The British retailer, the John Lewis Partnership has a constitutional goal – ‘the happiness of its members’. This means that it puts the happiness of its 70,000 permanent staff at the centre of everything it does. Is the UK Government about to follow suit and make happiness central to its efforts, and if so, what does this mean for employers?
This week it was revealed that the Government is gearing up to announce plans to start measuring the nation’s subjective wellbeing – i.e. happiness – and use the data to understand the impact of its policies. Quite how they will achieve this will be interesting, especially as psychologists still debate the topic, but there are rumours that it will begin to do so in spring 2011 by adding some questions to the existing household survey and then publish their findings on a quarterly basis.
A similar move is being considered in
So what has this got to do with employers? Well, firstly, a study by Assistant Professor Nathan Bowling in the
But secondly, just like the John Lewis Partnership (who recently reported a 28% increase in pre-tax profits), enlightened employers won’t just reap the rewards of happy staff, they’ll also play an important role in boosting workers’ emotional wellbeing. Here at Unison Media, we know that many of the factors that affect happiness can be fulfilled by work – and we don’t just mean fair pay and rewards. We know, for example, that work can provide us with a sense of meaning, opportunities for goal achievement, and enable us to build close friendships – just three of the factors that facilitate wellbeing. There are many others, and we’d be happy to share these with you because we truly believe that happiness is the best policy.
For further information:
– Link to information on the John Lewis Partnership (and to download a copy of their constitution):
– Link to news item on the Government’s plans to measure happiness:
– Links to news item on GNH in
– Link to the “Stiglitz commission” i.e. Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress:
– Link to Bowling’s paper on subjective wellbeing and job satisfaction:
– Link to Oswald’s paper on happiness and productivity: