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Urban Systems’ happiness advantage gets a ‘natural’ boost

RonnyRevillard_NewSiteThumbRonny Revillard is one of those people who likes to ensure there’s laughter in the workplace, that he’s greeting coworkers as they enter the office and that warm, human connections are happening.

In addition to his influence on his office counterparts, Ronny works to ensure he’s giving back to his local community. He’s involved with the Urban Systems Foundation, for instance, which supports charitable causes both locally and internationally. And he’s always trying to get others to do participate in community contribution efforts, “to feel that joy of giving back,” he says.

Raised in Chile and immigrating to Canada at the age of 18, the civil engineering technologist says he’s not sure if it’s Spanish heritage coming through, but he’s convinced that having a caring personality and trying to “truly connect” with those around him is just as important in the workplace as anywhere else.

“I talk about truly connecting all the time and how much it helps us when we work together, especially because we are a network organization and we are encouraged to collaborate,” Ronny says. For him, truly connecting comes down to forging bonds with coworkers around more than work. It’s people knowing about one another’s families, for example, or pets, favourite foods or allergies.

The notion that a professional or company can have a “happiness advantage” is increasingly accepted. Seventy-five percent of job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by one’s optimism, social support network, and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way, reports Shawn Achor of Good Think Inc. Shawn has researched top performers at Harvard and Fortune 500 companies and says he’s discovered a “happiness advantage for positive outliers – the highest performers at the company.”

The importance of Urban Systems’ happiness quotient rose to the fore when the company spelled out its values more formally a few years ago.

It was agreed that when Urban Systems ceases to be fun, then that’s the day “we should turn out the lights and go our separate ways,” principal Edward Stanford recalls.

What Ronny’s story points to is that building a company’s happiness advantage comes down in large part to making room for people’s strengths and personalities to flourish. Ronny is not consciously trying to strengthen his company’s happiness advantage. He’s just being himself. He’s quick to mention there are others with a similar bent across the company, ensuring fun and warm, human connections are happening.

Urban Systems is deeply committed to enabling team members to actualize their full potential, CEO Martin Bell says. If you can set up your workplace so people can be the best they can be, succeed in their own right, and contribute in ways maybe they couldn’t see themselves — and let people loose — they’ll do great things, Martin says.

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