On 20th March 2019, we celebrated the International Day of Happiness. It started in 2011 and the idea was to inspire, mobilise and advance the global happiness movement (Wikipedia).
A Gallup World Poll in 2019 conducted by the United Nations revealed that Finland was the happiest country in the world, followed by Norway, Denmark and Iceland (how can people in Iceland be happy?!)
The answer lies in the fact that the poll does not measure the emotional feeling of happiness but measures 14 areas and correlates the results with various life factors. South Africa came in at 105 out of 186 countries. Burundi was the most miserable!
So, what makes you happy? How do you make people happy? The songs of Pharrell Williams (Happy) and Bobby McFerrin (Don’t worry, be happy) springs to mind. Sadly, it is not that easy. According to Socrates, happiness flows not from physical or external conditions, but from “living a life that’s right for your soul – your deepest good”.
From an organisational perspective, how do we build a culture in organisations that create a “happy” workforce?
The above were some of the fundamental questions I thought of as I pondered the idea of happiness.
This got me thinking on two aspects:
Vicky Coates, in a recent article refers to a Global Survey by Korn Ferry management consultants (and others) that show that having an engaged workforce correlates directly with a happy workforce. A happy workforce results in:
- increased sales,
- retention and
- productivity (Shawn Achor, author of the Happiness Advantage).
2.Level of general education
A recent study by the National statistics Office of Britain revealed that the higher people’s level of general education, the more they were satisfied with their daily life and the more they felt worthwhile. One way of making people happy is to perhaps improve their life through education. Education and work is one of the core considerations in the happiness survey. The challenge to organisations is to transform their workplace to become a place for continuous learning.
Training is one thing, but a well-chosen learnership programme based on the expert transfer of learning and the strengthening of internal capability through engagement with relevant people in organisations results in a more educated and ultimately happy workforce.
Author: Gerald McKinnon – Director at ODI
To read more about ODI’s National Qualifications and Skills Programmes, click here.