The UAE is set to introduce a new ‘happiness and positivity’ programme in private sector companies, following its implementation in the public sector.
The initiative was recently launched by Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, the recently appointed UAE Minister of State for Happiness.
The programme aims to provide private-sector employees with “intuitive and practical skills necessary to become the drivers of happiness and positivity in their organisations,” a report said.
It is being launched in collaboration with the Wharton School.
In a speech, Al Roumi emphasised that investing in happiness helps businesses grow, increases profits and raises productivity rates.
A study conducted by Oxford found that a happy employee has six times as much energy as an unhappy employee, double the amount of productivity, and only one tenth as many sick-leave requests.
She also said that the private sector and entrepreneurs played a significant role in supporting the government’s efforts to spread happiness and positivity.
“The UAE was founded on the principles of happiness and positive interaction between the public and private sectors. This was a key factor in transforming the UAE into a magnet for creative minds, entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors looking for a better life, as well as multi-national enterprises that set up shop in the country,” said Al Roumi.
“It is important to exchange knowledge and expertise to build the projects of the future, which rely on innovation, leadership, and social responsibility to spread happiness and positive values in society, which in turn leads to sustainable development and increased competitiveness for the UAE,” she added.
The UAE’s minister of economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri also stressed that the government is keen to spread happiness in all sectors and segments of society.
“Creating a positive work environment is key to achieve happiness on two axes: a horizontal axis that includes co-workers, and a vertical one between employees and upper management. This requires work to raise awareness among employees regarding the importance of happiness for the organisation,” he said.
“We spend nearly half of our life at work. It is therefore absurd to have the work environment be anything but happy and positive.
“The UAE is sparing no effort to become one of the happiest countries in the world. The cooperation of all partners from both the private and public sectors is essential to achieving this national goal.”
A strong connection exists between job satisfaction and good work performance, added Matthew Bidwell, expert and professor of Business Administration at the Wharton School.
“Companies with happy employees generate more profits. A happy employee is one who feels his or her work is meaningful, sees the results of that work, and feels accountable for their company’s overall performance,” he said.
“Happy employees perform better in the workplace. Their open and creative mind enables them to set new goals. They are also better at building and maintaining relationships. They are more socially active and go above and beyond their company’s objectives to help achieve its long-term aspirations.”
He added: “This is the key to doing business in this day and age.”