DUBAI, 29th October, 2016 (WAM) — Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, launched the Chief Happiness and Positivity Programme for the private sector at the first CEO Happiness Ball, recently held in Dubai.
The programme is being introduced in response to the growing demand to bring the programme to the private sector, following its success in the government sector.
At the ball, Al Roumi delivered a speech in which she spoke of the pivotal role that the private sector and entrepreneurs play in supporting and promoting the government’s efforts to spread happiness and positivity – making it all the more important for the government and private sector to forge partnerships to achieve the vision of making the UAE among the happiest countries in the world.
The Happiness Ball was attended by Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy; as well as more than 100 executives, entrepreneurs, and investors from the private sector.
“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.
“The founding fathers of the UAE adopted happiness as a tactic,” she continued. “Our leadership keeps those principles alive today, as this affirmation drives the UAE Government’s programmes, projects, and initiatives.”
Al Roumi reiterated that the partnership and integration between the private and government sectors are essential for the UAE to achieve its ambition to become one of the best countries in the world by its 50th anniversary, as stipulated in the UAE Vision 2021, given the private sector’s influence and major projects.
”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.
Al Roumi noted that investing in happiness helps businesses grow, increases profits and raises productivity rates, as scientific studies have shown a strong correlation between happiness at work and a productive environment, which includes a study conducted by the iOpened Institute in Oxford, that details how a happy employee has six times as much energy as an unhappy employee, double the productivity, and only one tenth as many sick-leave requests.
During the ball, the minister announced the launch of the Chief Happiness and Positivity Programme in the private sector, in collaboration with the Wharton School, to add to the success of the programme in the government sector. The new measure aims to provide private-sector employees with intuitive and practical skills necessary to become the drivers of happiness and positivity in their organizations, and beyond.
She lauded the cooperation between authorities, institutions, and bodies with the National Program for Happiness and Positivity and their related initiatives.
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said: “The UAE Government is keen to spread happiness in all sectors and segments of society. This is a joint responsibility shared by both the government and private sectors – including entrepreneurs, institutions, and various entities. 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.”
Al Mansouri went on to explain that, as important as the financial aspect is for any business, it still ranks third or even fourth on modern companies’ list of priorities, while establishing a positive environment for employees comes to the fore. “We spend nearly half of our life at work,” noted Al Mansouri. “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.”
Matthew Bidwell, Expert and Professor of Business Administration at the Wharton School, gave a presentation that underlined the importance of establishing happiness in the business sector, affirming that a happy work environment helps employees enjoy their work and see the true value of their efforts – both key elements to increase productivity and profit.
“Happy employees perform better in the workplace,” explained Bidwell, “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. This is the key to doing business in this day and age.”
Bidwell established a strong correlation between job satisfaction and good work performance, as well as between overall satisfaction within departments and the performance of the company as a whole. “Companies with happy employees generate more profits,” he noted. “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.”