Employee wellbeing and stakeholder ranking

Emotional culture

At Vail Resorts, customer service staff aren’t given scripts. The ski resort company simply tells everyone to “go out there and have fun”. Every year, there’s a Have Fun award that goes to the member of staff responsible for the best initiative promoting fun at work. To keep staff pepped up and smiling, Vail offers off-the-job perks as well, like adventure trips and first access to the ski slopes (it’s called “first tracks”).

For some cultures (think most of Northern Europe), such strategies might sound toe-curling. But the fault is on them. Companies’ emotional culture is, the authors argue, as important for success as its cognitive culture: i.e. the shared values, norms, and assumptions by which an organisation is guided. Employees’ commitment, creativity, decision making, performance and retention rates are all directly linked to how emotionally in tune fellow workers are. The paper cites the example of firefighters, who prize playing pranks with one another. Yet, unexpectedly for a male-dominated profession, “companionate love” also features strongly. So words of encouragement when fellow firefighters are struggling after a tough job, say, or a bear hug for someone who was choked up over a personal issue. Joviality...

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