Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 30 – “Gross Happiness”

My dear friends,

This month I wish to share with you a piece of research we conducted at Reliance Energy Management Institute (REMI) Mumbai some years ago. It was regarding Gross Happiness Index of an Organization which turned out to be a new Paradigm in Human Development in an organizational context.

Happiness is a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. While salary may be the most important factor when joining a company, the most important factor when leaving a company is seldom monetary.

How reflective is Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the happiness of a nation?

While GDP may be increasing at a good rate, farmers may still be committing suicide, crime rate may be increasing and inequality between rich and poor may be widening. When it was realized that increased wealth does not necessarily mean increased happiness, need for some other index was felt. One of the best-known attempts to move away from a simple reliance on GDP as a measure of welfare has been the Human Development Index (HDI) published every year by the United Nations. HDI is a score that amalgamates three indicators: lifespan, educational attainment and adjusted real income. The HDI, however, is a mechanical criterion. It does not capture the contentment or psychological state of individuals. To do that, some measure of subjective well-being or ‘happiness’ is required.

Gross National Happiness (GNH)

Bhutan pioneered in the direction of measuring development by measuring the happiness of their countrymen. Gross National Happiness (GNH) is an attempt to define quality of life in more holistic and psychological terms. While conventional development models stress economic growth as the ultimate objective, the concept of GNH claims to be based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other. The four pillars of GNH are the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment and establishment of good governance.

Gross Happiness in an Organizational context

Gross Happiness Index (GHI) of an organization is an indicator of holistic happiness of its employees in terms of their quality of life not only in physical terms but also in terms of emotional and spiritual contentment and delight. Happiness is derived by employees working in an organization through a set of prime parameters viz. Learning ambience, Salary benchmarked with the sector, Working environment, Career enrichment & empowerment, Respect, Reward & recognition, Status, nvolvement & partnership, Quality of Governance and Health Care. Each of these ten prime parameters has been further classified into ten sub-sets, thus forming a grid of hundred parameters. For example, Learning Ambience has following 10 sub-sets: Knowledge management, In-house training programs, Training infrastructure, External training programs, Library and e-library, Knowledge sharing, Encouragement to innovative thinking, Trainee’s incentive, Trainer’s incentive and Reward for higher qualifications. Weightages have been assigned to these hundred grid points based on survey across Reliance Energy Ltd. and structured interviews with key functionaries.

A mathematical model was developed based on Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). The way various factors contribute to gross happiness is highly revealing. The evolved GHI grid has a potential to become a base of all the HR processes of tomorrow since it captures a range of happiness contributors which can be handled by a highly talented “IQ-EQ-SQ” mix of competence. One need not concentrate on “Salary Rise” alone for bringing happiness to the employees. In order to assign weightage to each of the prime parameters, we conducted a survey across Industry. The questionnaire asked the respondents to rank the parameters according to their importance and assign weightages such that their sum total is 100. The objective of this project was to arrive at one number which represents the happiness index of an organization.

The results obtained are tabulated below:

Sl No Parameter Weightage Approx.Weightage
1 Learning Ambience 13.9 14
2 Salary 13.7 14
3 Working Environment 12.6 12
4 Career Enrichment & Empowerment 10.1 10
5 Respect 10.0 10
6 Reward and Recognition 8.9 9
7 Status 8.5 8
8 Involvement & Partnership 7.9 8
9 Quality of Governance 7.6 8
10 Health care 6.8 7

Total                                    100                                100

Concluding Remarks:

  • The grid of 100 parameters captures a wide range of IQ, EQ and SQ related real life issues which impact happiness of people working in an organization.
  • The parametric assignment of weightages and relative values enable understanding of the entire matrix of organizational dynamics that is responsible for holistic happiness.
  • The mathematical model developed makes it possible to optimize financial and non-financial incentives to maximize the gross happiness of the functionaries.
  • The model developed has potential to become a forerunner of all HR processes with optimized value creation in terms of overall happiness and well being of employees.

Satyamev Jayate !!!

With Best Wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu, BE(Hons), M.Tech., Ph.D., CBI Scholar, D.Engg.(Calif), FNAE, Hon.D.WRE (USA)

Chairman Emeritus, GLIM, Gurgaon, NCR, New Delhi, INDIA

Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI / REL), Ex-Director (REC)/ Executive Director (IREDA)

+91-98330-13090 (m)/ +91-98198-46451

No job is small or big; it is the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)