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Do you have a friend at work? It matters to your happiness.

12 Tough Questions to ask yourself regarding Workplace Happiness

According to Gallup Organisation, 71% of American workers (as of 2012) are “disengaged” or “actively disengaged” from their work.  Surprisingly, Gen X are more disengaged than Baby Boomers (above 65 yrs old) and Gen Y (below 30 yrs old).  Those with college education and above are more disengaged than those with High School Diploma.  Perhaps not so surprising, considering that the Gen X and those with higher education qualifications may be caught in the middle management squeeze and unfulfilled dreams.

How do Singaporean workers fare?  According to a Bloomberg report, 2% of Singapore workforce is engaged, down from 6%. Global average is 11%.

Source: Gallup

gallup

Given the strong relationship between workers’ workplace engagement and the company’s positive business performance, employers should care that their workers are engaged.    What can employers do?  After 80,000 interviews with 400 managers,  Gallup narrows down 12 questions that all employees should ask:

Network upwards:

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?

3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?

5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?

8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?

Lunch-atop-a-skyscraper-631

Source: Lunch atop a skyscraper in New York

Networking sideways: 

9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?

10. Do I have a best friend at work?

Looking inwards:

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?

12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

From First, Break All the Rules, What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, Simon & Schuster, 1999.

According to the Singapore Kindness Movement, the latest Graciousness Index declined to 53, eight points down from 61 last year. The study polled 1,201 respondents in January and February this year, and asked them about their experience and perception of graciousness in the past year.

On average, 52 per cent of respondents said they experienced graciousness – defined as receiving, doing or witnessing gracious acts – in the past six months, down from 74 per cent last year.

Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, said: “The last year can generally be perceived as challenging, and the angst could have led us to accrue a deficit of kindness.”

Source: Singapore Kindness Movement, ST 9 April 2013

Take this in context with the Bloomberg report on a Gallup study in November, 2012 where participants were asked the following questions measuring happiness:

  • Had they smiled yesterday?
  • Learned something interesting?
  • Felt respected or well rested?

gallup

Source: Washington Post, Max Fisher

Only 36 percent of Singaporeans responded affirmatively to either the positive or the negative questions.  In the company of Georgia, Russia, Lithuania.  (Japan is much higher.) Clifton says one reason Singaporeans are so dour is their lack of satisfaction at work.   Bloomberg/ Businessweek, cites Dr Wan as saying Singaporeans take themselves too seriously, that “we don’t clap loudly in concerts”.

Are Singaporeans ungracious? Unhelpful?  Or is it a sign of a society with too many transient workers and going through much change.   Perhaps in transiting from Third World to First World, we Singaporeans need to re-learn social skills and how to enjoy life., smell the roses, have more time to small talk and ask about the weather.

What do you think about this issue? Drop me your comments.

What can we do to make Singapore a more gracious society?

Do we really want Singaporeans to be more emotional?  Or just happier?