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What Cows and Employees Have in Common

I recently viewed a Ted talk by the Prime Minister of Bhutan, who spoke about how all development in his country is driven by “Gross National Happiness, a pioneering vision to improve happiness and well-being of his people.”

That’s right – happiness drives development in Bhutan, not the other way around.

Letting happiness dictate a country’s policy on development sounds like a recipe for disaster, until you realize that annual growth of the Gross Domestic Product of Bhutan, a small underdeveloped country bordering China, has outperformed China’s GDP growth in the last seven of eight years.

Not surprisingly, happiness is also a precursor for success in companies (and cows – “Great Milk Comes from Happy Cows. Happy Cows Come from California”).

Last year, Fast Company published an article stating “happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.” Why? Because they found that “human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

In 2014, Forbes published an article entitled “Happy Employees = Hefty Profits” stating “there’s plenty of hard evidence that shows that happy employees lead directly to better performance and higher profits. Revenues increased by an average of 22% for the 2014 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these same companies added new employees at rate that was five times higher than the national average.”

And, while primers for how to improve company culture as a way to increase employee happiness are well documented, they ignore methods to improve individual happiness outside of work across the vast array of employees with widely divergent personal definitions of happiness. As anyone who works in an office can attest, an employee who “wakes up on the wrong side of the bed” that morning is not only less productive, but can also reduce the productivity of everyone around them.

Positive emotions invigorate human beings, and employees who bring in those positive emotions from their personal life further invigorate productivity in the workplace. In Suitcase of Happyness: A Roadmap to Achieve and Enjoy Your Happiest Life”, I illustrate the five barriers to happiness, and the ten pathways any employee can follow to lead a happier personal life. The pathways they choose to follow flow from their personal definition of happiness.

While each employee’s personal definition of happiness is different, the effect on your company from encouraging them to successfully follow their personal roadmap to happiness is clear:

“Great Profit comes from Happy Employees.

Happy Employees come from [insert your company name here].”

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