Why Your Boss Cares If You’re Happy

September 16th, 2013 / No Comments »

Companies from Google to Bank of America are investing in ways to measure how happy their employees are–and how to make them happier. But does that mean work is getting better, or are we just being tricked into working more?

A couple years ago, Matthew Stinchcomb was living in Berlin, running global marketing for Etsy. Sounds like a cool gig, but Stinchcomb was miserable. He hated marketing, he hated that he wasn’t doing anything creative, and he didn’t much like working out of a satellite office detached from the Etsy mothership, either. So, he came back to Brooklyn and talked to his bosses about what he’d really like to be doing. As a result of that conversation, the company created a new team, called Values and Impact, with Stinchcomb at its head.

At the time, Etsy executives had also recently been blindsided by a less-than-stellar performance on the audit required to be certified as a B corporation–a sustainable business certification based on rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Their desire to improve Etsy’s performance on non-financial measures coincided nicely with Stinchomb’s desire for more meaningful work. The idea was that Stinchcomb would be responsible for ensuring that every action the company took adhered to its core values and had a positive impact on the communities it touched…….