We’re a bit late in celebrating, but on March 20th, the UN held its first International Day of Happiness. This got us thinking about the topic, Happiness in the Workplace. As Thailand’s premier Human Resource Management specialists, we spend much of our time on things like payroll, training, and employee benefits, however there’s a great deal of data connecting workplace happiness with productivity, and motivation.
The Thai Health Promotion Foundation has been doing research on the subject for more many years, going so far as to issue the Health Promotion Foundation Act of 2001, which addresses the issue of creating happy workplaces. It states organizations should give happiness, “special consideration” by including it as one of eight key strategies for promoting productivity in organizations.
In a recent study of Thai organizations called, “An Approach to Create a Happy Workplace” undertaken by Juthamas Kaewpijit, Ph.D. and Wichai Utsahajit, Ph.D., the authors found that while there have been a number of efforts undertaken in recent years by Thai organizations to increase employee happiness, the overall approach has been that of “one size fits all”.
Their findings suggest that to be truly effective, there needs to be ‘buy-in’ from management and programs need to be designed for specific roles within the organizations and account for individual needs. They point out that, as middlemen, “HR professionals have to know how to make executives understand and support such projects aimed at creating happiness for all staff.”
Their study reveals in-depth analysis and statistics and offers practical insights specific to Thai organizations. One of the major take-aways, specific to the Thai workplace, is a technique they call HOME.
This helpful diagram demonstrates the feedback and action loop that is useful in developing HR-driven workplace-happiness program:
The HOME approach to happiness at the workplace
The HOME approach is holistic and takes into account the myriad factors and stakeholders, as well as organizational and Thai culture. It is systematic, with the key tools being happiness mapping, organization diagnosis results, an approach for the value of happiness, and environment creation. The study emphasises that for the best results, it shouldn’t just be a Human Resource Management effort. Instead, they conclude, “Creating happy organizations involves three groups of people: top management, facilitators (human resource department), and a steering committee.”
“It is also advisable for organizations, training or consulting companies, and educational institutions to design a curriculum or a training course on how to create a happy workplace for organizations in Thailand in order that happiness can be happening in any workplace all around the land of smiles.”
At CloudForce HR, we have worked with organizations that recognize the invaluable ROI that comes with proactively creating a happy workplace – increased productivity, employee retention and improved service. The key is making ensuring that programs are targeted at the unique needs of your company and employees. Often very small and inexpensive measures add up to HUGE returns.