By Peter Fedders, TCG Employee Happiness Associate
There aren’t many companies that dedicate an entire department to employee happiness. Human Resources might throw a birthday party for Janet in Accounting, or Executive Management might put a foosball table in the break room, but most companies don’t have staff assigned to happiness 40-hours per week. That’s why, when I was hired in June of 2016 as an Employee Happiness Associate, I walked into the mandatory All Hands Meeting (coincidentally held during my first week with TCG) wondering if anyone in the company would actually take me seriously.
I knew I’d be meeting over 100 TCGers that day, so I had a strategy for them to remember me as I would be meeting all of them one-on-one over the next year as part of TCG’s birthday and “un-birthday” coffees initiative. These coffees are a chance for employees to tell us about themselves; discuss one-on-one how things are going with their job and see how TCG can improve their experience. So, when it was my turn among the newest TCGers to “tell us something interesting about yourself,” I did a spoken-word rap about TCG based on the theme song to Disney Jr’s Sofia the First. (Kids TV theme songs tend to get stuck in your head when you have three daughters under age seven.) My plan worked—the result was a year of meeting TCGers for coffee and many of them saying, “I remember you from the rap at the All Hands Meeting.” (Internal fist pump!)
Last month was my one-year anniversary at TCG and my second All Hands Meeting. As TCGers strolled in, I did not have to wonder if people took Employee Happiness seriously. I had gone out for over 100 un-birthday coffees with TCGers that year and learned that they saw Employee Happiness as a valuable resource to bring up issues, offer suggestions, and, often times, use our coffee break as an opportunity to take a breather and talk about how things are going. One by one, TCGers walked in and I asked about their kids, how that Wizards playoff game was that TCG got them tickets to, if they received my email about the walk-to-work shoe reimbursement program, how that vacation was, or if their manager followed up with them on an issue that we had previously discussed.
Employee Happiness is one of the things that makes TCG Positively Distinct. I don’t believe it is because of me or our Employee Happiness team, but because TCGers as a whole embrace Employee Happiness and use it as the resource to make their time at TCG a, well,
more pleasant, less stressful, joyful– HAPPIER experience. When you work for a company this big, it’s easy to feel anonymous. Meeting regularly, one-on-one with someone whose job is to understand how you think you could do even better in your career and job helps employees relate to TCG on a more personal level. Employee Happiness isn’t just a department in the company. It’s a way for TCGers to feel connected, to let the company know how they’re doing, and to take a break from work to have coffee and conversation. So, to answer my initial question: for TCG, Employee Happiness is a very serious business.