Thursday, January 09, 2014

Unhappy About Feeling Happy

In the Employee Retention field we like to think that if we do everything right -- identify irritations and systematically work to reduce them -- that our employees are all going to be happy. And it works well for the most part. But did you know that there is such a thing as a fear of happiness?

In a recent article in Scientific American Mind  researchers explain that for some people, happiness can create feelings of deep discomfort.  Here are some of the reasons why people might feel unhappy about feeling happy:
  • Feeling unworthy
  • Believing that good fortune means something bad is bound to happen
  • Guilt that they must not be striving hard enough
  • Underlying depression
  • Discomfort if they are not always worrying
This is considered a potential clinical problem as the article states, " an aversion to positive emotions often coexists with mental disorders."

Are you  afraid of happiness?  The article includes a simple quiz you can take to find out. The quiz has 9 questions rated on a scale of 0 - 4.  Here are a few of the questions:
  1. I am frightened to let myself become too happy
  2. I don't let myself get to excited about positive things or achievements.
  3. My good feelings never last.
To take the quiz and see your results, click HERE.

So while it's true that some people will never be happy and some people will fear their happiness, it's still an important part of Human Resources to create an environment where employee can feel self actualized, happy and engaged.

Monday, January 06, 2014

15 Traits that Define Entrepreneurial Companies...and How to Invest in Them

Professor Joel Shulman of Babson College has sussed out the 15 traits that define an entrepreneurial company compared with a non-entrepreneurial company...and he's betting on them in a big way.

 15 Attributes That Define Entrepreneurial From Non-Entrepreneurial Companies

1. Organic growth opportunities
2. Above average ownership stake among key stakeholders
3. Low SG&A
4. Above average return on invested capital
5. Sustainable growth
6. Manageable debt
7. Active strategic alliances/partnerships/licensing
8. Aligned executive compensation packages
9. Low executive turnover
10. Transparent governance
11. Long duration of key managers
12. Low or no dividends
13. Family involvement
14. High EBITDA Margin %
15. Other significant stakeholder relationship


Professor Shulman, also the Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of EntrepreneurShares LLC, is so certain of these qualities that he has started a fund (ticker IMPAX) that screens a database of more than 30,000 companies and invests based on these traits. 

That's putting your money with your mouth is!

The only one of Professor Shulman's traits that I would adapt would be expanding #9 from "Low executive turnover" to "Low Employee Turnover."   It's not just executive employee retention that matters.

And if you are looking for employee turnover rates (benchmarks) by industry and geography, be sure to see Nobscot's new app - Employee Turnover Tracker.  It's available for both Android and iPhone devices at a special introductory rate of $1.99.