Strengthening Our Values Through the Joy Fund

Talia Escandar / 14th July 2016 / Comment / Culture


Our Culture of Joy

Values without action are just nice words. And while many companies write down their values and mission to make them feel official—and most have the sincerest intentions to live by them—values require a level of conscious maintenance and development that most companies won’t prioritize.

At Wheelhouse, our core values are so much more than a list of things we share with new hires or a slide we throw into a presentation to impress potential clients. We proactively work to promote helpfulness, generosity, trust, stewardship, and joy within all of our business relationships, as well as within our team. We discuss our values regularly, especially the value of joy.

The Importance of Joy in a Workplace

Studies show that happy employees are more productive, have higher quality output, lower turnover, better relationships with clients, better personal relationships, and the list goes on. Research also suggests that we are biologically wired to respond positively to being generous. Altruism can even increase oxytocin and serotonin levels (which increase feelings of euphoria, connection, and empathy). So, giving makes us feel happy and is good for our health.

And because culture is our strategy at Wheelhouse, we promote joy (and giving) within our team in a number of ways – including the Wheelhouse Joy Fund.

What is the Joy Fund?

The Joy Fund is a new Wheelhouse tradition. Each team member is offered a monthly stipend (which we’ve dubbed “Happy Bucks”), solely for the purpose of creating joy for others. Team members have the opportunity to pool funds, or spend Happy Bucks individually (and even anonymously if desired). Pre-planned or spontaneous, team members are encouraged to spend their Joy Fund every month.

Our goals for the Joy Fund are three-fold:

  1. Create (unexpected and meaningful) joy for others
  2. Practice habitual giving and generosity
  3. Express appreciation and gratitude for our peers

Joy We’ve Funded So Far

Sijoyfund2nce we established the Joy Fund earlier this year, we’ve contributed over $3,000 towards joy for others. Some of the highlights include:

  • A hammock for the office (pictured)
  • Tickets to the Seattle Symphony
  • House cleaning services
  • Mariners tickets
  • Birthday treats and party decorations
  • Appreciation and work anniversary gifts
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Welcome gifts for new hires (including a book about cycling in Seattle, and number of potted plants which we struggle to keep alive)

On the surface, we’re enhancing our office environment, showing gratitude, and having fun. On a deeper level, we are strengthening our relationships and becoming more fulfilled, more generous members of the community.

And, hey, it seems to be working 🙂

How Do You Promote Workplace Values? 

Wheelhouse wants to know! We love connecting with like-minded businesses and organizations to share tips and tricks about fostering a joyful, values-based workplace. Leave us a comment below, or tweet us @WheelhouseDMG.

By Talia Escandar