According to a recent study, Holland, Michigan is the happiest town in America. Never heard of it? Well, it's a small, sleepy town in western Michigan. What's unusual about Holland residents' happiness is that the town has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, at 16%.
So, what is it that makes the residents of this town so happy in the face of a bad economic situation? The video report by ABC News explains that Holland's residents are so happy because they rely on each other, believe in community, and participate in charitable projects.
The happiness in the face of adversity of the people of Holland teaches us some lessons for the corporate world.
The atmosphere of Holland is pleasant, which makes its residents want to live there. Creating an environment in your business that is pleasant will yield similar results. Employees will want to go to work, much like the residents of Holland like to live there.
Outlets Outside of Work are Beneficial
Holland's residents are active in community philanthropic organizations. The small town has over 100 philanthropic organizations. This not only does a little good in the world, but also makes them happier people by giving them opportunities to do things that are non-work related. Bringing this idea to a corporate environment yields similar results.
At Total Attorneys, we have a couple charities we support not only monetarily, but by the active involvement of employees. For example, in June we're having an 80's hair contest to benefit the Total Impact House. We also recently sponsored a successful fundraiser for the organization.
Community and Working Together
Finally, placing emphasis on community and working together creates a bond between people. Holland residents rely on each other in times of need. Creating a community (not just a group of people who happen to work together) will result in happier employees and more productivity.
These simple lessons about happiness from Holland, Michigan are ones that all organizations should think about when assessing employee happiness.