One Employer Makes Happiness a Requirement on the Job

How’s this for employer satisfaction? Okay, it’s more like employee performance and happiness.

Apparently at the food chain Pret A Manger, an employee set of rules include a few requirements of “Pret behaviors” such as being “enthusiastic,” “genuinely friendly” and “happy to be” themselves.

As first reported in the London Review of Books, the fast food chain enforces behaviors with a “regime of surveillance and assessment.”

Creeped out yet? 

They supposedly send a mystery shopper to each branch to assess each employee’s emotional status and if the report ends up being positive, everyone gets a bonus. This happens 80 percent of the time but if a negative report is submitted, it’s pretty likely the mystery shopper will name names.

Granted, we realize this isn’t a media company and that it’s more customer service oriented than anything else but it’s interesting to note that someone behind the cash register needs to be overly enthusiastic as per the company guidelines. And that they send an insider to take stock of the situation.

Timothy Noah writes in The New Republic:

“Why must the person who sells me a cheddar and tomato sandwich have ‘presence’ and ‘create a sense of fun?’ Why can’t he or she be doing it ‘just for the money?’ I don’t expect the swiping of my credit card to be anybody’s vocation. This is, after all, the economy’s bottommost rung.’

Actually, when we think about it, shouldn’t a company instill its own values by incorporating a sense of happiness, enthusiasm and joy on the job? Just some food for thought.