Tomorrow is International Happiness Day, a day introduced by the United Nations to increase public awareness of the importance of happiness.
To mark this occasion, I’d like to share the story of how we at MCI are supporting our talents in their quest for happiness by offering a platform that helps them identify their dreams and make action plans to reach them.
Why should a company help their talents find happiness?
From nutrition advice and exercise programmes to community projects and comprehensive professional development training, our company culture and talent management strategies have always focused on promoting well-being and encouraging individual growth with accountability.
Increasing employees’ overall happiness should be a priority for any company, as all good management teams know that happy teams means high performance and happy clients. On an individual level, as we all spend so much of our time at work, it’s vital that it makes us happy.
Happiness, however, has very different meanings for different individuals. For a growing company of our size and geographical reach – over 1,800 talents in over 31 countries power the MCI engine – it was becoming challenging to create global initiatives and build a culture which engages and provides meaningful benefits for all our teams.
MCI Dream Day
In 2011, I read Matthew Kelly’s The Dream Manager, a management fable in which a company achieves unprecedented business results and builds powerful client relationships when it helps its employees achieve their dreams.
Inspired by this story, I decided to introduce a voluntary day where MCI talents could focus on their individual dreams, giving them the time and space to reflect upon these dreams and build action plans to achieve them.
In 2012, dream managers were identified in many offices around the world, and from then on, every year on July 1st – the anniversary of MCI, which was established on this date in 1987 – we set aside a special day for dreaming: MCI Dream Day.
Today, Dream Day is a key date in all our 60 local offices. Supported by MCI’s Global Dream Managers (Erica Fawer and Christine Do Phan), each office is inspired by a global theme but empowered to design its own Dream Day.
A Dream Day usually includes dedicated sessions for new dreamers to identify and prioritise their dreams and create focused action plans, and for existing dreamers to reflect on their progress and realign their action plans. For those who want it, we also provide real accountability – including the opportunity to meet with dream managers throughout the year to assess progress. Ultimately, of course, each individual is responsible for achieving their own dreams.
What’s your dream?
Last year, our talents collectively spent 13,200 hours developing their dreams, while 128 talents shared their dreams and progress throughout the year on our MCI Dreamers Facebook community.
Just some of the dreams achieved by MCI talents in 2014 include completing a gruelling 100km bike ride, getting healthy and losing 50kg, integrating sustainable living into everyday life, having a second child or successfully saving for a child’s education.
Here at MCI, we’re passionate about integrating work and life into one big adventure. From a self-fulfillment point of view, I find that nothing is as rewarding as achieving inspiring results. As Mike Horn, a Swiss-South African adventurer, recently shared; “Happiness: if it does not find you, go find it!”
Let’s make this post a Call to Action: believe in the power of your dreams and the power of action, and build a company culture that supports professional and personal development…wait…it’s the same thing!
So, what’s your dream?
And what are you going to do to make it happen?
 A number of studies (including Happiness and Productivity by Andrew J. Oswald, Eugenio Proto and Daniel Sgroi from the University of Warwick) have clearly proved the link between happiness and increased productivity, creativity and performance.
Image: MCI Geneva talents sharing their ‘dream boards’ during Dream Day 2014