Raising the Happiness Bar and Forging Financial Freedom for the World’s Workers in Today’s Economy with Sue Ashford & Ach Adhvaryu

Original Air Date Wednesday, Dec 11th, 2019

This episode is a part of the Positive Business Conference series recorded at The University of Michigan Ross School of Business where industry leaders gather to promote greater wellbeing and performance through connection with self, others, and society for the greater global good. To learn more about PBC visit www.positivebusinessconference.com.
For many of us, our work is essential to lead happy and productive lives. With changes in technology and the economy, work structures of the past are no longer sufficient to meet the financial and lifestyle needs of employers or employees. For employees, physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing is directly linked to productivity. For employers, productivity directly hits their bottom line. To find out how the future of work can be beneficial to both parties, Positive Psychology Podcast Host, Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with Sue Ashford and Ach Adhvaryu at the Positive Business Conference at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in this first of several episodes about promoting wellbeing and greater global good. Sue Ashford describes the good and bad aspects of working in the gig economy. And, Ach Adhvaryu shares the goal of the Good Business Lab which increases the wellbeing of front-line workers in India.


Does something in this conversation resonate with you? Are you in need of a professional speaker who can elevate your tribe & enliven your culture? Lisa Cypers Kamen is an award-winning speaker, author & happiness expert who facilitates life-changing presentations for organizations of any size. The science is clear, happier people thrive in life. If you are ready to inject joy into your organization, find out which program is best for you at Lisa’s Live Events.

Sue Ashford — Thriving in the New World of Work:
  • Sue describes a gig economy and the benefits and challenges it brings. [2:37]
  • The dilemma of millennials in the gig economy. [8:57]
  • The four connections gig economy workers should have to live a vital life. [14:14]

Sue Ashford is the Michael and Susan Jandernoa Professor of Management and Organization and current Chair of the Management and Organizations Department. Sue researches and writes on how to be more effective in organizations, whether that is being more proactive, acting more as a leader, or selling your ideas and issues. Sue also has spent the last decade researching how those who work outside the organization, on their own as independent or ‘gig’ workers create a happy work life. Raising the Happiness Bar and Forging Financial Freedom for the World’s Workers in Today’s Economy with Sue Ashford and Ach Adhvaryu


Sue Ashford Website
@sueashford on Twitter

Ach Adhvaryu — Wellbeing and Our World:
  • Ach describes how he ties the impact of worker wellbeing interventions into the impact on business outcomes. [28:55]
  • The types of interventions promoted to large corporations through Ach’s work include physical and mental health. [31:55]
  • Ach shares how the interventions and deployed and tested. [40:56]
  • In an ideal world, what would a corporation invest in its workforce? [45:08]
  • The Good Business Lab focuses on finding the evidence that backs the recommending of interventions. [55:25]
  • Ach describes the interpersonal relationship and communication skills needed by supervisors to implement interventions. [1:00:28]

Ach Adhvaryu is an economist whose research focuses on alleviating barriers to economic opportunity in low-income country contexts. He often works with large firms to design and evaluate worker wellbeing programs that have the potential to improve workers’ lives as well as improve business outcomes for firms. He has a Ph.D. in economics from Yale and was on the faculty at Yale before joining the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2013.



Ach Adhvaryu Website
Good Business Lab

To learn more about the Ross School of Business visit:

@MichiganRoss on Twitter
Michigan Ross on Instagram
Ross School of Business onFacebook
Ross School of Business on LinkedIn


This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio is sponsored by:

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Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life — A guidebook for learning how to harvest happiness through self-mastery. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now?

H-Factor: Where is Your Heart? — Lisa’s documentary film that explores the journey of human happiness. Emotions are contagious and happiness is a universally-desired state. We tend to forget we all have the freedom to be happy or the liberty to be miserable each day.


“The Gig economy really took flight with the last recession when people were being laid off and needed to find a way to take care of their family.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“There are lots of digital entrepreneurs who are digital nomads running businesses from their laptops.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Structure is our friend. As human beings we really need it. The order keeps us focused and in forward momentum.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“If you are just worried about securing your basic needs happiness or quality of life is not figuring into the equation.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Studies show most people wouldn't go back to their regular job in a regular organization.” @sueashford on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“The idea of the word 'Maker' is very attractive to this generation.” @sueashford on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“If you work in the Gig economy and you do different things for different organizations or you have work for one month and not the next it can give you a sense of identity precariousness.” @sueashford on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“If you are working alone every day, after a while it becomes problematic. People need other people for reassurance.” @sueashford on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“The wellbeing of the poorest workers in the world is more and more tied to how they are treated in the workplace.” @AchAdhvarya on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet