A recent study by research and analytics firm Gallup has revealed Singapore to be the “most emotionless society” among 150 countries polled.  Singaporeans scored the lowest number of “yes” responses to questions such as “Did you feel well rested yesterday?”, “Were you treated with respect all day yesterday”, and “Did you smile and laugh a lot yesterday” among others.

Singapore scored 36% (ie 36% “yes” responses) in the study, similar to Lithuania, Georgia (37%), Russia, and Nepal (38%).  On the other end of the scale, the “most emotional societies” were the Philippines (60%), Bahrain (56%), Canada, and the United States (54%).  This contrasts with Gallup’s 2012 World Happiness Report, where Singapore was rated the 3rd happiest country in the Asia-Pacific, after Australia and New Zealand.

The study has naturally attracted responses from Singaporeans.  Academics have found the results to be useful, but nevertheless flawed, in terms of how the scores were calculated.  Specifically, they noted that positive and negative emotions should be considered jointly, rather than separately. Also, they noted that more studies should be directed towards whether the emotions were due to personality or due to environmental factors.

Internally, the findings should give Human Resource Managers some food for thought, especially with regards to keeping employees engaged and happy at the work place.  Specifically,

  • how happy are employees? – when was the last time an organization health survey was conducted;
  • how engaged are employees? – how much autonomy and influence do employees have when performing their work, and how much ownership do they take in carrying out their responsibilities;
  • how can we drive more positive behaviors? – what can be done to make employees more interested in the work they do, and feel a greater sense of belonging to the organization and to their co-workers.

Organizations who have scored well in the areas of employee engagement and employee satisfacction have generally reported better-than-average results for employee attraction, retention, and productivityContact us for an obligation-free discussion on how you can improve employee engagement at the workplace.