CEO Outlook Magazine

Shon Holyfield | CEO | Amazing Workplace, Inc.

Shon Holyfield


" For me, the most valuable and greatest achievement that an executive can achieve is leaving people and the world a better place. Improving happiness betters people’s lives and leaves the world a little better off than it was before. As an executive, this starts by prioritizing and focusing on improving employee happiness. Employee happiness is the foundation on which everything is built within a company: culture, engagement, productivity, low turnover, and more. We now have the technology, processes, and tools to accurately measure and improve employee happiness. Its time to create a legacy you’ll be proud of and it starts with your decision to make employee happiness a priority. "

What is Your Legacy?

When employees are happy, organizations see real breakthroughs. Happy employees are themselves far more productive and, in turn, positively influence those around them to strive for greater heights. Harvard Business Review research shows that anyone can become an inspiring leader (they’re made, not born), there are far too few in most companies.

Shon Holyfield, CEO of Amazing Workplace, Inc., is an inspiring leader who uses his unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and deliver the tools and resources for them to deliver results. And in the process, it unlocks higher performance through empowerment, not command and control. Amazing Workplace employee reviews describe Shon as “passionate, hardworking, transparent, caring, honest, and a visionary.” Shon always makes time to talk with teams and individuals and realizes what’s happening within the company. His kindness and care for others are shown in everything he does. He regularly meets with clients to gather meaningful information about how Amazing Workplace can enhance products and services to deliver value. He is always open to new ideas and solutions and is incredibly creative and brilliant. His ability to create a safe environment where people can speak up, ask questions, and feel heard is critically essential to the success of Amazing Workplace. He also profoundly understands workplaces and people and can train and explain things simply so no one is left behind. 

Shon has always maintained a positive attitude when facing a challenging situation, helping boost morale and reduce anxiety among his team, setting an example for all to handle similar situations. It has transformed him into an effective leader, evaluating team and overall business factors to make objective decisions. Thanks to Shon’s mother and grandmother, he has today culminated into a wholesome leader. “My mom and Nana always made time to explain things and never got upset or angry even when confronted with situations that might otherwise lead to upset feelings. Their care for others and patience impacted me in a significant way,” he says. “I witnessed how effectively they could help others because of how they treated people. They are two of the most hardworking and genuinely kindhearted people I’ve ever known.”

Leading towards Productivity

Shon transformed two companies he previously led as CEO from “worst to first” in the Pacific Northwest. He focuses on employee happiness within Amazing Workplace and delivers solutions to measure and improve employee happiness for Amazing Workplace clients. Leveraging best practices from successful organizations focusing on employee happiness improves productivity and leads to tremendous success for organizations worldwide.

For Shon, success is a mindset. “Everyone has the ability to be successful. What a person decides to use to measure success varies from person to person. I measure success in the number of people’s lives that I’ve improved. By that measurement, I was able to find success early in my career and build on that success to create a career that has been both fulfilling and full of joy,” he explains. “I asked my 99-year-old Nana (grandmother), where was the best place you ever worked? She told me about a florist shop she worked at when younger. I asked, “Nana, what made it the best place you ever worked?” Her response, “I was happy. Everyone was happy.” I believe there are leaders and executives that want their workplace to be the one that their employees talk about for years to come as the best place they have ever worked. It all starts by focusing on what really matters to employees – their happiness.”

Building an Amazing Workplace

Amazing Workplace (AWP) was founded by a group of professionals who created top-rated workplaces. AWP’s Executive Team has at least 150 top 100 workplace rankings on their resumes. They want to help every workplace become an amazing workplace – a place where a professional looks forward to going to work every day.

Shon says a workplace must have the right information and actionable next steps to create or maintain employee happiness and create an amazing place to work.  AWP provides both – Amazing Workplace’s survey results clearly show what employees are happy about and the source of unhappiness within a workplace.  It is rarely “pay increases.”  The Amazing Workplace Online Platform also includes an industry-first – actionable steps that a workplace can implement to improve employee happiness.

According to Shon, Amazing Workplace aims to improve people’s lives everywhere. The company’s mission statement is that every workplace is Amazing Workplace Certified (has happy employees), and the vision is a world where every workplace is amazing. “We live by these every day and these ideas are built into our product and our culture.  Our purpose, mission, and vision statements are the foundation for our organization and motivate us to work towards a greater good,” elucidates Shon. “Surveys are as essential as a phone, computer, or access to your workplace. Without knowing how your people feel and precisely what will improve their happiness, it is impossible to achieve a workplace where employees are happy and as productive as possible.” The long-term benefits are increased productivity, reduced turnover, improved employee engagement, strengthened culture, improved customer experience, positive reputation, and people who look back at their life and think fondly of working at their workplace.

The advice that Shon gives to every leader is to make the time to focus on employee happiness. “It genuinely matters to employees. Make it safe for people to ask questions and share ideas. Encourage the entire organization to make happiness a priority. Use a survey that measures employee happiness and then take action based on employee feedback,” he states. “It is critically important that leadership openly communicates their appreciation for help in shaping the workplace into a happy place to work. Remember that leaders are there to serve those around them – make time to thank employees for their important role in making your workplace more amazing.”

Improving Employee Happiness and the Future

In one instance, a workplace had a toxic culture with high turnover and a weak culture. Within 18 months of using Amazing Workplace, turnover had dropped by over 50%, and employees started leaving positive online reviews. Another workplace didn’t know how things were going, but overall, it felt like things were okay. The Amazing Workplace survey uncovered that working conditions in one office were not ideal. They made changes based on employee feedback, their happiness scores skyrocketed, and they became Amazing Workplace Certified. More importantly, employee comments in the following survey openly expressed their gratitude for the entire process, and turnover dropped to almost 0%.

Amazing Workplace is expanding its platform with over 500 Surveys – designed to measure employee happiness across dozens of topics and tailored for industry-specific needs. Amazing Workplace is also working with companies to help with recruiting and annual reviews (including 360 Feedback Surveys) to empower employees to grow in their careers. “For the future, we are working on tools and resources for Human Resources that help make day-to-day life in HR easy,” says Shon. “But, for me, the most valuable and greatest achievement that can enhance the future is the creation of the first-ever employee happiness survey – the ability to accurately measure employee happiness and access to an online platform that presents easy-to-follow recommendations to improve employee happiness.”

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