On 10th February 2018, the World Government Summit held a full-day event focusing on human happiness around the world. The event brought together experts from across the globe, with specialists sharing research, evidence and expertise to begin a global discussion on the importance of happiness.
The Global Happiness Policy Report was presented for the first time at this event, produced by the Global Happiness Council (GHC). Alongside the World Happiness Report and the Global Dialogue for Happiness, the GHC aims to provide evidence and advice on policy to participating governments, to enable the promotion of happiness and well-being. The 2018 report examines datasets from the Gallup World Poll and the International Social Survey Programme, and focuses on six key areas; education, workplace, personal happiness, public health, city design and management.
We’re absolutely delighted that the World Government Summit put happiness firmly on the agenda this year. At People Lab, we’re not just passionate about promoting happiness in the workplace; it’s central to everything we do. Our work is grounded in positive psychology, and we know that engaged, happy, positive people can significantly impact businesses in numerous ways.
We took a closer look at chapter five of the Global Happiness Policy Report, Work and Wellbeing: A Global Perspective, and provided a snapshot below:
Work and Wellbeing: A Global Perspective
This chapter explores several areas, including the overall importance of employment. Unemployed people were found to be less satisfied and reported significantly fewer positive emotional experiences than those in full or part-time employment. Unsurprisingly perhaps, the report also found that job and income stability affected participants’ wellbeing across the board – showing a ‘clear-cut importance’ of being in stable, reliable employment.
The majority of employees included in the report were found to be disengaged, with the highest levels of disengagement being found in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Alongside this, researchers found that the high levels of job satisfaction reflected in some participant’s evaluations didn’t necessarily reflect their engagement levels.
‘The fact that we find simultaneously high job satisfaction and low employee engagement levels tell us that, while most people are content with having a job, a much lower percentage is emotionally connected with their work and unlikely to put in discretionary effort.’ Jan-Emmanuel de Neve
The report also found that opportunities for advancement had a significant impact on the average participant’s job satisfaction. In fact, this area ranked seventh out of twelve areas analysed for ‘workplace quality’ (other areas include pay, working hours, working hours mismatch, work-life imbalance, skills match, job security, difficulty, stress and danger, independence, interpersonal relationships, interesting job, and usefulness).
The report’s contributors don’t claim to have all the answers, and recognise that further research is needed. The chapter concludes with a call to those working in academia, business and government to work together to expand this evidence base, in order to ‘be able to make strong causal claims about the relationship between workplace quality, well-bring and its objective benefits for both individuals and firms.’
It’s exciting to see that happiness is firmly on the agenda for governments everywhere. If you’d like to download the full Global Happiness Report (and the other research papers we’ve mentioned), take a look at our recommended further reading below).
We’d love to hear your thought on these research findings. Do you think happiness and well-being should be at the top of the list for businesses (and society)? Let’s keep the conversation going on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments section below.