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Happiness and Humans

Happiness and Humans

By Matthew Phelan
My name is Matt Phelan and podcast is for anyone who wants to positively shape the future of work.

We share research, data, evidence and the stories of people focused on making work more human.


Co-Founder and Head of Global Happiness at one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world: The Happiness Index.

Author of Freedom To Be Happy

Founder of the Happiness and Humans Community.


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Currently playing episode

Employee Happiness in the USA with Jenn Lim.

Happiness and Humans

Entrepreneurship & Happiness with Dominic McGregor
Entrepreneur Dominic McGregor at 21 co-founded the Manchester-based social media marketing agency Social Chain and helped grow it to a $200m turnover business with 750 staff in offices all around the world. Dom was one of the first people to hire a happiness manager to help support his growing business. Having floated Social Chain Dom has now exited the business to start the next stage of his career and he sits down with Matt Phelan to answer the following questions. What makes you happy Dom? How important is personal brand in business and can you lose yourself? How can we be aware of addictions like social media and alcohol? Is university still a good option for young people? How can people starting their career balance hard work and happiness? Please tell us about your new roles with a VC and advising the cabinet office?
June 21, 2021
What being trans can teach us about the importance of belonging and building teams with Gabe Barrett
Matt Phelan and Gabe Barrett sit down during Pride month to discuss Gabe's unique perspective on the world of work. Having transitioned Gender Gabe offers us all a unique perspective on subjects ranging from belonging to building teams. Gabe is a data expert and now works to help companies build teams in a Hybrid work world. Matt asks Gabe the following questions Tell us your story? How do you support someone transitioning? Is data scary? How do you build a team? What's next for Gabe Barrett?
June 16, 2021
Being an 11 year old entrepreneur with Femi & Grace Owolade-Coombes
Femi started his business journey as an 11 year old with the support of his amazing Mum Grace. Now at 15 Femi is a veteran of the tech world and we discuss everything from their mother and son partnership to building an inclusive culture. We talk about dealing with Tourettes Syndrome to training school children to code. I ask Femi and Grace the following questions What makes you happy? How do you work as a double team? What can employers do to attract talent like Femi?  
June 14, 2021
Employee Voice with Emily Franklin
Matt Phelan and Emily Franklin discuss Employee Voice and the importance of listening to your people. Matt asks Emily the following questions What makes you happy? Why did you get involved in the people space? Why do you share stories on your blog? What is employee voice Not? What is Employee voice? Why employee voice important?
May 18, 2021
Too emotional? With Anne Hsu
This episode discusses emotions at work and why they are so important. What are emotions? Why is being emotional associated with being unprofessional? How do you engage with emotions effectively? Should we talk about emotions at work?
May 15, 2021
Designing for life with Leslie Fountain
Matt Phelan interviews UX expert Leslie Fountain on everything from design, leadership,UX, motivation and designing for human life.
May 13, 2021
The Science Behind Happiness and Workplace Engagement with Clive Hyand
Guest host Susan Furber interviews Clive Hyland on his new book The Quantum Way. Clive's book explores the Science Behind Happiness and Workplace Engagement. What makes you happy? How does this book link to Freedom To Be Happy Why did you write The Quantum Way? What is in The Quantum Way? What are your influences?  If someone has your read book and become inspired what is the next step? Susan asks Clive the following questions What makes you happy? How does this book link to Freedom To Be Happy Why did you write The Quantum Way? What is in The Quantum Way? What are your influences?  If someone has your read book and become inspired what is the next step?
April 18, 2021
The Business Case for Happiness with Matt Phelan
Editor of Freedom to Be Happy Susan Furber guest hosts this podcast to interview Matt Phelan on his best selling debut book Freedom to Be Happy: The Business Case for Happiness. Questions include What makes you happy? Talk to me about the process of writing a book? Why did you write Freedom to be Happy? What is in Freedom to Be Happy? What are your influences? What does the future look like?
April 17, 2021
The 667th layer of hell & Product dev with Dylan Sellberg
Product manager Dylan Sellberg discusses the Human side of building tech. I invited Dylan on after reading his tweet  "My favorite part about building product is that I can be told my work is "unstoppably great" and "the 667th layer of hell" in the same day". I ask Dylan what makes you happy? what is a product manager? take us through the humans side if building great product?
April 12, 2021
Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report with Sope Agbelusi
Sope Agbelusi and Matt Phelan discuss the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report. Matt asks Sope the following questions. What is the report? What are your views on the report? Why has it been so widely criticised? Was there anything useful in the report? How can we learn from this?
April 7, 2021
COVID-19 Recovery & Employee Mental Health with Gethin Nadin
I ask Gethin Nadin the following questions about the recent COVID-19 Recovery & Employee Mental Health by Engage For Success Who are Engage for Success? Why is this COVID-19 Recovery & Employee Mental Health report important and why now? What's in it? What most surprised you in the report? What are you key take away? Where can we find the report ? “As we enter the second year of the pandemic, we should be thinking about how we can support employees in the long term. We are no longer reacting to a quick change in circumstances, so more robust, evidence-based initiatives are needed if we are going to offer real support.” – Gethin Nadin, Chair of EFS’ Wellbeing TAG.
March 31, 2021
Carers in the workplace with Julie Doyle
CEO of Longhurst group discusses the key role carers play on the world of work. How we need to support them and Harry’s pledge. This deeply personal episode has been recorded to help change the way employers think about their employees potential caring commitments. 1 in 7 of us will need to balance caring for a family member and work throughout our careers. I ask Julie What makes you happy? Tell us about your career path to becoming a CEO? What does "Improving lives mean" on a day to day?" What is Harry's pledge? Why Harry's pledge? How can our listeners help?
March 26, 2021
Employer Brand with Alex Ayin
I ask employer brand expert Alex Ayin the following questions. What makes you happy ? What is employer branding? Why is employer brand important? Is personal branding important for your career?
March 23, 2021
Followership with Carolyn Hobdey
We discuss the concept of followership and how it is important understand it in the modern world. This episode gives practical advice on how to escape toxic relationships at home and at work. Carolyn offers advice to those working as HR professionals.
March 19, 2021
Human with Charisse Fontes
Charisse Fontes is a visionary, founder, author, educator, and speaker that brings the message of high-vibration and humanity to the work she does. Her work has been focused on creating healthy and inclusive workplace cultures by bringing humanity in the workplace. ​ Humanity Power™ was birthed out of a much-needed workshop called 'How To Become A Racist', where Charisse took attendees on a journey from Birth-to-Racism while debunking common myths about racism. Charisse answers the following questions What make you happy? What is one thing you find yourself repeating the most? Is there anything you don't like to talk about? At the end of the day, what matters the most?
March 15, 2021
Employee Engagement with William Kahn
Following William's 1990 paper "Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work" an entire industry was created called Employee Engagement. William discussed how he believes his version of personal engagement is violently different to employee engagement and has been co-opted by the corproate world. I ask Bill the following quesitons 1) WHat makes you happy? 2) Did you invent Employee engagement? 3) Can you talk to us about your work on psychological safety? 4) WHat advice do you have for a CEO running a business in 2021? 5) WHat advice would have for a 21 year old Bill starting out now?
March 5, 2021
The Quantum Way with Gemma Shambler and Jackie Dyal
Gemma Shambler and Jackie Dyal discuss the Quantum Way. A new way of working that replaces the old command and control structures that are failing in the modern world of business. I ask Gemma and Jackie answer the following questions. What is the Quantum WAY? Why the Quantum Way? What are the Quantum 9? What have been the biggest challenges? What is a Quantum board? What advice do you have for others trying to implement the quantum way?
February 26, 2021
Avoiding Flat Pack Coaching & Nurturing Gen Z for Word Cup Glory with Justin Cochrane
Head Coach of England U17s Football team Justin Cochrane shares stories from his coaching career. Justin answers the following questions; What makes you happy? Are the next generation of footballers really different or do we just forget what it's like to be a teenager? What have you learnt from coaching human beings? What is flat pack coaching? What has been the biggest challenge in your career? How do you keep evolving and learning yourself?
February 23, 2021
Movement and Happiness with Hayley Chilvers
Hayley discussed the surprising links between Happiness and Movement. I ask Hayley the following questions; Please tell us about your career? Why do you believe movement is important for happiness? If everyone is busy all the time how can they make time for movement? What's the ROI of movement? What's the opportunity cost of not moving?
February 19, 2021
HR, AI & Employee Experience with Andi Britt
I discuss HR, Employee Experience, Quantum Computing, Happiness, Faith, AI & Terminator 2 with Andi Britt of IBM. Is it possible to have a thriving culture in a large company? What does good employee exp feel like? How can AI and Humans work together? how are HR leaders writing the rules of work in a pandemic? WHat will work look like after the pandemic?
February 13, 2021
Mind, body & chronic fatigue syndrome with Dr. Phil Parker
in 2014 my sister Marie Phelan was diagnosed with ME/CFS. It was negatively impacting her career and life. We then discovered the lightening process invented by Dr. Phil Parker My sister is now back to herself and is thriving in her career and life. Here is the story of Dr Phil and the lightning process. This is a story about the power of the mind and it's impact on the body.
February 12, 2021
What and Why B-Corp with John Brown
What is a B-Corp? Why B-Corp? How does B-Corp work? What are the benefits of B-Corp?
February 6, 2021
Art, science and happiness with Dr Fatima Maria Felisberti
What makes you happy? What is the connection between visual art and happiness How does being visually impaired impact happiness? What is the most surprising thing you have ever found in your happiness research? Why are you looking into the science of music and happiness?
January 20, 2021
Leadership with Minter Dial
Minter Dial discusses his new book You Lead. Your biggest asset in leadership is you. How can you expect people to trust and believe in you, if you aren't truthful and don't embrace your whole self at work? There is a need for a new kind of leadership; one that bleeds personality and rings true to employees and customers alike who crave authenticity. You Lead argues that business leaders deliver superior results, communities of engagement both inside and outside of the company and true values-driven success when they are themselves and come across as genuine.
January 15, 2021
Emotions, relationships and friendship at work with Ann Parkinson
What makes you happy? What are the origins of employee engagement? In Emotions and Identity please tell us about the role of relationships and friendships within the workplace and engagement specifically? What’s the most surprising thing you have found in your emotions research? What’s the latest research in emotions? If you were building a business case for happiness what would you include?
November 6, 2020
The World Happiness report with Lara Aknin
1) Lara what makes you happy? 2) Can you tell us about your research on giving and happiness? 3) What is the World Happiness Report? 4) Emotions are your thing? 5) What is the Broaden and build theory of emotions? 6) What’s your view on Emotion as a data point? 7) In your opinion what is the most significant data in the world happiness report? 8) What was your biggest surprise in the data when you were editing the World happiness report? 9) If a listener is trying to build a business case for happiness what is the one bit of evidence you would recommend citing?
October 30, 2020
Can soil really make you happy? With Associate Professor Christopher Lowry
What makes you happy? Does playing in the dirt really make you happy? How does bacteria in the soil make you happy? Diversity as an eco system ? What practical tips do you have about about food diversity? Can an office dog make you healthy? How can we use soil research at work?
October 27, 2020
Happiness and Hygge across the globe with Meik Wiking
WHat makes you happy? WHat is happiness? WHat is Hygge? Are there global differences in happiness for example the South Korea example you mentioned? Please tell us about your happiness museum?
October 23, 2020
Employee Happiness in China with Serene Tan
What makes you happy Serene? As an MD in China what was your approach to leading people? Do you think being a leader in China needs to be different to other countries in the world? As a regional director across APAC have you had to adapt your style from your style in China? In your opinion why are Singapore and China leading the way in female entrepreneurship? What is your one tip for leading people?
October 22, 2020
The early years at The Happiness Index with Roma Varma and Patrick Phelan
What makes you happy? What was it like joining The Happiness Index in the early days? What does Freedom To Be Human mean to you? What’s your favourite customer nugget? What’s the future looking like for The Happiness Index?
October 17, 2020
Wellbeing research with Sarah White and Shreya Jha
What makes you happy? Are happiness and wellbeing the same idea? What makes you focus on one or the other? How do you judge or know whether people are experiencing wellbeing or not? What is distinct about your research on wellbeing/ happiness? What is the most surprising thing you have found in your research?
October 15, 2020
Employee Burnout with Laura Giurge
what makes you happy? Please tell us about what research studies you have conducted into human happiness? Why do you think employee happiness is important? Please tell us about your latest research into employee happiness? What is the most surprising thing you have found in your research? If a listener is trying to build a business case for happiness what is the one bit of evidence you would recommend citing?
October 12, 2020
Nature & Biophilia with Tabitha Jayne
What makes you happy Tabitha? What is Biophilia? Is there a link between nature and happiness? Is there a link between biophilia and organisational culture? How can we build a society that reconnects with nature?
October 5, 2020
Career Happiness with John Fitzgerald
1) What makes you happy John? 2) Does the happiness of CEOs matter? 3) Is happiness important to your career? 4) Do you see a link between happiness and company performance?
September 29, 2020
Is Happiness a legal right with Louise Lawrence
1) What makes you happy Louise? 2) Is the pursuit of happiness a legal right to American citizens? 3) What do you think of the recent legal case in France where an employee successfully sued their employer over boredom? 4) In the UK What is implied duty of mutual trust and confidence? 5)How and why are B corps amending their article of associations? 6)WHat is the mindful business charter? 7)Do you think happiness could become a legal right? 8)Should we create a happiness charter?
September 24, 2020
Employee Happiness In South America by Pamela Teutsch Ortlieb & Rodrigo Rojas (Partially in Spanish)
25 % of this episode is in Spanish (translation is included)1)What is happiness? 2 How important is Happiness to employees in Chile? 3)Have you observed any big differences in the way people work across Latin America? 4)Do you have any interesting data on happiness at work from Latin America? 5) What do companies need to do to be successful in the future?
September 16, 2020
Founding & Growing The Happiness Index Globally with Tony Latter and Matt Stannard
What Makes you happy? Matt how did you build V1 of the happiness index? Tony, how did you start the happiness index as a company? Matt, can tech really make companies more human? Tony, what have you learnt from taking The happiness index globally? Matt S what’s been your biggest global tech challenge? Tony what is next for The Happiness Index?
September 14, 2020
The Birth of The Happiness Index with Gemma Shambler and Chris Hyland
What makes you happy Gemma and Chris? Chris how was the happiness index concept born? Gemma how did you use the data from v1 of the happiness index? Chris why did the happiness index become a company? Gemma how has your understanding of happiness evolved? Chris In your day to day role how is customer happiness used? Gemma what is the future of happiness?
September 14, 2020
Happiness and Brand Marketing with Brandon James
What makes you happy Brandon? What’s your view on the link between employee and customer happiness? Why are global brands using happiness in their marketing? What brands are using happiness well?
September 11, 2020
Employee Happiness, infection rates & patient mortality within the NHS with Professor Jeremy Dawson
What makes you happy? Please tell us about the study and the key findings? Why did you want to investigate this subject? What most surprised you in the study? Will you be following up the study?
September 8, 2020
LGBT & D&I with Margot Slattery
What makes you happy Margot? Is Ireland a happy country? Margot please tell us about the Irish governments approach to anti racism? Is happiness and LGBT progress linked? What do boards need to focus on to progress D&I within their own organisations?
September 7, 2020
Diversity & Inclusion with Kevin Withane.
What makes you happy Kevin? What is Ikigai? Why is D&I important to you? What does “diversity wins” mean? Are D&I and happiness linked? How do you build a happy and inclusive culture?
September 4, 2020
Curiosity and Storytelling with Nicola Pearcey
1. What makes you happy Nicola ? 2. In your opinion why is the happiness of employees important? 3. Is happiness important in storytelling? 4. Can a company balance making tough decisions and employee happiness? 5. What’s does the future of employee experience look like? 6. Why do you think curiosity is important in business?
September 2, 2020
Money and Happiness with Gethin Nadin
What makes you happy Gethin? Are wellbeing and happiness linked? Can money make you happy? Do you think their is a link between happiness and company performance?
September 1, 2020
Happiness & Performance with Malene Rydahl.
What makes you happy? You often discuss the link between happiness and performance, what have you found? What are the 3 reasons for Danish high wellbeing scores and how workplaces can become six times more productive and eleven times more innovative? What can the education sector learn about happiness?
August 31, 2020
Employee Happiness in the USA with Jenn Lim.
1) What makes you happy Jenn? 2) Why do you believe happiness is important for organisations? 3) Are American employees happy? 4) Do you have any good examples where companies have used happiness successfully in their business? 5) If a company wants to take happiness seriously what are your top tips?
August 30, 2020
The Neuroscience of Happiness with Clive Hyland
What makes you happy Clive? What can Neuroscience teach us about happiness? What can Neuroscience teach us about employee engagement? What can Neuroscience teach us about the link between happiness and performance?
August 29, 2020
Can music make you happy? With Norris Da Boss Windross
Norris discusses happiness, music, community, hope, Ibiza, leadership, energy, flow and rhythm.
August 13, 2020
ARBEJDSGLÆDE with Arlette Bentzen
What makes you happy Arlette? Are the Danes really happier than other countries? Can you explain ARBEJDSGLÆDE? Why do you work in happiness? What does a chief happiness officer in Denmark do? What evidence / data have you seen that shows the link between happiness and performance?
August 13, 2020
Employee Happiness in India by Raj Nayak
What makes you happy Raj? Is happiness important in a covid19 era? Please tell us about your work on employee happiness in India? Do you think the happiness of employees in India is unique to the country or are their local differences? How can a CEO put happiness in the board room?
August 11, 2020
Employee Happiness in the UK with Henry Stewart
What makes you happy Henry? Do you have rough days? Why is employee happiness important? Is there a link between employee and customer happiness? Do you think there is a link between happiness and company performance?
August 9, 2020
Conscious Leadership with Natasha Wallace.
What is conscious leadership? Do you think the happiness of HR professionals is important? Has HR changed much in your career? How can understanding human behaviour help HR? Is happiness important in conscious leadership?
August 6, 2020
Data & Research into Workplace Happiness with Professor Alex Edmans
28 years of data and found that firms with high employee satisfaction outperform their peers by 2.3% to 3.8% per year in long-run stock returns – 89% to 184% cumulative – even after controlling for other factors that drive returns. Moreover, the results suggest that it’s employee satisfaction that causes good performance, rather than good performance allowing a firm to invest in employee satisfaction. Alex answers the following questions; What makes you happy? Please tell us about your research Alex into workplace happiness? Why did you write Grow the Pie? How can HR and Finance work better at board level?
August 3, 2020
Happiness in the boardroom with Louisa Pau
Entrepreneur Louisa Pau discusses the importance of the company board understanding happiness. Questions that Louisa answers in this episode are; What makes you happy Louisa? Is happiness important in the business world? Is happiness in the boardroom important? How can a CEO put happiness into the board room?
July 29, 2020
Distributed Working with HR Director Marina Farthouat
Marina and Matt review the evolution of the workplace from the founding of Google, the .com boom, the 2008 financial crisis, the current Covid pandemic and discuss what work could look like in 2030.
June 18, 2020
Meaningfulness & Empathy with Minter Dial
Published author, business expert & keynote speaker Minter Dial shares with us why he thinks meaningfulness and empathy are an important part of business and human success. If you enjoy Minter’s take on the world find out more about leadership, brand strategy, and transformation at
April 14, 2020
Community with Ashley Friedlein
Ashley discusses being an entrepreneur through the .com bust, 2008 financial crisis and now the coronavirus virus. We talk about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur the 2nd time round, his new startup Guild and what it’s like to receive a legally threatening letter from Google.
March 23, 2020
Building culture with Shereen Daniels
In this extremely wide ranging episode Shereen and Matt touch on many aspects of company culture. They go very deep into subjects such as surviving Cancer at work, diversity, inclusion, building culture, 80 pop sensation Jason Donovan and what a modern business culture could look like.
March 5, 2020
HR in the civil service with Sarah Parrott
Sarah discusses changing career, going back to university, balancing life and her HR career in the civil service. She talks about impact and the importance of her work on others and how that drives her career.
February 28, 2020
Learning from HR Directors with Katie Jacobs
Katie Jacobs discusses her career, culture, people measurement and being a HR commentator. Katie covers her career as a journalist, what’s she’s learnt from meeting and interviewing HR Directors from FTSE 100 companies, her opinions on culture, & Employee Engagement.
February 17, 2020
Making business more human with Phil Burgess
Phil discusses selling encyclopedias door to door, toxic work cultures, sociopaths, the service profit chain and making business more human.
October 29, 2019
From HR to CEO with Clive Hyland
Clive grew up in a working class family in Wales where his family instilled in him the importance of hard work. Clive discusses how he turned his interest in human behaviour into his current career in neuroscience. Clive is an advisor, shareholder and head of Neuroscience at The Happiness Index.
September 11, 2019
A Career in Creativity with Pat Fahy
Pat Fahy discusses growing up in care, his creative career, entrepreneurship, suicide at work and the business world. Pat gives advice to others in their career and also talks about his career low, highest career moment and what he has learnt. We discuss company culture and how important it is to build a thriving culture at work.
July 5, 2019
Storytelling with Nadine Furlong
Nadine Furlong has worked on shows such as Made in Chelsea, Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity. She discusses the culture of working in TV, casting and the importance of storytelling. We talk about how she uses her skills of storytelling and casting to help companies tell their story via their employees.
June 24, 2019
Working in the Luxury fashion industry with Robyn Blake
Robyn discusses her early career vision, her mother's passion, and her thoughts behind company culture, data and brand. We talk about the companies she has worked for such as Vivienne Westwood, Selfridges and Marks and Spencer. Robyn also discusses how leaders such as Vivienne Westwood and Jeremy Jauncey shape the culture of where you work. This is a great podcast for anyone who has ever been underestimated in their career or for someone who is just starting out.
June 17, 2019
Wellbeing with Isobel Cripps
Matt Phelan interviews Isobel during mental health awareness week on growing up in London, her career in wellbeing, performance at work and advice on how to be a great human.
May 14, 2019
People centric brands with Brandon James
We cover subjects including marketing, HR, Big data, the future of work and career advice from Brandon. Brandon discusses the big challenges in his life and gives advice to others facing tough times in their career. We also discuss the different work cultures in different companies.
March 13, 2019
Human Centred Design with Gareth Dunlop
Gareth discusses growing up in Belfast during the troubles, human centred design and his career advice. Gareth runs and owns one of the world’s leading UX companies.
February 28, 2019
Mental fitness with Jana Dowling
Matt and Jana discuss Jana’s Arkeo story. Subjects include mental health, mental fitness, tech startup, bi-polar, investment, and what companies can do to help mental health and mental fitness.
February 21, 2019
A career in Sports marketing with Oren Bowman
Oren and Matt spend Valentines morning discussing marketing, advice for people starting their career, interview tips, the importance of company culture, happiness, sport, homophobia, anti semitism, entrepreneurship, finding love at work. Oren shares some amazing insights that I we hope will help your career. Oren Bowman on his marketing career from Chelsea FC to Saracens Rugby club.
February 14, 2019
February 13, 2019
February 13, 2019