Organizations spend big on trips and other “happiness” initiatives under the assumptions that 1) they make employees happier, and that 2) happiness leads to increased productivity.
If you’ve ever been at such events and wished they’d granted you that time instead to clean some tech debt or streamline dev tools, to make your workday a little less about overcoming friction and a little more about actual work, you might conclude that the first assumption is wrong — that those events bring little in the way of happiness — and leave it at that. Looking closer, though, there’s also a clue as to which way the current between happiness and productivity actually flows, and this study from the Harvard Business Review drives the point home.
TLDR: Happiness comes from, rather than leading to, productivity. Workers are most motivated and collaborative when they make progress. Progress is around 3x more effective than praise in improving inner work life.
My take: workers are to an organization as users to a service: they start with aligned goals and have a job-to-be-done; when they achieve it, they stick, and both sides profit; when friction blocks them, they churn, and both sides lose. Engagement and retention through gimmicks is a short-term game. What to do, then? Make them badass.
Do you diligently prefix your commit messages with “feat”, “fix”, “build” etc, but struggle to capture otherwise well-scoped changes with those keywords? It’s not you, it’s the “language”. Add a dimension so it better fits the domain, and you might find that it makes both the task easier for you and the result far more useful for the reader.