Why the search for happiness will become big business

1 January 2020

When we wish one another a happy new year, what do we really mean? In professional life, most would say for happy read successful, but how do we measure success?

The top performing companies – both large corporations and SMEs – score highly on recruitment and retention practices, and more specifically on company culture and working style. We expect work to fulfil us in ways that the last generation did not and enlightened bosses understand this only too well. Personal fulfilment or purpose equals improved productivity and yes, profits.

Measuring an individual’s sense of purpose, fulfilment and resilience is becoming a serious business for business. If the science suggests happier people are more productive how do we deploy those qualities for the success of the organisation?

Ask them! Google X’s chief business officer, Mo Gawdat, did exactly that – plotting as many data points as possible based on what his colleagues told him made them happy in daily life. He is creating an ‘algorithm for happiness’ – of course he is! – but organisations don’t need to be Google to get the point. Nietzsche grasped it a while back: ‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.’