Three Reasons Why The Workplace Needs a Minister of Happiness
Minister of Happiness
Question: Does your happiness in the workplace matter?
Another question (and answer honestly):
When is the last time someone asked you if you were happy at work? Or when have you asked someone else if they were happy in the workplace?
If you can’t think of a recent (or even any time) when this happened, your workplace might need a minister of happiness.
A while back, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE appointed Ohood Al Roumi to the newly created position of Minister of Happiness.
She’s one of eight women female ministers in the cabinet so it’s fitting as it is International Women’s Day!
It’s unconventional to hear of a government taking such a vested interest in and actions toward bettering a people’s happiness.
But why shouldn’t they?
In an article posted here, Sheikh Mohammed stated that “Government, in short, should nurture an environment in which people create and enjoy their own happiness.”
He went further also saying, “The happiness of individuals, families, and employees, their satisfaction with their lives and optimism for the future, are crucial to our work…”.
If happiness is so important to a country’s work and growth, why should it not be to your workplace?
As Sheikh Mohammed indicates, happiness is crucial to their work. It’s integral to how a country grows. Workplaces are another type of community and for a community to thrive, the inhabitants need to be satisfied.
Here are three reasons why a happiness minister might just be what your workplace needs:
1.) Happiness Matters
In the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda, it states that the purpose is to “…preserve a cohesive society proud of its identity and sense of belonging”. Think about this in terms of a workplace.
When employees are happy, they have pride in their jobs and in their workplaces. You retain more talent and you can attract and bring on new talent as well.
Many companies have a referral program for employees. If employees are happier, they are more likely to recommend their company to others.
Ohood Al Roumi, the Minister of Happiness said: “Happy people live 7.5 years more and take one third less sick days,”. Sheikh Mohammed adds, “Studies have shown that happy people produce more, live longer, and drive better economic development in their communities and countries.”
This alone should be a reason for a workplace to start caring about employee happiness!
When measuring happiness, the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda considers income level, average healthy life expectancy, social support, generosity, absence of corruption and freedom to make life choices.
For a workplace, we might replace these with income level, workplace health and safety, benefits, a non-toxic environment and autonomy.
If you’re committed to improving happiness, you’re committed to improving all these other areas. These all have other implications aside from happiness. For instance, giving employees freedom and autonomy means that they are happier, yes, but also that they are engaged, efficient and productive.
2.) Happiness isn’t just “fluffy” feelings
“Happiness can be measured, and its evaluation is already the subject of many programs and studies. Moreover, it can be developed and its achievement liked to material objectives”. Sheik Mohammed understands that giving an accurate reading on the office is not just saying, “Well, everyone seems happy”.
You can actually measure happiness. More importantly though, after measuring you can take actions to improve it. The Celpax helps measure happiness with a question, “How was your day?”.
The Celpax tracks the mood in the office on a daily basis and gives you a trend over a period of time. It uses a DIY methodology (do it yourself!) and empowers you to communicate and take actions (read more on that here).
Clients have even been able to predict a mood change in advance. With these analytics, you have a deeper and thorough understanding of employee happiness and the impact that you and your actions have.
3.) “Bad” results are opportunities
UAE is not the first country to bring in a Minister of Happiness. In 2013, Venezuela created a Ministry of supreme Social Happiness. In 2015, the country dropped from 20th happiest in the world to 23rd on the United Nations World Happiness Report.
Just installing a Celpax device doesn’t automatically mean your happiness will increase by tenfold. Like we spoke about above, it requires action and communication. Don’t be afraid of what seems like “bad” results. Embrace them as a learning opportunity.
What did you do (or not do) that contributed to these results?
Keep experimenting! Be careful to look at trends as well as just day results.
At the same time, when the office vibe seems good, don’t stop checking in on those results! UAE at the time of announcing the Minister of Happiness, was at number 20 on the United Nations World Happiness Report.
20th spot is definitely not too shabby, but they recognize that it is not stationary. It’s all about continuous improvement.
UAE aims to be in the top five spots on the UN World Happiness Report by 2021. In the most recent report, they had dropped to number 28. However, a new report will be released later in March, 2017. As mentioned above, happiness is measurable and they’re serious about achieving the target.
UAE is still working to implement programs and put initiatives in place.
The Happiness Minister is just the start!
If you’re ready to make happiness a priority in the workplace, a Ministry of Happiness could perhaps be what you need?
Interested in our employee morale survey?