Follow Lorraine's Four Beacons
to Create a Happy Workplace


Multi-Ethnic Group of People in a Meeting Looking Up

How do you create a sustainable Happy Workplace? At its very essence, loyalty is about living up to The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s that simple. The best part is, loyalty is completely under your control in your business.

Loyalty is the ultimate secret weapon that will:

• Make you unstoppable as a business leader;
• Mark your legacy in business history, and;
• Create a powerful family of support - both team members and customers.

Loyal and Happy employees will be more courteous and resourceful with your customers. They’ll dig deeper when a project requires creativity, they’ll be more tolerant in frustrating situations and they’ll demonstrate persistence and determination when the going gets tough.

They’ll cheerfully go the extra mile whether it means staying late to meet a deadline or sharing ideas to make your business better. In essence, loyal employees who know their company is loyal to them will take a bullet for you, figuratively speaking. Contrast this with employees who don’t feel they’re appreciated and are working for someone who doesn’t respect them… they’ll dodge that same bullet.

Losing employees is costly. These losses affect morale, productivity, customer service and teamwork. Companies who experience high turnover know this is true. According to the Center for American Progress, it costs businesses about one-fifth of a worker’s salary to replace that worker. If your business uses placement firms, that cost can skyrocket up to 40 percent of the new hires’ annual first year salary. That’s why successful companies always put time and effort into retention tactics to keep good people in the fold.

After two decades of experience working exclusively in the field of how to build and retain loyalty in business, I find my work consistently revolves around four specific areas which I call Beacons:

  • Hiring and Onboarding Happy People
  • Motivating - Let Them Know You Care
  • Leading - Build a Dedicated Following
  • Creating Ownership - Treat Employees Like Family

As a Business Consultant to companies like Landry’s, State Farm, General Insulation, Methodist Hospital and others, it became frustrating when companies called me in to help them in only one area. My 15 years at Southwest Airlines, growing through the ranks to executive level, taught me these four areas absolutely must work in concert together. Otherwise there’s no synergy. Instead there’s a disconnect which results in none of it working. There are no shortcuts to creating a true Happy Workplace.

You will find many more ideas about how to apply the Four Beacons in my book, “How to Create a Happy Workplace”. This Guidebook contains excerpts from that book. Each page reveals one idea within each of the Four Beacons you can implement to start creating your Happy Workplace today. You can learn more about the work I do at

The First Beacon - Hiring and Onboarding Happy Employees.


The first step in building a culture of loyalty is hiring the right employees. Have you ever hired someone only to realize later they weren’t a good fit for what you needed? During the interview they said all the right things like, “Sure, I’m a hard worker. I’m a team player and a good problem solver, too.” Yet when it came to demonstrating those attributes, they simply didn’t pass muster. They weren’t cut out for what you need.
“How could I have missed that?” you ask yourself. Some people just have a knack for interviewing well. But there are things you can do going forward to improve the effectiveness of your hiring process.

The blueprint for establishing a successful “Happy” hiring program encompasses five important steps based upon “Hire for Attitude”. In this Guidebook we will cover the first:

Identify the Difference Between Attitude and Skill

Ask yourself, “What am I looking for in an employee?” John Johnson, CEO of David Weekley Homes, calls it “Hiring for attitude and values, and training for knowledge.” They look for people who possess a willingness to be part of a team and a desire to delight customers. Alvarez and Marsal Global Professional Services look for the spirit of service and intellectual curiosity in the people they hire. At Southwest Airlines we hired team members for attitude and then trained them for skill. But what does “hire for attitude, train for skill” mean?

When you think about it, can you truly change someone’s attitude? Not really. It’s part of who they are on the inside and a result of many factors including their upbringing and biology. You can’t and shouldn’t have to help people have a positive, can-do attitude. They either have it or they don’t. As Zig Ziglar famously said, “Quit your stinkin’ thinkin’ and do a check-up from the neck up.”

Can you train new team members to develop the skills necessary to do their job the right way? Yes you can. But they have to start out with the right can-do attitude.

Try this exercise with your team.
In your next meeting, ask your employees, “What should we look for when hiring new people around here?” As they call out their answers and suggestions, write them down on a flipchart or a whiteboard. When finished, identify which items are related to skills such as listening, computer savvy or verbal communication, for example. Then identify which are about attitude or mindset such as being a team player, courteous, punctual or hard working. You’ll be surprised how many of the characteristics they believe are important are actually more about the right attitude rather than the right skills. Once you’ve identified them clearly, hire new people to those attitudes.

There are four more steps in Hiring and Onboarding Happy Employees:

 Develop interview questions to help reveal each of your values.
 Create a hiring video with information about your business.
 Put in place a program to welcome the new hire
 Support the new hire for the first six months

These steps are outlined in detail in the book “How to Create a Happy Workplace” available on


The Second Beacon - Motivating - Let Them Know You Care


This is about setting the right atmosphere for increasing employee satisfaction. This beacon includes techniques on simple, cost-effective recognition techniques, the importance of supporting employees during hard times, and how to build fun into the job. The adage, “Take your job seriously, but not yourself seriously” comes to mind.

Here’s a central theme to always bear in mind when looking for new ways to motivate and recognize your team members: People will never complain about getting too much recognition. However, employees will certainly be quick to complain about a lack of it in the workplace.

A Happy Workplace System is comprised of three different types of recognition: Traditional, Spontaneous and Tough Times. The blueprint I use with my clients for creating recognition and a foundation of fun includes five steps. Here is the first.

Step One:  Know What Your Employees Want
Recognition should never be designed as a “program of the day.” It should be an ingrained and ongoing process, etched into the very fiber of the workplace at all levels and on many different occasions. Recognition isn’t a “one size fits all” procedure. Knowing what your employees value before putting together a recognition program for them will mean your well-planned efforts will hit the mark. Take into account you may have different generations working for you. Baby boomers are vastly different from Generation X’ers, which are different again from Millennials. Each will appreciate being recognized differently. By knowing what your employees value and appreciate, you can develop recognition and appreciation programs more meaningful to them.

Try this exercise with your team:

Step One: Ask your employees what they want. You can do this through the use of surveys or focus groups. Utilize these techniques to find out what recognition they want. Ask, “If you were going to be recognized for stellar performance, what would you prefer?” Naturally, one of the suggestions will be more money in their paycheck; however make sure to get other ideas as well.

Step Two: Once you’ve identified what is important to them divide it into three categories:
pontaneous (just in time, caught in the act of doing something good)
*Tough Times (hardships with family, friends or finance)

Step Three: Form a committee of employees representing different workgroups and come up with two initiatives in each category.

There are four more steps in Motivating – Let Them Know You Care:

☐ How to create a spontaneous recognition program.
☐ Provide recognition tools to your leaders.
☐ Help your people during especially tough times.
☐ Build fun into your culture.

These steps are outlined in detail in the book “How to Create a Happy Workplace” available on


The Third Beacon - Leading - Build a Dedicated Following


It lays out a plan to recognize, train, and promote “service leaders.” It covers the importance of trust, empowerment and the critical need to know your employees. It introduces the concept of a leader’s accountability to their employees’ satisfaction.

Happy Workplace Leaders are the essential core of sustaining a loyal workforce that’s highly productive and naturally leads your company to more profits. What distinguishes Happy Workplace Leaders from leaders who don’t project and live the Happy Workplace principles?

It’s their ability to lead their team through empowerment. Using humility, empathy and trust as their core belief, they appreciate and value people, exude altruism and selflessness and are motivated to be effective leaders. They enjoy catching people in the act of doing something great. In today’s business vernacular, they’re known as “service leaders” because they lead by being of service. Their impact elevates the organization as a great place to work, resulting in a profitable, solid business.

Try this exercise with your leaders:

Step One:
In your next meeting ask: “What are the three most important phrases leaders should be comfortable using?” When you’ve gotten their answers, reveal these three core phrases:
“I’m Sorry”
“I made a mistake”
“Please help me”
Step Two:
Ask them to tell the group about a time when they used those phrases in their leadership role. Accountability and humility goes a long way towards ensuring your service leaders motivate their teams.

When promoting and hiring leaders, follow the same process as hiring new employees. Identify the attitudes you want in your service leaders, then interview for them as follows:

Attitude One: Questions to Hire for Humility

 Tell me about a time when you did something impactful and let someone else in the organization take the credit?
 Describe a time you did something that made you feel proud?

Attitude Two: Questions to Hire for Empathy

 Describe a time when you helped out a fellow co-worker that was under stress without being asked?
 When have you given helpful advice to a fellow coworker in need and what happened?

Attitude Three: Questions to Hire for Trust

 Relate a time you disagreed with a directive you were given; yet you went along with it because you trusted the leader?
 When has your trust been violated in the workplace?


There are three more steps in Leading: Build a dedicated following:

 Train your Leaders continuously
 Find a unique way to measure a leader’s performance
 Develop your leadership pipeline

These steps are outlined in detail in the book “How to Create a Happy Workplace” available on



The Fourth Beacon - Creating Ownership - Treat Employees Like Family

It’s a roacurlydmap to help employees feel like Owners of the business. You’ll discover how to create transparent communication, ensure employees know the value of their job, and make certain everyone is working towards that “One Thing.”

Know the “One Thing”
Like Curly, played by Jack Palance in the 1991 movie City Slickers, how many of your employees truly understand the business you’re in and what truly matters? In the movie, cowboy Curly shares with Billy Crystal the secret to life is just one thing. If you stick to that one thing, nothing else matters. When asked what the one thing is, Curly responds it’s up to you to find out.

Taking a lesson from grizzled, authentic cowboy Curly, companies need to know their “one thing” and ensure all employees know it, too. Whether its customer service, hospitality or being the top distributor, it’s important all employees understand the “one thing.” In that way, everyone’s driving to the same goal – your “one thing.”

My “one thing” in writing “How to Create a Happy Workplace” is to communicate the importance of “Putting People First” in order to build a Happy Culture.

Try this exercise with your employees:
In your next meeting, ask the question, “What business are we in?” You might be surprised at the number of wide-ranging answers. Some of them will be close to the mark and others will be way off the mark.

When Dr. Hotze of Hotze Wellness Center of Sugarland, Texas asks this question of his employees, he hears “We’re in the hospitality industry!” David Weekley Homes is in the business of “Building dreams and enhancing lives.”

At the very core of your business, make sure every person who works for the company says the exact same thing and understands its importance to the bottom line.

I worked with a client out of Arkansas who was in the air ambulance business. Everyone in the company understood their “one thing”. Whether a receptionist, auditor, pilot, nurse or mechanic, they had one of the best “one thing” lines I’ve ever encountered. Ask any employee and they’ll tell you, “I’m the best part of the worst day of your life”. This helps all employees understand their true business.

To make sure your employees know what your basic values, mission and vision are, here are five ideas for communicating them:

• Post them around your work location
• Include them in your new hire onboarding
• Test their knowledge in fun ways like holding a contest to see which group can come up with the most ways they are truly living your values
• Post these stories in your newsletters
• Have a “Living our Values” sticker you can give employees you see doing the right thing.

There are five more steps in Creating Ownership – Employees Think of Your Company as Their Own:

 How do I get my people to understand how the company makes money?
 Do your employees understand how their role fits into the big picture?
 How do employees know what’s going on with the company?
 Are you and your employees living your company values every day?
 Is your company giving back to the community?

These steps are outlined in detail in the book “How to Create a Happy Workplace” available on