Before I was gifted the opportunity to come and write content for The Happiness Index (THI) I was working for a busy recruitment agency within a similar role. Working at the agency opened my eyes to the fact that people are very difficult to please and that they (rightfully) always strive for more. It also inducted me into a fast-paced world where people are the focal point of all business.
Working in recruitment was a massive learning curve for me. On a daily basis I would witness other people leaving jobs, changing roles and being hired and fired in an instant. The uncertainty surrounding people’s employment status, and the fragility of their futures often made me very uncomfortable – it also cemented the fact that finding the ‘right job’ for someone involves a lot more than simply meeting their salary requirements:
I witnessed first-hand the lengths that consultants would go to negotiate their candidates’ high salary demands with their potential new employers – only to receive a call from them three months after they’ve been hired saying they aren’t happy and they want a new role elsewhere. At this point it wasn’t rare for there to be a complete U-turn in the candidates’ loyalties after their current employer (much like Don Corleone) made them a counter-offer they couldn’t refuse.
Counter-offers and the events that usually unfold afterwards painted a very clear picture to me – higher salaries don’t always lead to happier employees. This is evidenced by Tony Lee, Publisher of CareerCast.com; “A staggering 80% say that relationships with co-workers deteriorate and productivity falls among employees who agree to stay; 70% add that counteroffers are perceived by employees as a short-term cure for a long-term problem.” This shows that they are not only counter-productive to the employee, but also to the employer.
Why was moving to THI the next logical step for me?
Firstly, there are lots of similarities between the fundamentals of recruitment agencies and people analytics companies – the main one being that they focus the majority of their attention on their main ‘product’ – people. They both actively try to fulfil peoples’ needs, whilst simultaneously providing better working conditions for them. Whether you’re promoting a candidate to a client within recruitment, or analysing detailed insights provided by employees in order to improve their business – people are still at the forefront of what you do, and your business is people.
My role at the agency was largely to write content. Many of the articles I chose to write happened to consist of work-based tips in order to make you happier, healthier or more productive at work – this was my way to combat all of the people leaving work even after their wage demands had been met and they’d reported no other concerns. I noticed that this type of content was always well-received and was also the most fun to write – Little did I know at the time that it was exactly the sort of content that my future employer would have me writing, and would therefore act as a great stepping-stone into a new career!
After a long period of working for a company where I constantly witnessed people looking for new employment, I thought to myself maybe it’s time for me to have a change too. I knew that I wanted to build on the skills I learnt with the agency – but I started developing a strong interest in keeping people engaged at work so they wanted to stay; rather than helping them to find work elsewhere.
I began my arduous search for relevant roles when a company called The Happiness Index was recommended to me by a friend. The company name struck a chord and I immediately checked out their website to browse through the content. It neatly coincided with the content I enjoyed writing most for the agency, and the companies’ values were similar to my own. Naturally I applied and thankfully my application was a success!