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The Science of the Happy Workplace


March 21, 2017

The happy workplace drives creativity and productivity. That was the message from many of the speakers at the World Happiness Summit in Miami last week. The evidence from many scientific studies shows that some of what is believed about driving organizational success, like salaries, play a limited role.

The elimination of annual performance reviews by many leading Global 2000 companies over the past few years indicates that there is a shift in thinking about “human capital.” The shift requires “Human Resources” organizations to adopt a people-centric view. It also shows that “HR” cannot improve workplace productivity without effective leadership that creates trusted and safe environments.

Massive Employment Changes on the Horizon

This shift of human resource prioritization cannot come too soon. Increasing automation and the use of artificial intelligence threatens to disrupt work as we know it. This is the “future of work.” Economists do not agree on whether the new work system will result in long-term unemployment or not. It is clear that the transition to cognitive computing enhanced jobs, with the reduction in manufacturing employment and the rise of the “gig economy” will play havoc on wellbeing. Perceptions of job insecurity will increase.

Here are my curated notes from the World Happiness Summit:


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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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