Search

COMMENTARY
HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Published: 11 May 12
6041 views


Benjamin Yang

The pursuit of organizational happiness

BY BENJAMIN YANG

In the movie, The Pursuit of Happiness, we see this moving scene where Will Smith, together with his son, had to spend the night locked-up and sleeping in a public toilet.

As we now know, the movie had a good ending with Will Smith finally succeeding. The idea that happiness is a goal to be pursued is something very familiar to Singaporeans.

Since young, we study hard hoping to achieve good grades to allow us entry into a good company. Once we enter the organization, we sacrifice much of our joys and time and continue the same pattern praying that it brings us success and with success, happiness. In many of these cases, people view happiness as being contingent on work performance or successes.

However, recent research from the field of positive psychology has shown that this view might be slightly misguided.

From the early findings in the past decade, it appears that happiness might not be the end product of success, but rather, an enabler to make individuals and organizations succeed.

Organizational research examining happiness as an organizational strategy has uncovered that a happier workforce saves the company a lot of money as it results in lower absenteeism and attrition rates.

Likewise, happier employees have been found to be more productive, have higher levels of performances and even achieve better sales results. In some of my seminars and conversations with corporations, many executives were surprised when I shared these findings.

I recall this comment from the CEO of a successful IT company, where he said ‘these findings have really opened my eyes! In the past, my belief was that I paid my workers to get work done and not for them to be happy.

It looks like I need to rethink my approach as it seems that my workers would be much more productive if we invest in their happiness’. Indeed, many corporations are not aware of the positive impact that happiness can bring to the company.

Having established the potentiality of capitalizing on happiness as an organizational strategy, here are two quick interventions that companies can adopt right away.

Intervention 1: 'Three Gratitudes'

Research has shown that people who ‘count their blessings’ actually have a higher level of happiness.

How this works is through an exercise that psychology calls the Three Gratitudes’. Put aside 15 mins every alternate day and come together as a team. Think back on the previous day and recall three specific things that you are grateful for.

Once people start doing this, research shows that employees would experience more positive emotions and exhibit more helpful behavior towards colleagues.

Intervention 2: Volunteering Activities

As the old adage goes, ‘it is in giving that we receive’. Apparently, science has shown that there is a lot of truth behind this. Findings have found a positive relationship between performing acts of kindness and happiness.

A good suggestion would be for companies to engage in more volunteering activities. Some companies choose to do this by allowing staff time-off to do volunteer work. Other companies adopt a charity or charitable cause and channel employee time and resources to engage in volunteering work.

Either way, this works as it provides a platform for individuals to engage in these acts of kindness.

Although the research on organizational happiness is still in its nascent stage, early findings have shown that organizations have a lot to gain by investing in the happiness of their employees. If companies can seize this window of opportunity, this might just be that extra nudge needed to increase organizational performances. 

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

Benjamin Yang

Benjamin Yang

Benjamin is a business strategist and organisational psychologist. He is also the Managing Director of Balanced Consultancy.

Contact Information



Sign up for our newsletter

 

Do you know more about this story? Contact us anonymously through this link.

Click here to learn about advertising, content sponsorship, events & rountables, custom media solutions, whitepaper writing, sales leads or eDM opportunities with us.

To get a media kit and information on advertising or sponsoring click here.

Tags: Benjamin Yang, Balanced Consultancy, pursuit of happiness

LATEST HR & EDUCATION JOBS »
  • No jobs posted on this category.
PRINT ISSUE »

Subscribe Now
Singapore singled out in Asia for weak M&A appetite

309 views

Is the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail project still on the right track?

743 views

The changing taste of Asian art collectors bodes well for the Western art market

51 views

MOST READ EXCLUSIVES

Here are the credit card deals you shouldn't miss during the Great Singapore Sale 2015

Here are the credit card deals you shouldn\'t miss during the Great Singapore Sale 2015

The GSS begins today.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
29 May 2015 | 29388 views
 

Bosch’s cutting-edge regional HQ is one of the greenest buildings you’ll find in Singapore

Bosch’s cutting-edge regional HQ is one of the greenest buildings you’ll find in Singapore

It boasts an automated sun-shading system.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
7 Jul 2015 | 14290 views

This retired banker's fintech startup makes complicated wealth management a piece of cake

This retired banker\'s fintech startup makes complicated wealth management a piece of cake

Mesitis provides low-cost aggregated wealth reporting for all investors.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
25 May 2015 | 9413 views
 

Husband and wife duo ditch plum banking jobs to shake up Singapore’s HR scene

Husband and wife duo ditch plum banking jobs to shake up Singapore’s HR scene

This small start-up has global dreams.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
8 Jul 2015 | 9022 views

10 smart ways to spend your GST Vouchers

10 smart ways to spend your GST Vouchers

Regardless of how much you spend, aim to spend it well.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
8 Jul 2015 | 7718 views
 

Cocoa Colony to open 12 more outlets in Singapore by end-2015

Cocoa Colony to open 12 more outlets in Singapore by end-2015

The cafe chain seeks to target the masses.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
21 Jul 2015 | 6235 views

Check out this quaint co-working space that occupies 5 conservation shophouses

Check out this quaint co-working space that occupies 5 conservation shophouses

It has private offices, an events space, and even a beer garden.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
22 May 2015 | 4917 views
 

TAIGER’s office bids goodbye to claustrophobia-inducing cubicles

TAIGER’s office bids goodbye to claustrophobia-inducing cubicles

Walls and windows function as a big canvas.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
15 Jul 2015 | 4227 views

Hootsuite boosts its APAC team opening a new office in Singapore

Hootsuite boosts its APAC team opening a new office in Singapore

Its VP talks about the importance of the company’s culture in line with opening the new space.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
18 Jun 2015 | 3005 views
 

Get bitten by the travel bug in Skyscanner’s quirky Asia-Pacific headquarters

Get bitten by the travel bug in Skyscanner’s quirky Asia-Pacific headquarters

Meeting rooms are named after Asian tourist spots.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
5 Jun 2015 | 2942 views

Bye bye blurry video calls: Here’s a WebRTC startup that offers close to HD video quality using any device

Bye bye blurry video calls: Here’s a WebRTC startup that offers close to HD video quality using any device

Find out how they are building the next generation of web communications.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
2 Jun 2015 | 2364 views
 

HAITE Group launches its first aviation training center in Singapore

HAITE Group launches its first aviation training center in Singapore

It is the first major investment by a Chinese aerospace firm.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
13 May 2015 | 2004 views

El Mero Mero founder says Mexican food is not just about tacos and burritos

El Mero Mero founder says Mexican food is not just about tacos and burritos

See how a former legal professional pursued his passion for food.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
26 May 2015 | 1778 views
 

This bold ad film tells you what happens when maids are not given their due day off

This bold ad film tells you what happens when maids are not given their due day off

‘Mums & Maids’ generated 5 million views in 5 days.

by KRISANA GALLEZO-ESTAURA
7 May 2015 | 1416 views

This handy app lets you book nearly any service under the sun

This handy app lets you book nearly any service under the sun

Find technicians, babysitters and more with Page Advisor.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
8 Jun 2015 | 1397 views
 

PwC Singapore launches its first Investment Fund Centre in Asia

PwC Singapore launches its first Investment Fund Centre in Asia

Expanding its presence in the asset management sector across Asian region.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
29 Jun 2015 | 1245 views

Singapore retailers turn to technology to boost productivity

Singapore retailers turn to technology to boost productivity

Shopping for the first child is always challenging for the parents.

by STAFF REPORTER
15 May 2015 | 1231 views
 

This app is out to prove that Singapore is anything but boring

This app is out to prove that Singapore is anything but boring

And Sugar helps SMEs in the process too.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
2 Jun 2015 | 1217 views

Hey, boss: This startup wants to be your all-around sidekick

Hey, boss: This startup wants to be your all-around sidekick

Alpha7 wants SMEs to join the Cloud.

by STAFF REPORTER
16 Jun 2015 | 1187 views
 

Get your head in the game: Testing challenges await the Internet of Things

Get your head in the game: Testing challenges await the Internet of Things

Industry experts share their concerns over security and testing standards.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
4 Jun 2015 | 1099 views

How do you like getting cash rebates when shopping online?

How do you like getting cash rebates when shopping online?

ShopBack introduces this concept in Southeast Asia.

by STAFF REPORTER
21 Jul 2015 | 1087 views
 

Need some help? This app lets you book a cleaner in five minutes flat

Need some help? This app lets you book a cleaner in five minutes flat

Sendhelper is the new breed of booking apps.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
26 May 2015 | 964 views

Leave your valuables unattended: This on-demand cleaning service offers $1m liability insurance

Leave your valuables unattended: This on-demand cleaning service offers $1m liability insurance

Book a reliable cleaner in seconds with Helpling.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
22 Jun 2015 | 941 views
 

Former strategy advisor reveals aspirations with his newest mobile app startup

Former strategy advisor reveals aspirations with his newest mobile app startup

Rediscover and fall in love with your city all over again.

by LEE ANNE BABIERRA
22 May 2015 | 916 views

Asian corporates face tough balancing act as sustainability issues mount

Asian corporates face tough balancing act as sustainability issues mount

Discover the changing face of Asian CSR.

by MARIANNE ESTIOCO
1 Jul 2015 | 548 views
 
close Don't Show Again

STAY INFORMED! Get our free weekly newsletter