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Nov 2018

The magic behind learning and business impact? It's a happiness recipe

Blog posts

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Kineo had the pleasure of experiencing the inspirational opening keynote at the L&D Innovation & Tech Fest in Sydney, which was a fantastic opportunity to be across hot industry topics and experts. 

Here’s our synopsis from the happiness guy, along with other key takeaways from the conference.  
Alexander Kjerulf, Chief Happiness Officer at Woohoo inc. provided the audience with a bunch of great takeaways with the resounding message around simplicity when it comes to leading your organisation with happiness.

Organisations try to buy happiness with gadgets, infrastructure, food and other perks, however, none of these create happiness in the workplace. These perks have the capacity to make us satisfied, yet not happy.

Happiness at work is not job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is what you think about your job.

Job happiness is how you feel about your job.

Alexander believes the only two things that create happiness at work are;

  1. Results (the sense of progressing or completing meaningful projects, tasks etc) 
  2. Healthy personal relationships with co-workers

When happiness in the workplace is approached correctly, there will be more natural productivity, more care factor and more profit.

Alexander refers to published title from Harvard Business Review Press, The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. This book highlights that the best leaders build a nucleus of employees who have satisfying inner work lives: consistently positive emotions; strong motivation and favourable perceptions of the organisation, their work, and their colleagues.
Authors Amabile and Kramer explain how you can foster a progressive culture and enhance your employees inner work life every day whilst in the process boosting long-term creative productivity. 

“Even a small win can make all the difference in how people feel and perform”

What can you do to increase happiness in your workplace? 

Inclusivity is the key.  Everybody has the same organisation wide goal and that’s to make a positive impact in its ongoing success.  With this, suggestions made include; 

o    Promote and train leaders for happiness
o    Hire happy people
o    Be happy yourself and show it
o    Celebrate success
o    Celebrate mistakes

The resounding number one factor in making workplaces happier is great leadership as bad management results in fear, stress, worsened health and low motivation.  Leader should recognise and praise the great efforts of your staff.

Bill Boorman, HR, business growth expert and international industry circuit presenter, interviewed Alexander at the L&D Innovation & Tech Fest and this short Vox Pop illustrates how this ethos is common sense and beneficial for all concerned.  A happy attitude perpetuates positivity for everyone both at work and in their personal lives 

“The leader of the future is awesome at building relationships”

Alexander pointedly remarks that you shouldn’t lead people if you don’t like people.
Dom Price of Atlassian presented a refreshingly simple and honest approach to being ready for the workforce of tomorrow.  The best way to way to predict the future is to create it. 
His zero tolerance on corporate stuffiness, preferring a straight-talking style resonated.  We know that AI is everywhere. The audience erupted at AI fails when he used the popular example of AI’s inability to recognise a piece of fried chicken from a Labradoodle.

Interesting people (not employee!) statistics were drawn -  how 78% don’t trust their team mates, with 59% of those stating it’s due to poor communication and 29% a lack of accountability.
How can we all become ready for the future of work?  Unlearn, bring action, adapt and be agile. 
He advocates empowering great teams with the agility to operate autonomously, to encourage cross functional teams, manage energy and focus on tangible outcomes. 
Current heroes are teams, not leaders.

Nestle’s Vanessa Blewitt discussed the learning technology that moves with the agile, volatile and mobile nature of work along with the metrics you need to demonstrate the impact of L&D investment on business outcomes. 


Moving away from happy sheets of yesteryear with learning, Vanessa impresses that we need to ask; “what’s the point of it?” It’s for people to do things differently.  Start with, “do they use it?” If not, then don’t bother. 
Establish what results are you looking for and make your people part of driving those results. The learner is part of the business. How is their learning program going to help progress their career and achieve objectives in their day to day role?  

Where are we in developing a modern effective learning culture?  Vanessa believes it’s a sloth-like moving change.  We are moving from simply serving it up and now mobilising gradually, creating context and focusing on the how.  

She states that if we are not getting to our people at the right time even great learning content is a waste.  How it aligns with what we need to achieve is key. 
Analytics helps us move from gut feel data insights into informing decisions and actions, moving the conversation along from what was spent to what was spent well.
Vanessa impresses that we should stay at the pace of the organisation.  In her Vox Pop, also interviewed by Bill Boorman, Vanessa touches on how to move at the speed of the organisation and get insights about the trends to respond to the organisation in a much smarter, targeted way.  
Insight breeds appetite – people don’t know what they don’t know. 

Approach learning evaluation with these 4 simple questions;

  1. Did they choose it?
  2. Did they like it?
  3. Did they apply it?
  4. Did it add value?

In general, a lot of companies including the likes of Telstra, AGL and Bupa have moved from a waterfall (traditional) to agile process.  This has created more horizontal (or flat structure) companies with better communication and business outcomes.

Want to stay ahead of this rapidly evolving learning landscape?  Ensure you sign up to Kineo insights for respectful wholesome on the pulse enlightenment. 

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Since the year immemorial Sally has exercised an avid passion for creativity with words, images and Pilates.  She is most content in the workplace when crafting enticing messages that inspire and engage.