Happiness at work is about thriving as individuals and doing well together. It is about how people experience their job.
A technical definition of happiness would be "people's subjective experience of the quality of their lives". Happiness at work then is how people feel about their life at work. It's less what they think about their role and more about how they feel.
As humans we experience a vast array of different emotions as we move through our lives (positive and negative), and we also have an incredible ability to distil the complexity of our emotions into a clear good / bad signal - is this experience good or bad for me? This is what a question on happiness on a 1 to 5 scale captures.
We suggest organizations use happiness as their people KPI – their Happiness KPI – as the one number on people and culture they track and report on at board level. This is because statistically a question on happiness is a very efficient way of reading the morale and culture of a team, division, or organization. As a question it "holds" a lot of the variance organizations have in their Culture Profile results.
At Friday Pulse, we have tested many different questions. Through our research and extensive statistical analysis, we have found that happiness is the best good / bad signal for predicting performance, retention, and creativity. It’s also a more powerful question than asking about employee satisfaction when looking for positive change and momentum.