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BAM’s Four Policies to Increase Employee Happiness in 2023

BAM's Lessons from Dandapani: Unveiling the Power of Purpose

"When I ask people what they want in life, most people respond with some version of, “'to be happy.'” —Dandapani

Happiness: what does it mean for you? People have different definitions of what happiness looks like. For some, it’s a feeling found traveling or conquering a challenging hike. For others, it’s a feeling of purpose or fulfillment in their daily lives. Sometimes, it’s as simple as tasting our favorite meal or hugging a warm cup of coffee. Yet, one universal assumption is that happiness and the workplace cannot overlap — BAM aims to challenge that.

As part of our 2023 business goals, we introduced a theme of happiness, both individually and collectively as a company. As with every goal, there are clear metrics to measure success. To help us meet this goal, we rolled out four new company-wide initiatives designed to increase employee happiness: money club, coaching peer pods, monthly sessions with a former monk, and a four-day work week.

The why: BAM money club

Your company has a … money club? Yes!

Let’s face it, money is a driving motivator for the people of your organization (a work-love language, if you will). Money is also a common cause of stress for people. Even if we’re fortunate to make a stable income, there’s often a burden or confusion associated with managing our finances. That’s where BAM’s money club comes in. Once a month, our team meets with our resident financial advisor. Covering topics such as preparing tax returns, managing budgets, where to begin investing your money, and more, these discussions help toss the taboo of discussing money. Instead, they offer tools to aid in making informed financial decisions.

The why: coaching peer pods

The benefits of leadership development are ample but often overlooked. Leadership isn’t about power or barking orders. It’s about having tools to coach others on being the best version of themselves. At BAM, this includes folks at the individual level and team levels.

Last year, internal survey results revealed that people management skills, emotional intelligence, and radical candor were areas BAM’s leaders wished to develop further. Where hard skills were ranked high, soft skills were pain points. This year, BAM piloted coaching peer pods, where groups of four to five peer leaders of the same or similar function meet biweekly to discuss challenges, personal goals, and provide diverse perspectives. The hope is that team members find safety amongst their peers and recognize that they are not alone, especially as high-performers.

The why: Dandapani

Hindu priest. Former monk. International speaker. Author. Entrepreneur. Dandapani has an exceptional resume, without a doubt. Even more exceptional? His no-nonsense, anti-woo approach to sharing the core tenets of his teachings from his book, “The Power of Unwavering Focus.”

Dandapani highlights that the mind is the most powerful tool in the world, but we aren’t taught how to use it. As BAM’s resident teacher, team members benefit from monthly learning sessions on how to master the power of focus and strengthen willpower. “Understanding these two things — your mind and how to focus it — will allow you to begin the process of discovering your life’s purpose, and subsequently defining your priorities and focusing on them, enabling you to live a life of purpose and joy.” The byproduct? Happiness.  

The why: BAM’s four-day workweek

The world’s biggest trial of the four-day workweek took place in the U.K. from June to December 2022. The pilot of more than 60 companies was so successful that 92% of participating companies continued the four-day model. The benefit? Everyone won. The organizations’ revenue rose 35% on average compared to previous years, while resignations and absenteeism declined. Employees reported increased well-being, work-life balance, and overall happiness. 

With happiness being the theme of BAM’s 2023 goals, it was a no-brainer to pilot a four-day workweek. In 2022 we introduced free Fridays and meeting-free Wednesdays, which gave our team formal opportunities for adding flexibility to their work. Starting in April 2023, we’re trialing an official four-day workweek. We want to acknowledge that our team members are individuals, and so we want to provide them the freedom to do what works best for them, which benefits our clients and team members alike. While operating under a four-day week, we aren’t limiting team members to work how they want. For some, it means working a strict four-day workweek. For others, it means spending time on Friday morning answering emails or sending pitches before going along with the rest of their day.

Jill Veglahn, BAM's Head of People, has followed the four-day workweek schedule for a while. “Time is one of our most precious currencies. Having been the first to pilot the 4-day work week at BAM, I can attest to the immediate sense of freedom and overwhelming gratitude I felt. Never in my career have I had this kind of flexibility, trust, or autonomy. To be given time back to me by BAM brought a deep sense of appreciation and desire to make the most of this incredible privilege. Without a doubt, the shift to a four-day workweek significantly increased my level of happiness in my personal life and appreciation for BAM. I’m hopeful this shift will have the same effect on our entire organization."

Culture is at the heart of organizations

While work culture influences our behaviors, goals, and attitudes, a sense of humanity is often left out of the equation. The youngest generation of workers values a sense of purpose at work. Great companies know this and aim to treat team members not just as employees but as human beings. The best companies will adopt the necessary practices to help their team members flourish at personal and professional levels, demystifying happiness in the workplace. Changes are not always easy and welcomed with open arms, but crucial in a progressive work model. 

BAM aims to arm team members with tools to define what success and happiness look like for them individually and collectively as a company. “Money, coaching, expert guidance, and flexible schedules might not individually define happiness, but knowing what your money is doing and where it’s going helps your sanity and stability,” explains Beck Bamberger, BAM CEO and founder. “Bringing awareness and focus to the areas in your life you’d like to improve, combined with setting goals and working with a professional to achieve those goals, creates a sense of satisfaction and purpose. Having flexibility in your day gives you freedom. My thesis is that with these implementations, our team’s overall happiness can only improve.” 

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