the era of mindfulness and mental wellbeing, we all strive to create a space where each employee will feel at ease and will be involved in the company's life. And also we want our employees to:

  • Feel appreciated and cared for.
  • See their career growth and development.
  • Know that they have opportunities to take the initiative and not be afraid of "punishment" for their “brave” decisions.
  • Not be afraid of making a mistake and feel supported if something goes wrong.
  • Be able to maintain a work-life balance and manage your time.

All of these elements are the basis of the culture of happiness, or happiness-driven culture. At EvoTalents we want to believe that our team also succeeds in creating such a culture. If you want to implement a culture of happiness too, let's figure out which companies have already done it and how to start creating this culture right now.

1. Happiness culture. What for?

It seems to be obvious: by developing a culture of happiness in the company, we get happy employees. But that’s not all :)

Rob Markey, author of The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World, says: “Loyal, engaged employees deliver as much value to the company as loyal and passionate customers. They stay with the company longer, work harder, approach tasks more creatively, and try to surpass themselves. They bring even more successful employees to the company. And it brings even more happiness – happiness for employees, customers and shareholders."

2. Companies with happiness culture

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a famous Q&A platform for development, community and vacancies for developers.

Stack Overflow is remote-first, where remote work is the default. This approach influences the hiring process and corporate culture. To select "their" employees, the company conducts 5 stages of selection, where they check not only technical skills, but also company fit and compatibility with the team. One of the rules there is employee trust and lack of control. Thus, the candidate must show their skills in time management and self-organization.

Since the entire company is built on building a community of developers, all employees feel that they also belong to a large community. And despite the "remoteness", employees admit they don't feel it at all.

In addition, employees note that the company appreciates ​​employees' time and the desire to stay alone and turn off all notifications and messengers. At this time, no one will bother you, giving you the opportunity to take a break and do your personal business.

Here are a few "tricks" Stack Overflow uses to keep its employees happy:

  • Bev Bash is a remote version of Friday's happy hour. Employees gather on Hangouts for drinks and snacks, while Bev Bash Baron sets the topic of the evening. Of course, the conversation is informal and its main goal is team building and just having a good time.

  • Holiday bonuses – for example, for the New Year, employees received not only a gift by mail, but also a bonus to throw a party and make up for the feeling of a holiday in the circle of loved ones.

  • Arrangement of a "home office" – to make the home workspace comfortable, the company compensates for the purchase of furniture and equipment. In addition, every month employees receive compensation for additional costs, such as high-speed Internet.

Bottom line: People appreciate the opportunity to work with a convenient schedule and format (office/remote). When you let them work "remotely", learn to trust them and not to control the working day. Instead, try to create an environment in which they can be more productive, such as removing some of the household chores.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines follows the “happy employees = happy customers” formula. They are the company with the fewest customer complaints, while 85% of employees are proud to work for the company.

The Culture Services team spreads the values ​​of the company and hosts informal Culture Blitzes to remind colleagues of the values ​​once again.

Despite a conservative industry, Southwest Airlines gives its employees total decision-making freedom: a client needs to be upgraded to Business Class, help colleagues design a new uniform, split the budget for unforeseen expenses. Everyone is given freedom of action and the opportunity to influence the processes.

In addition, the company develops leadership at all levels: from assistants to C-level. This allows employees to build their careers faster and stay with the company longer.

Bottom line: It is important to give your employees the opportunity to work creatively, unsupervised. To develop leaders, train employees and empower them to make their own decisions by removing instructions and bureaucracy.


Salesforce came up with their own vocabulary. For example, employees in the company are called trailblazers ("innovator", "pioneer"), and the global name of the team is Ohana, translated from Hawaiian as "family".

Salesforce also offered a mascot system with preferred pronouns (for example, gender neutral: them/their or she/her).

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, after a sabbatical in Hawaii, is imbued with the culture and traditions of these people. As a result, Salesforce culture is based on Ohana – a family and friendly atmosphere without boring corporate rules and feedback. Salesforce employees contribute to the IT community, do charity work, and run many volunteer projects. In this way, the company is able to unite around common values (​​such as trust, customer care and equality) and create a sense of belonging to the large Ohana family.

Bottom line: behind each mission and values ​​should be a higher goal and personality of the creator of the company. For example, if you are interested in an environmental topic, you can draw the attention of employees to this problem and work together for the good of society, being involved in something important.

3. How to create a culture of happiness in the company

Adapt to new conditions

In a #WFH environment, the needs of employees are changing. McKinsey conducted research that found that in times of change, it is more important for employees to feel financially stable, have physical and mental health support, and have strong leaders around them.

This means that it's time to review the benefits. For example, “unload” employees from household chores and offer services such as house cleaning or babysitting for a child. Intangible incentives also work, such as unlimited vacations, as at Groupon and Glassdoor.

Connect and engage

CB Insights is a company that develops the market intelligence platform of the same name. The company lives by the 4H rule: be helpful, humble, hungry, happy.

The CEO of CB Insights, Anand Sanwal, translates the company's values ​​by publishing a list of failures and wrong decisions that have happened to him over the 4 years of the company's development. Thus, the commandment to remain humble and admit our mistakes is upheld.

Hubspot publishes Culture of code – a set of rules by which they work and build relationships with each other in the company. Such a list is an opportunity to introduce potential candidates to the company and to involve current employees by explaining the rules of the game.

The book "Delivering Happiness" comes to my mind then. The author, Tony Shay, talks about his company Zappos and how culture was built there. It is from this book that I remember the phrase "a culture of happiness." I share the idea that the happiness of the highest goal is feeling a part of something bigger. Less "sweet" is the happiness of passion – here are the things you really like to do. And the shortest is happiness from pleasures.

– EvoTalents Recruiter

Pay attention to culture fit

Culture fit is how a candidate relates to the values, traditions and behavior peculiarities in the company. In other words, culture fit characterizes how much the candidate is "your" and you are "his" company.

Why is this screening important? In order not to shock the candidate with informal behavior after onboarding, or, conversely, not to be boring bureaucrats.

For example, in the LetyShops office you can smoke a hookah, which causes a mixed reaction among some people and at the same time attracts employees who value the atmosphere of freedom.

4. EvoTalents: how we support a culture of happiness

In this article, we told a lot about examples from other companies, but we didn't forget about our company as well! EvoTalents is an IT recruiting agency and we work remotely. Here is how we create a happiness culture even as a distributed team:

Constant communication

Probably, many already know about our tradition of virtual coffee. We have connected the Donut chatbot in Slack, which randomly connects two or three colleagues for coffee. Whenever possible, we get together live, exchange books, take a lot of pictures and make up for communication with each other.

Constant communication

Probably, many already know about our tradition of virtual coffee. We use the Donut chatbot in Slack, which randomly connects two or three colleagues for coffee. Whenever possible, we meet offline, exchange books, take a lot of pictures and communicate with each other.

We also practice 1:1 calls with the founder and ideological inspirer – Lena Volk. Everyone can look at Lena's calendar and choose a free time slot. So we keep in touch with Lena, we can ask for advice and just discuss current affairs :)

In Slack, we have #blablabla channels set up for flooding, we have a chat room for tips and even whining! So we know that the whole team will definitely listen to us, support and cheer us up.

Work-Life Balance

We are about flexibility in everything. We work remotely, so we can work from any convenient place with good Wi-Fi, a free schedule and unlimited vacation. This option allows us (and we have five working mothers!) to devote time to the family without prejudice to work and vice versa. Our Dasha Nazarenko even wrote an article "How to keep up with everything or a maternity leave of the 21st century", where she shares the experience of a working mother immediately after the birth of a child.

And Masha Naumenko manages to combine the work of the HR Manager at Archer and Recruitment/Marketing Communications Manager at EvoTalents. So we get the opportunity to realize ourselves not only in the team, but also outside of it.

For me, a culture of happiness is when you can devote enough time to yourself, your child and your family without worrying about deadlines. When the team will help with a difficult task and will be sincerely glad for your success.

At EvoTalents, a culture of happiness is realized through the opportunity to take unlimited vacations, the opportunity to attend courses, trainings and just walk during the day and manage your time on your own.

– EvoTalents Recruiter

Joint trips

Getting together at least once a year is a must. We usually combine business with pleasure (for example, long-term planning for a year), going to a new country. We have already organized a trip to France (having also flown to Italy) in 2018 and Poland in 2019.

Как построить культуру счастья в компании

Chat for thanks

And one more of our traditions is a chat to say “thank you” to each other. We can thank a colleague for his/her help with work or just write kind words to cheer up a colleague. The chat #thankfulness is our place where you will be surrounded with positive :)