A shot of Vitamin H. Does Happiness impact the workplace? 

By Robbie MacCue

If there’s something we could all use a dose of, it’s vitamin H.

No I’m not talking about the real vitamin H (Biotin) or even Haldol…

I’m talking about Happiness.

Think about it.  Do YOU like to be around people who drain the energy out of you, who are miserable and just looking for an opportunity to complain or jump ship? Of course not! Imagine instead if your organization’s culture was driven by happy people, who are loving life and driven to make a positive difference.

While that may sound like an overly optimistic statement, let’s dive into the facts and research behind how Happiness impacts the culture of your organization.

Survey Says…Three Important Points for Happiness

In a recent article published by the folks over at VFISHRHelp.com, they highlight three important points found in a recent HR survey that are screaming for the attention of managers and leaders throughout the Emergency Services industry:

  • Image - 153% of employees say their top expectation of leadership is respect for their knowledge, followed closely by mutual trust (51 percent), transparency (37 percent), learning and development (32 percent), and a relationship of equals regardless of title (30 percent).


  • Image - 259% of employees expect mutual trust from their colleagues at work, followed by respect for their knowledge (48 percent), a relationship of equals (46 percent) and transparency (41 percent).


  • Image - 3The desire for work/life balance and higher compensation (both 35 percent) are the top motivations of employees for changing jobs, followed by seeking a different work culture and wanting more challenging assignments (both 25 percent).

Re-read & understand those 3 bullet points! That’s the most important information for you to increase Vitamin H!

The rest is just (fascinating) gravy. Oh, and don’t forget to then commit yourself to putting those ideas into action. How will you foster respect, mutual trust, and transparency?

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Who in the world is measuring Happiness??

Subjective Well-being & GDP in Egypt 2005-2010. Very interesting statistics that show despite traditional measurements of prosperity such as economic development (GDP per capita) improving, the measured well being ("Thriving" index) shows a dramatic decline in population satisfaction.
Subjective Well-being & GDP in Egypt 2005-2010.
Very interesting statistics that show despite traditional measurements of prosperity improving such as economic development (GDP per capita), the measured well being (“Thriving” index) shows a dramatic decline in population satisfaction.

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operations and Development) is formed of many developed countries with a goal of sharing ideas to better the world. Their 2011 Better Life Initiative has spawned many articles and research on how to measure and enhance the well-being of populations. Many countries have been measuring and trending happiness and well-being of their people using different methods of surveys over 10, 20 or 30 years.

In their 270 page report, Guidelines for measuring subjective well-being, they set out to standardize the way in which the world scientifically measures happiness.

A recent example is how the 2011 revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia could be measured with non-traditional tools such as the country’s well being index / survey despite a dramatic increase in the traditional measurement of GDP per capita.

OECD’s Better Life Initiative: Guidelines for measuring subjective well-being.

Interesting point in the Foreword about people’s “psychological resilience in the face of adversity.”

For a more abridged overview of measuring happiness, along with some popular scientifically developed surveys, check out this article on the Pursuit-of-Happiness website:  How do you Measure Happiness? The Top Questionnaires

One simple survey they mentioned and that we have used to take the temperature of happiness within an organization is the SWLS (Satisfaction With Life Survey). This is a very simple 5 question survey with a corresponding tool to understand the aggregate results.

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Robbie MacCue

Robbie is the cofounder of the EMS Leadership Academy, host of the EMS Leadership Summit, and paramedic captain in Albany, NY where he serves in the Special Operations Division for ground rescue, flight, & tactical medicine. He performs international medical flights with North America's largest fixed wing Air Ambulance service. For more than 14 years, Robbie served as President of a non-profit EMS organization advocating for increased funding and raising the bar of excellence. In addition, Robbie is an American Heart Association advocate who is passionate about empowering others to save more lives. He has taught physicians, nurses, and other medical providers Advanced Cardiac Life Support at medical schools and hospitals throughout Manhattan. Robbie has undergraduate degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University and provides business consulting that combines his love of technology with healthcare.

Robbie MacCue

  • This is a very positive, well presented point that will spread some upward thinking ideas in many areas – everyone and every organization comes across this negative-H environment, awareness promotes a shot of Vitamin H!

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