Let’s celebrate happiness! International Day of Happiness is March 20!
Include your employees in this United Nations global celebration to reaffirm and clarify your company’s commitment to building employee happiness.
International Day of Happiness activities around the world are coordinated by Action for Happiness, a London-based nonprofit supported by a partnership of like-minded organizations and the Dalai Lama.
Action for Happiness and the United Nations Foundation have plenty of happiness-building resources for individuals and groups of all kinds, including workplace teams, but first let’s look at why International Day of Happiness matters — especially for employees today. Your company’s engagement program shouldn’t let the day pass without a celebration!
How Happiness Works
Happiness is an outcome, not a method for better living. Nobody ever got happy by being told to. (Although a little Partridge Family never hurt!)
Happiness is the warm, feel-good outcome of certain actions, skills and attitudes that anyone can learn and develop: mindfulness, kindness to yourself and others, positivity, gratitude and more.
This is where some well-meaning employee engagement programs go wrong — they operate under the false assumption that an event associated with happiness, like a big party with free food, is enough to automatically make employees happy.
But if employees aren’t feeling appreciated or working in an everyday culture of kindness and positivity, then the party can feel decidedly unhappy.
Company leaders need to develop meaningful, teachable and repeatable methods for creating workplace happiness.
Action for Happiness has a free downloadable Happiness Guidebook to help you build true happiness from the ground up with “10 Keys to Happier Living.” Each of the 10 keys to happiness apply in the workplace. Remember them all with a mnemonic prompt that spells “GREAT DREAM”:
- Giving — Invest in others and give back to the community.
- Relating — Build interpersonal and interdepartmental connections.
- Exercising — Initiate wellness activities for employees.
- Awareness — Practice mindfulness at work.
- Trying Out — Learning new things keeps us engaged! Support employee development.
- Direction — Clearly communicate company goals and how employees contribute.
- Resilience — Help employees find ways to bounce back.
- Emotions — Foster a positive work environment.
- Acceptance — Help your staff build everyday confidence in their work.
- Meaning — Make sure employees feel part of company goals and achievements.
Why Celebrate Happiness at Work?
Action for Happiness sees a need today for individuals and organizations to reprioritize: “Despite decades of economic growth, we are no happier now than we were 60 years ago. We need to rethink our priorities.”
In 2012, the UN Secretary General called for a focus on “gross global happiness,” as opposed to a gross domestic product (GDP).
“GNP has long been the yardstick by which economies and politicians have been measured,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote. “We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”
These observations on global happiness correlate to the American workplace. More than two-thirds of American workers are unengaged, according to the latest Gallup research.
Unengaged employees are unhappy at work, uncommitted to their employer, under-productive in their jobs and very likely looking for other opportunities.
And money, as the saying goes, can’t buy their happiness.
That’s why it’s so important for employers to encourage and celebrate the everyday skills that lead to real happiness. International Day of Happiness is the perfect opportunity to educate employees and have fun while you’re doing it!
The payoff is worth it. According to Action for Happiness, research shows that happier employees:
- are better liked by their colleagues and co-workers
- perform better
- have more fresh ideas
- stay with their employers longer
- are more likely to contribute beyond the requirements of their job
- help out colleagues more often
- have fewer sick days
- are more punctual
“And it doesn’t stop there. Our psychological well-being can impact on our physical health, which again can impact our ability to perform at work. And our happiness spreads to others — within work, at home and in our communities,” according the Action for Happiness “At Work” section.
Need ideas for celebrating International Day of Happiness with your employees? The United Nations Foundation has a #HappyDay social media toolkit and ready-to-download graphics to distribute.
In addition to the “10 Keys to Happier Living” guidebook, Action for Happiness has a resources page for work-related happiness — go here for book and website suggestions as well as free video and ebook downloads.
Wishing you and your workplace a joyful and meaningful International Day of Happiness!
More Tips for Building Employee Happiness
Want practical tips to build your culture of employee appreciation and workplace happiness every day this year?
Download gThankYou’s FREE Day-to-Day Celebration Calendar for tips on how to plan daily recognition and organize regular celebrations throughout the year. This one-of-a-kind eBook will help you to build an everyday culture of appreciation with month-by-month guides, case studies, research highlights, how-to recognition advice and celebration ideas for specific holidays and anytime.
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