HAPPYNESS AND/IS SUSTAINABILITY - The transformation that increases wellbeing
Elga Corricelli and Elisabetta Dallavalle
Within ELEhub, our monitoring unit, we have developed awareness and knowledge around the topic of The Wellbeing of People and their Happiness, thanks to the skills developed through our CHO – Chief Happiness Officer – certification and through the #Scienza del Sé (Science of the Self) – Self Leadership for Happiness methodology. We believe that it is fundamentally important to lay the foundations for timely observation, in Italy, of the topic of #Benessere (Wellbeing) and #Felicità (Happiness) to guarantee ecological sustainability and build a future for ourselves and future generations. The positive transformation of systems, which goes beyond the 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index, is underway and will allow us to transform into a sustainable system in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We also believe that the metrics, parameters and language must now be reconfigured from a perspective that is closer to Happiness understood as GNH (Gross National Happiness) rather than GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as is in part already being demonstrated by the Bes-Istat parameters (the Fair and sustainable wellbeing criteria created by the Italian National Institute of Statistics) that measure fair and sustainable wellbeing in Italy.
Given that we know that the world will not be the same as the one we left behind us pre-Covid-19, how do we imagine the world? We first decided to act on Wellness and Happiness in convergence with our way of being, our will and our personal #Purpose. United in ELEhub, we bring our vision, our value and our uniqueness together, backed by solid competences that are constantly evolving. Our hope is to put people before processes, to help individuals to BE before they DO and to guide them with humility and skill, respecting their life cycle. As ELEhub, we promote the positive transformation of non-profit and for-profit organisations. Thanks to the Scienza delle Felicità (the Science of Happiness) and numerous American studies on the transformation of organisational cultures, we co-build projects in which the wellbeing and happiness of people are central: happiness understood as a skill that can be practiced, not simply as a spontaneous feeling.
We have evidence that happy people perform better in their working environments.
These are the results from major Harvard and Gallup studies. In companies that choose organisational positivity, incremental improvements in performance can be measured, and the data are surprising: there is a 31% rise in productivity, +37% in sales, +44% retention, +300% innovation and creativity. It is also possible to measure decreases in the most costly and negative areas of HR: -125% burnout, -66% illness, -51% turn-over.
What are the next steps? One must begin, without a doubt, with the company itself, with its history, with welfare and wellbeing measures that already exist. This is the assessment phase, and its aim is to identify the actions that need to be taken next. The assessment allows the company to take an objective snapshot of the steps that have already been taken and provides an overview of the potential that some initiatives have. This tool also provides an opportunity to investigate what the needs of the company are. We know that people have different needs. After the assessment, the real strategy is built together. The strategy considers objectives, processes, timing and the budget. It is possible to start by transforming the HR team, the sales team, the board, or the marketing and communications team. There are no privileged entry points, although it is fair to say that to achieve real transformation, the leadership team must play an active part. In fact, all models of learning, from the very youngest learners onwards, foresee the translation of skills and of what has been learned into actions and behaviours. Neuroscience supports us in this area and we are certain that there can be no growth or evolution without direct experience and the daily application of new behaviours. There are many tools to help people to practice happiness and to work in a team transformatively.
The result? Once again, it is possible to co-create common, shared objectives; teamwork is more efficient, diversities are included and it is uniqueness that enriches systems. Emotional intelligence, which facilitates relationships, is practiced and trust grows, while resilience is created. Working in positive teams increases engagement and a sense of belonging between colleagues and impacts the ecosystem (clients, suppliers, partners, territory, institutions).
Therefore Wellbeing@Work will become a mantra for the present and the near future that cannot be ignored. It is no longer acceptable to ignore the negative impact of emotional and mental stress, including in the workplace. For too long, we have accepted the damaging systemic effects of anxiety, stress, alienation and loneliness. Being comfortable within an organisation is connected to feeling comfortable within families and therefore within social systems, in the system that makes up the country. It has been demonstrated how positive emotions that emerge from inspired teams have a positive impact on financial results and company performance:
• the spread of a culture of personal BenEssere (WellBeing), as an achievement of the individual and of society as a whole;
• enhancing, within individuals, levels of awareness, a culture of respect and kindness, as well as the ability to use one's own resilience resources, all through contact between people, organisations and associations;
• broadening the horizons of all individuals who work or study, in order to spread a culture of caring for relationships, as a benefit for individuals and a value for organisations and society;
• offering a place to meet and socialise in the name of cultural interests, fulfilling the function of maturation and personal and professional growth, through the ideal of lifelong education;
• acting as a point of reference for those who wish to contribute, even in a small way, to the growth of their work and life;
• acting as a point of reference with a view to enhancing people's active behaviour.