Happiness is a powerful factor in business success
A view from Rachel Barnes

Happiness is a powerful factor in business success

We can be so concerned about what values we want our business to reflect to the outside world that we forget to really look inwards at individuals.

Cute dogs in the office. Flexible working. Free trips away. Spot bonuses. And ping-pong. Obviously. Just a few ways companies are trying to show their people that they see them as humans, not costs that need controlling.

A few years ago on Marketing, I wrote a column about the serious business of happiness in the workplace. Since then, there are few companies that haven’t woken up to the value payback of a happy and fulfilled workforce (oh yes, there are still some…).

This isn’t fluffy stuff: a great place to work is somewhere people know how much they are valued, according to Proximity London’s Gabrielle Ludzker, speaking after the company was revealed as one of Campaign’s 50 Best Places to Work – a brilliant list, making its 2018 debut in this issue.

Those that made the cut all rated highly for key metrics such as leaders listening to the workforce and giving staff a sense of meaning and purpose in their jobs. But when you look through their profiles, you’ll see that they have something else in common: they all clearly centre their businesses on happy staff.

Run on Campaign’s behalf by an external company, it received a record number of entries for a first year of such a programme. The reason to me is obvious: this industry – or the best parts of it, at least – understands the power and value of the individual. People and culture are not KPIs that can be managed by numbers, says the7stars’ Jenny Biggam, whose agency also made the list.

This is perhaps where some businesses fall short. We can be so concerned about what values we want our business to reflect to the outside world that we forget to really look inwards at individuals.

The spirit, passion, trust and empowerment that you allow each person in your business to live by should translate into that inspiring culture that gives you the edge. Some words put together by the HR department and signed off by several layers of management will always, ahem, fail fast.

This is not our only launch in this month’s issue. I’m immensely proud to unveil Campaign’s Marketing New Thinking Awards for 2018.

These unique awards have significantly grown this year to incorporate more of the brilliant creative work that matters across all the businesses in our industry. And I am thrilled to tell you that the inimitable Aline Santos, executive vice-president of global marketing at Unilever, is to be our chair of the judges.

New Thinking illustrates what is exciting about marketing today, what work is breaking new ground, represents the best creative and strategic thinking, and is elevating marketing as a driving force in business.

And while these awards are about the companies shaping tomorrow’s industry, at Campaign we also have our eye on the past.

We have yet more to announce this month (I know, hard to contain yourselves…). Campaign is turning 50 this year and we are in a party mood. There are so many ways you can get involved in our celebrations, not least by sharing your memories and stories of the amazing people, companies and moments that shaped this industry into the vibrant world it is today.

Will those in our list of 50 great businesses feature in any of the landmark moments of the past five decades? Let’s hope so – it can’t all be about drug busts, hostile takeovers and stratospheric restaurant bills. 

Rachel Barnes is the UK editor of Campaign. 
@rachelmrbarnes