Happiness Meter

Shawnee Love   •  
July 27, 2012

I have always been intrigued by the small country of Bhutan and it’s national happiness meter. It is the only country in the world that measures its people’s happiness let alone considers happiness of its people to be critical in national sovereignty and security.  I am not exactly sure why they started measuring happiness, but as mentioned in Profit Formula, businesses should be focused on ensuring they have happy employees if they want to maximize their profits.

The biggest lesson I have learned from observing Bhutan is that happiness isn’t a short term emotion to be measured, but rather a state of being effected by multiple factors which collaborate to stimulate a sense of happiness.  In Bhutan, happiness factors measured are:

  1. Psychological Well Being as indicated by life satisfaction, positive & negative emotions and spirituality,
  2. Standard of Living as evidenced by assets, accommodation, and household income,
  3. Health seen through mental health, self reported health status, healthy days, and disability,
  4. Time use including work and sleep (yes they measure sleep, a critical deficiency in North American adults!),
  5. Education as in literacy, schooling, knowledge and value,
  6. Cultural diversity & resilience seen through the ability to speak the national language, cultural participation, artistic skills,
  7. Ecological diversity & resilience as indicated by ecological issues, environmental responsibility, rural wildlife and urbanization issues,
  8. Community vitality including donations of time & money, community relationships, family, and safety, and
  9. Good governance as indicated by government performance, fundamental rights, services and political participation.

Not to go all John Lennon on you, but Imagine a company that cared enough to measure its:

  1. Employees’ Satisfaction
  2. Employees’ Standard of living ensuring all employees receive a living wage
  3. Employees’ Wellness (not just attendance)
  4. Employees’ Work life balance
  5. Employees’ Learning & development
  6. Employees’ Diversity
  7. Employees’ Environmental responsibility
  8. Employees’ Social responsibility, and
  9. Corporate Financial results

That might feel like I am turning businesses upside down; however, as discussed in the Profit Formula, if a company measured and worked to improve those first 8 metrics, the financial results should be amazing as well.  Anyone with me?