This is what makes employees happy at work | The Way We Work, a TED series

We survey CEOs, police officers,
truck drivers, cooks, engineers. If people are working,
we’ve surveyed them. And what we know,
in terms of their happiness: workers all want the same things. [The Way We Work] There’s three billion
working people in the world. And about 40 percent of them would say
they’re happy at work. That means about 1.8 billion,
or almost two billion people, are not happy at work. What does that do, both to those people
and the organizations that they work in? Well, let’s talk about money. Organizations that have
a lot of happy employees have three times the revenue growth, compared to organizations
where that’s not true. They outperform the stock market
by a factor of three. And if you look at employee turnover, it’s half that of organizations
that have a lot of unhappy employees. The miracle thing is, you don’t have to spend
more money to make this happen. It’s not about ping-pong tables
and massages and pet walking. It’s not about the perks. It’s all about how
they’re treated by their leaders and by the people that they work with. So I’d like to share a few ideas
that create happy employees. Idea number one: in organizations
where employees are happy, what you find is two things are present: trust and respect. Leaders often say, “We trust our employees. We empower our employees.” And then when an employee
needs a laptop — and this is a true example — 15 people have to approve that laptop. So for the employee,
all the words are right, but 15 levels of approval
for a $1,500 laptop? You’ve actually spent more money
than the laptop, on the approval. And the employee feels
maybe they’re really not trusted. So what can an organization do
to have a high level of trust? The first organization
that comes to mind is Four Seasons. They have magnificent properties
all around the world. And their employees are told, “Do whatever you think is right
when servicing the customer.” To hand that trust to your employees
to do whatever they think is right makes the employees feel great. And this is why they’re known
for delivering some of the best service in the world. Idea number two: fairness. The thing that erodes trust
in an organization faster than anything else is when employees feel
that they’re being treated unfairly. Employees want to be treated the same, regardless of their rank
or their tenure or their age or their experience or their job category, compared to anyone else. When I think about great organizations
who get fairness right, the first organization
that comes to mind is Salesforce. They found that men and women
working in the same job with the same level of proficiency were making different amounts of money. So immediately, they
calculated the difference, and they invested three million dollars
to try and balance things out. Idea number three is listening. So, to be a listener who connects
with all types of people, we have to unlearn a few things. We’ve all been taught about
active listening and eye contact — an intense stare and a compassionate look. That’s not listening. Repeating what the person says —
that’s not listening. Being humble and always hunting and searching
for the best idea possible — that’s what listening is. And employees can feel
whether you’re doing that or not. They want to know, when they talk to you
and share an idea, did you consider it
when you made a decision? The one thing that everybody appreciates
and wants when they’re speaking is to know that what they say
matters so much you might actually change your mind. Otherwise, what’s the point
of the conversation? We all know the things we need to change, the things that we need to do differently. The way you behave,
the way you treat others, the way you respond, the way you support, defines the work experience
for everyone around you. Changing to be a better person — the world is littered with those failures. But changing because
there’s something you believe in, some purpose that you have, where you’re willing to risk
almost everything because it’s so important to you — that’s the reason to change. If it’s not, you should probably
find a different place to work.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


  • Spongebob SquarePants says:


  • Dave C says:

    No the MOST comments I've ever seen

  • blinkafrootable says:

    why isn't this video appearing in our sub boxes :/

  • Bilal Faranov says:


  • Val K says:

    1. Trust

    It works in theory. But what if said employee does not have the best interests of the organization in mind? Do you still empower them to do whatever they feel is right?

    2. Fairness

    Again, much easier said than done. Organizations would of course want to reward better employees with higher financial compensation; it does not make sense to pay everyone exactly the same. But how do you measure who is "better"? Unless the person in charge is omnipresent, the only way you can measure it is by setting KPIs and whatnot – and we know that humans have a propensity to cheat the system whenever they can, so ultimately no KPI is going to be perfect at determining who is better, it really boils down to something quite fuzzy

    3. Listening

    This I can almost agree wholeheartedly with. Except when you hear the same "new idea" for the 10th time from the 10th new hire, and have to explain for the 10th time why the idea failed when it was implemented years back – it's really not a very new idea

  • AGustOfQuietWind A says:

    ping-pong table/massages/pet walking/perks , i like all of the four items . hahaha

  • Genius by Design says:

    NO FUKKEN WAY 40% are happy !!!

  • Genius by Design says:

    Maybe do NOT lie or cheat your slaves ?

  • Genius by Design says:

    exploiters will NEVER balance inequality !!! That is HOW they BLUD SUX !!!

  • Genius by Design says:

    Exploiters slave U as hard as they can, compensate U as LOW as they can & get rid of U as FAST as they can !!!

  • Jeremy Thomas says:

    This video is at least better than a bunch of other videos that only complain about how bad some capitalists are while at the same time don't want to be poor or find another job.

  • Astrid van de Graaf says:

    Good content, amazing animations!

  • Jane Bacon says:

    He's beautiful

  • Danilo Bucker says:


  • Александр Шуликов says:

    great video! Currently one of the best from the whole series

  • Miss teacher Analice says:

    Lack of fairness was the reason why I left my former job and because of that I could have my own company!
    I'm so proud of myself for truly believing that it was possible 🙆

  • william louie says:

    We work because we need to eat. Else we will enjoy ourselves at the beach.

  • Hickam's Dictum says:

    This is spot on! Excellent!

  • Apit John Ismail says:

    i’m trying to implement this, together with warren buffet management style and remotely

  • Edd VCR says:

    I watched this video to understand why I am so miserable at work, along with so many people working there.

    The company hires the most talented people in their fields, just to never trust any of their skills and professional advice.

    My team’s boss has created a clique within the team and is openly unfriendly / hostile to the teammates outside of the clique.

    Explains everything. It’s time for me to abandon ship.

  • Mikail Imthiyaz says:

    the job of a leader is not to answer questions, but to ask them

  • Suprafill Supra says:

    This guy has got it so right. This reminds me of 7 Habits of highly effective people.

  • manifest 73 says:

    Some employees are only there for a pay check, they don't take pride in what they do or make. Some are really lazy and they get away with murder.

  • Lucifans Odin says:

    Employees are brain dead people

  • Melanie Andrews says:

    Spot on! All of it!

  • oogdiver says:

    The problem is that the bottom line for shareholders is not the primary concern of anyone below boardroom level.
    Creating a company that out performs the market is of zero concern to all the layers of middle management who couldn’t give a small damp fart if Scott in packing feels rewarded or empowered or Daddy Warbucks make an extra $100k in dividend this year. They are concerned about their salary only and getting Scott to work twice as hard year on year, for a 5% increase is what makes them a 6% increase for precisely no additional sweat. All they have to do is make Scott’s working life more and more miserable.
    The really noticeable thing about all these people who come up with high ideals about corporate employment is that they are obviously NOT corporate employees.

  • Frank Fahrenheit says:

    Many happy empoyees work in successful companies.
    (1)Does this mean that the success stems from the happiness?
    (2)Or does happiness stems from the success?

    I opt for (2). Working for a successful company means:
    – less pressure
    – less overtime
    – more time for experiments

    Less pressure, less overtime and more time for experiments may be reasons for
    even more success for the company and more happyness for the employees.

  • Conan Penawin says:


  • dsthorp says:

    Thank you. Excellent points.

  • Chris D says:

    The only time I am happy at work is the 5 min walk to my car…

  • Geenz L says:

    I need to anonymously send this clip to all of management at my office 🤔😂

  • Quetzal Bird says:

    Happiness is a state of mind. Find the people with the a happy state of mind and they will create a great company/workplace.

  • TheLuber LM says:

    I'm trying to learn English with videos. I'm spanish and if you want to start a conversation. Tell me pls

  • Jesus Christ says:

    Except for the trust, you could also get these things by forming a union.

  • Ebru Okatan says:

    55 dislikes came from bad employers..

    (2019/03/27; Have to prepare myself for an exam today, but I am watching videos on YouTube…)

  • Miss Amazon says:

    There should be a national Workplace Constitution that says all this stuff & it should become the norm!! 😀😁😉

  • Mike Burton says:

    But how do you get this message to your boss and your bosses boss?

  • Hans Weissman says:

    Best clip I have seen so far on the topic of "happiness at work". Support the 4 ideas completely. Have seen so many failures in a number of top-10 Fortune 500 companies, makes this video really relevant.
    Unfortunately, company culture change requires leadership. Can't rely on anyone who only stays for couple years……

  • Dr Downtime says:

    If you want to understand this properly read The big 5 for life and read the golden circle theory from Simon sinek

  • Lee Charles Prochazka says:

    TED thinks pedophilia is an idea worth spreading. Doubt me? Look it up


    On point 🙂

  • 洪秉澤 says:


  • Narendra Reddy says:

    Cool … talks…may not exist in reality…only … frustrated employees existed…😞

  • WATCH THIS says:

    I want to see Ted x talk comments myth of virginity

  • shadowdance4666 says:

    1. Trust and respect
    2. Fairness
    3. Listening
    4. Changing for positive results

  • kat tastic says:

    Fairness is often lacking. At my current place of employment its all about who you know and are related to.

  • Futures says:

    I bet many of the people saying they are happy doing some repetitive job have just got stuck in their own self delusion from years of accepting the unacceptable – unless of course those same people are working say no more than 15 hours a week, get paid well or have really interesting creative roles – highly unlikely though

  • Ivica Jaranovic says:

    Reason why I go to work is MONEY. So if company pay me good I will continue coming back! Happy I will be after work!

  • Ebony Joseph says:


  • Golivewiththis says:

    Good, free coffee. It’s true. Look it up.

  • Kee-pyor Myndopen says:

    Great talk!

    Any sources of studies?

    Thank you

  • Ranger099 says:

    Could have been a great video except idea #2: fairness. You said people want to be treated the SAME. FAIRNESS is treating people fairly not equally. If a great employee asks to work from home you say YES while at the same time saying NO to employees with performance issues. FAIR does not mean the SAME. Try again.

  • Fabio says:

    Culture is not a science. As people are not metric.

    With the right culture in a workplace anything is possible.

    It will promote your people to govern themselves as if there are no rules. It will encourage them to all pull in the same direction even though their opinions may differ. It will create a workplace that promotes supporting each other as a community to take ownership of the brand they’ve come to represent as work.

    The power of workplace culture is exponential when right and destructive when not.

    So how do leaders ensure their company culture is right and unified across departments with different styles of leadership? How do they ensure a unified brand culture thrives across multiple offices in locations where native cultures may vary, or simply in the same office where people, being human will all be different.

    Great leaders embrace the differences of their people with a unified culture that empowers them to thrive, their way, guided and encouraged by the values of a brand.

    Sounds easy, then why are so many people not thriving at work?

    Welcome to the reason why CULTCHA was born by three very different minds with a unified mission to improve the working lives of employees worldwide for the better.

  • Kirstine Termansen says:

    They levels,,, robo,,, moddd,,,,

  • Michael Bates says:

    Wow, my employer fails at all these.

  • S says:

    yes yes yes! How employees are treated is so important! I personally think trust and respect are the most vital aspects of having a good relationship with each other. Loving this series. can't wait for more!

  • Elvin Mateo says:

    Awesome 4 minutes lol i hate when i have to go through a 20 min video just to get a 1 minute answer to my question lol

  • Matt gaming says:

    If the greed wasnt so indulged in. Employees would last longer. Work harder like the day the came in. And outlast your expectations. Take care.of them. Too much micro managing thinking you save$ when trust still matters to most respectable people out there.
    But who am I

  • Big Mo says:

    Close friend of mine owns a small sign shop with only a handful of employees. He said something one day that engraved itself into my mind. He said, “I don’t expect my employees to treat and respect our customers any better than I treat and respect them….”.

  • Giuliana Fritz says:

    los subtitulos estan mal se pueden arreglar? van desfasados

  • Ainsley Wallis says:

    This talk is trying to make people more conscious and aware. We have failed as a society to teach this in schools and so now we are failing these basic understandings of being conscious.

  • ramazanaydos says:

    alt yazı aşırı geriden geliyor. şu çevirmenin adı neden 3 milyon saat orada kalıyor ya, alıcaksın onu bölümün sonuna koyacaksın bu kadar basit. 2 saat çevirmenin adına bakıyorum sonra yazılar geriden geliyor beynim bulandı ya rezalet. her videoda aynı şey. editörü kovun işten.

  • Tracy L says:

    Totally agree. I’m lucky to have wonderful bosses and staff.

  • Saul Rosenberg says:

    Salesforce spent three million dollars to get ‘equality’ for women’s salary up to par with men ? Lol looks like the men didn’t get ‘fair’ treatment and I’ll betcha soon afterward your number 1 on the list was a wee bit eroded with them.
    No wonder people bash TED talks as liberal gobbledygook.

  • George Williams says:

    Wow! Spot on!

  • HiCarloss says:

    I love my jobs.

  • Ary de Oliveira says:


  • Pat X says:

    for me this dont work , first im not in love with money anymore , i do a lot less than before but im having more free time for myself and what make me happy at my actual work is this : again it s time , time pass by very quickly when im at work , even if a boss is mad , or a unhappy coworker cant shut is mouth…..as long as i dont feel that day was a 20 hours workday while it was actualy 8 hours . I would say that now i feel like i work only a 4/5 hour in my day when it s 9h ^^

  • Best Employee Surveys says:

    Smart, actionable, and to the point. Love this!

  • Eugene Lee says:

    Exactly. I don’t need no ping pong table. Trust is what I need

  • Sae Wings says:

    I got trust, fairness, listening, and our company is willing to change in many ways

    But sadly the industry I'm now in, is a shrinking field. So we get extremely high workload but we make no profit. Still people won't leave here yet, we somehow can sense that this company won't last long….hmmm

  • Kevin says:

    This movie starts off by saying there's only three billion people in the world. Not a really good indicator that they've been doing some serious research. Just saying, that was his opening statement is that he's a research guy.

  • Abdul newman says:

    1. Trust and respect
    2. Fairness

    3. Listening

    4. Changing for positive 1. Trust and respect

    this is all what we need.

  • mama says:

    Employees are slaves

  • Bharti Chandra says:

    What should we do when the new employees are not performing , however expect every advantage and full payments , because the organization had committed to it (during joining ) but are not ready to perform what they had committed ….

  • UGenius StaFa says:

    Holy crap, that change of camera angle (3:05) made me look at his head twice. Anyways, those are some great advice he shared in the video.

  • Jim 762 says:

    Again, this is all common sense.
    You can't teach common sense …

  • C S says:

    If I fail, if I succeed at least I’ll live as I believe. No matter what they take away from me, they’ll never take away my dignity.

  • kelly mcclure says:

    When you say balance, and you speak about pay. That's when I call bullshit. I think is a person does good work they should get paid based on that. But so bring the female thing in is crap. I worked at a few place that had mostly females work in working, when pay increases came everyone got the same. Which was total crap. Because not all the females or males did the same or put the same effort or pride in the work they did, a lot just created more work for others, and some did nothing but sit on the phone, online most of the shift. That was in regards to both men a women. So if you did this in regards to one country and not the whole world this would be different, because every country is different. So you're studying was a waist of time and money. You can't put people in the whole world on the same level. Redo this, and take it country by country, not meshing everything together.

  • Lol says:

    You aren't telling the whole Salesforce story. "We've completed our fourth companywide equal pay assessment, which found that 5% of our 35,000 employees globally required adjustments. Of those who required adjustments, 39% were women, 54% were men, and 7% were due to race and ethnicity. As a result, the company spent $1.6 million to make those adjustments."

  • BK says:

    That amazing company helps you to automate new employee onboarding process in inspiring way! You may easily build your own onboarding academy.Just copy and open CASE .XCOURSE .XYZ

  • Evolution Tracks says:

    test com 1
    test com 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *