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Top Executive Talks | The Thanyapura Happiness Survey

The Thanyapura Happiness Survey

By Philipp Graf von Hardenberg, Chairman & President Thanyapura Group

If we want to improve opportunities in the employee’s journeys in our companies, we need to conduct surveys to be able to measure the effectiveness of our policies, our payment and benefit systems or the tools we use to constantly improve the company culture.

For me, it is very clear, that most human resource, leadership and management systems, which we all know from the past, are not working effectively any longer in today’s environment. Companies, which only focus on productivity, on profitability, which do not respect the individual employee, with poor planning and internal communication will not keep the young generation on-board. They will experience a huge turn-over, which is not only bad for the moral of the entire workforce, but for the quality of products and services. The old hierarchy management system is dead!

Many companies in the service industry claim that their employees are their most important assets, but then spend more money on new construction or new gadgets without investing sufficient energy and resources into their people.

Especially in the hospitality industry, it is very important to develop breath-taking facilities and spend millions in design and equipment because of the fierce competition in most locations, but still the people who work in these resorts, hotels, or restaurants are much more important than ‘gilded faucets’.

Besides developing a company culture which takes care of individual rights, fair treatments, equality, and many other important aspects of human basic expectations, I believe that understanding everyone’s HAPPINESS is one of the most important tasks for a well-functioning culture.

All people dream of being happy.  As responsible leaders, it is our duty to create an environment in our companies which fosters ‘Happiness’. And to make this realistic, we first have to define Happiness in our organizations – find a common understanding what we believe is most important for Happiness for the entire team. Thanyapura’s definition of Happiness has three major headlines:

  1. A Healthy Body
  1. A Balanced Mind
  1. A Good Heart

And if we are convinced, that happy people give better service, be more productive, be healthier or develop a stronger loyalty, we better find a way to measure Happiness in our companies.

Several years ago I learned about the Happiness Survey in Bhutan. The Buddhist country covered 71% by forest with no significant industry was always last in global GDP (gross domestic product) surveys with no chance for improvement. As a result, the King declared in 1972 that ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH) would be much more important for the country than GDP. This was the start of the ‘Happiness Survey’.

I invited the director of the program to Thanyapura to explain the concept and details of the survey to the entire leadership team. After intensive discussions regarding the immense project, we decided to position the ‘Thanyapura Happiness Survey’ as a central part of our talent culture.

The anonymous Thanyapura Happiness Survey has 9 domains (same like Bhutan). For each domain we came up 3 strong statements, which either focus on the company culture and the daily work, or on not company related issues of the lives of our employees. The employees choose a number between 1 (low) and 10 (high) to rate their personal feelings and situation.

The domains are:

  1. Psychological well-being
  1. Health
  1. Education
  1. Time use
  1. Cultural diversity and resilience
  1. Good governance
  1. Community vitality
  1. Ecological diversity and resilience
  1. Living standards

We conducted the first survey about 9 months later with amazing results. We learned, where we were doing a good job as leaders and employers, but as well, where we had to improve with a lot of work before us. We also gained a lot of materials to integrate into teachings, seminars and individual coaching.

Thanyapura Sports & Health Resorts in China will implement the Happiness Survey in all of our resorts and hotels, as we are strongly convinced, that providing excellent service is best done by happy team members.