Workers quitting en masse is ‘a great thing,’ says happiness expert

Jenn Lim has made a profession out of serving to folks be happier at work.

She's spent a decade-plus as CEO of Delivering Happiness, a consulting firm that helps organizations construct higher and extra sustainable workplaces.

Now, because the pandemic has led folks to re-evaluate how they reside and spend their time, many are additionally inspecting their relationship to work. As a outcome, and within the context of a recovering U.S. financial system, a document variety of Americans stop their jobs all through the spring and summer time months.

Lim sees this pattern as "a great thing," noting that individuals are "standing up for themselves," their private values and the way they count on to infuse goal into the work they do daily.

In Lim's newest e-book "Beyond Happiness," she affords readers workouts to assist them understand these values, and offers firm leaders a framework to faucet into these assessments and create a piece atmosphere mutually useful to its folks as a lot as income.

For Lim, the subject is additionally private. She co-founded Delivering Happiness with the late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh following the success of his e-book of the identical identify, which covers his enterprise philosophy of constructing significant relationships with the client and, in the end, with workers.

Five weeks earlier than her e-book draft was resulting from her editor, Lim discovered Hsieh died unexpectedly. His larger-than-life persona gave strategy to tales of a person struggling together with his psychological well being in recent times.  His demise despatched Lim to a depth of grief that many on this planet have been grappling with in their very own manner in the course of the pandemic.

Here Lim, 47, shares with CNBC Make It her tackle how individuals are re-evaluating work within the Covid period, what the brand new future of labor seems like, and what she's discovered about channeling grief into her work as a happiness expert.

CNBC Make It: The U.S. has seen document waves of individuals quitting their jobs in 2021. Is this an excellent factor or a nasty factor?

Jenn Lim: I really see this as a great factor.

What individuals are calling the Great Resignation, I'm additionally saying there's a Great Awakening right here.

Around 11 million folks stop their jobs over three months beginning in April 2021. Many of those folks didn't even have one other job to go to. We had a lot time once we have been in Zoomland the place we needed to suppose, "Wait, why am I waking up and doing this again?"

Plenty of us essentially mentioned to ourselves, "I'm not going to take this or continue this job because I don't have enough flexibility, or because I want to take care of the people I love, whether that's kids or families or aging parents. It's balancing things out in a way so it's not just C-suite level leaders or boardrooms dictating what needs to happen in someone's life or for the economy.

I see it as actually balancing the scales to be more equal where people are standing up for themselves and saying, "This is what's most essential to me, and subsequently, I’ll say no to what's not." That's amazing.

How has the pandemic changed the future of work?

Before Covid, everyone had these grand concepts of the future of work around AI, automation, remote work. Then all of a sudden, the pandemic catalyzed us to this place where it's not the future anymore, the future of work is here, and we're living it.

I believe the future work is human. There are certain things that will take the place of what we do. But let's not forget the fact that technology is and should be our friend. It's coming from humans.

We've seen the bad sides of technology, but we've also seen the good sides. As long as we make good decisions of what jobs we take, how we run our companies, how we manage our teams, if we keep that in check, the future of work can be about technology but rooted in the core of who we are as human beings.

In the next year or two, I think it'll be really clear that our human needs must be on the same plane as our technological needs. And the more that we can tap into that, the more successful our organizations and teams will be.

You've said businesses have the responsibility to repair some of the structural challenges fueled by capitalism: wealth inequality, racism, climate change. Do you see progress here?

Some businesses will take this on as, "Oh no, we are able to't change the profit-driven constructions of how we received profitable within the first place."

But I think there are other businesses that have a bigger vision of where we are going from a macro-level as a human race. Those leaders are actually taking this time to reflect within themselves: "What is it I'm actually right here for? When the impacts of local weather change hit the fan, are we going to be sitting round a campfire saying, 'I'm actually glad our inventory worth went up that 12 months?' Is that what's actually most essential?"

So what I think is pretty awesome and promising is seeing leaders like Satya Nadella of Microsoft, or leaders at Starbucks, and other people in front of my eyes realizing, "Wait, we've been profit-driven for therefore lengthy and we haven't been revisiting what it means to reside the mission on our wall or the aim assertion we had." Witnessing that in 2020 and beyond gave me a sense of strength that leaders are seeing if they don't connect profits to what it means for the experience of people or what it means for our planet, that it's not going to be sustainable.

These companies are seeing that the future of work is happening through our people. And they're putting money where their mouth is. So that's promising.

You write about Hsieh in several sections of book, addressing how personal trauma can inform people's values and what they bring to their work. How has your grief process changed how you approach purpose and work?

As I was processing his passing, I was also processing: How am I going to finish this book? It really made me dig deep and reflect on, not just Tony's passing, but everything we've been doing as an organization. Did I still believe all these things?

I came out of that knowing everything we've been doing and talking about — what scientific happiness is and how we can ground ourselves with a sense of purpose — still held true.

There's a Rumi quote that I love, that [translates to] "the treatment for ache is within the ache." I take it as, you by no means actually know your highs or happiness till you realize your lows. The sequence of occasions, from the pandemic to Tony's passing, actually thrust me to a spot the place I actually needed to perceive my lows, and perceive the lows of everybody round me in an empathetic manner.

It was a reminder that it's not simply our highs in life that we be taught from, it's additionally our lows. The manner we consider happiness being such a common time period, on the similar time, this loss and grief everybody experiences is additionally a really common time period that is not embraced and explored sufficient.

This interview has been edited for size and readability.

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