Back to top

Necessary Conditions for Happy Employees

A couple things I've noticed in my limited career:

1. Seasonal events

like barbecues, holiday parties, picnics, potlucks, chili cook-offs and the like. Pick a friday of the month, tell everyone to plan ahead, and it will take care of itself. Nobody gets much done Friday afternoon anyway, so it isn't a big productivity loss.

2. Monthly meetings and awards.

One of my favorites on this was the award for the last person to arrive at the monthly meeting from Connexn. The last guy in the room received a trophy made out of a can of really bad beer. People who had done something good got a "GOBOSH (GO Big Or Stay Home). People who had been there for n*years got an anniversary certificate. People like awards. As Napoleon said "give me enough ribbon to cover the tunics of my soldiers and I will conquer the world." And when you give these awards - announce the person's name (learn how to pronounce it before hand), say "thanks", and look people in the eye.

3. Employee Appreciation dinner/breakfast/vacation

Some places spend lots of money on fancy dinners and think that's right - I don't think that makes much marginal difference beyond a hot dog from Mustard's Last Stand. Some places dont' do anything - that clearly won't work either. I like the idea of, first, doing things that help your employees get their work done and that keep them happy (like breakfast burritos on Friday morning once a month) and, second, that reward a common interest like a friend who works in a ski town and whose company flies employess who have worked there for 3+ years to Mexico for a vacation at the end of the year. All the employees take week long vacations in the spring/fall off-season anyway, that's part of the attraction of working in a mountain town. Letting them do it together builds corporate love.

Moral of the Happy Employee Story

These won't guarantee happy employees, but man if you don't do these things that's one sucky company.If these don't exist, start them.

People Involved: 

Predictive Markets - Can't Wait Until 2008

Predictive Markets

Predictive Markets are a really neat idea. Basically, you let knowledgable people bet on the likelihood of a particular event happening: Bush getting re-elected, 10 inches of snow falling in one day on New York City by 2008, or Nikki letting me buy a new computer this year. Then the price of the contract for that particular event will then reflect the collective knowledge of the community about that event. If you have something that is hard to analzye or hard to predict, this is a great way to get a fairly reliable answer.

Greed is good

People Involved: 

Yeah, I called you fat


I got an email a little while ago from an old friend Andy Skalet with the subject "Yeah, I called you fat" - an homage to the lyric from a Digital Underground song. Turns out he's traveling through South Asia with a friend and writing and taking photos the whole time. Great Stuff.

"The meat of the subject" so to speak

I got pretty tired while we were in the Netherlands hearing about how unhealthy Americans were all the while the speaker was spewing cigarette smoke in my face.

Now, turns out the French are having problems with weight as well.

People Involved: 

Zacker on Drupal Core

Zack of CivicSpace made two posts recently. One about what the community needs to do (or if anything needs to be done) to ensure the long term development of Drupal Core. The other is about the costs of forking and how consultants should estimate a line item for "roll changes back into the core" into their bids. The goal on the second one is long term supportability for the client, and partially ensuring core gets the mods back even from all the "busy" consultants in the world.

People Involved: 

Matt Cutts - the unGoogle Google Employee

Lots of people love to talk about the secrecy Google maintains. They are frequently used in examples alongside of Apple about how secretive the two companies are. So, two recent developments are pretty interesting to me:

  1. Improvements to Google Sitemaps that really let you see what traffic you are getting from Google and various different statistics from the inside.
  2. Matt Cutts personal blog

After Google fired an employee based upon his outing too much internal information in his blog it's odd to see Matt talking about something as controversial as

People Involved: 


Subscribe to RSS