According to Forbes contributor Alexa Thompson in “5 Quick Ways You Can Bring Positive Psychology To Your Workplace,” employees are the greatest asset of any business. When they feel satisfied and valued at work, they (and your business) excel! This is largely the result of positive workplace psychology.
“The driving force behind workplace positive psychology is the notion that happier employees are more productive, more innovative, and create a more attractive working environment.”
In fact, positive psychology affects the workplace so significantly, Thompson writes, “many corporate officers to implement positive psychology techniques in their workplaces.”
You can, too!
Positive vs. Traditional Psychology
Traditional psychology focuses on identifying negative things and resolving them. Positive psychology, however, identifies what makes people happy and strengthening those things. Positive psychology is the scientific study of strengths that enable people and organizations to flourish.
Dr. Martin Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania psychology professor, directs the Penn Positive Psychology Center. He’s known as the father of positive psychology and founded the website Pursuit of Happiness.
The website includes information, articles, and quizzes about improving positivity, noting that many studies, “point to specific ways of thinking and acting that can strongly impact our sense of well-being and happiness.”
Thompson’s Forbes article observes that many businesses spend significant resources building positive psychology in the workplace through retreats, training seminars, and onsite consultants. But, she says, if you don’t have the resources to bring in experts, you can start simply.
“Getting started need not be so dramatic. Executives who take things one step at a time—often introducing little initiatives each week—typically realize the same tangible benefits over the course of a year.”
5 Ways to Build Positive Psychology in the Workplace
Here are Thompson’s top five tips:
1. Gratitude—Be a role model! Make a point of expressing sincere thanks to someone daily. Employees will likely follow suit.
“Managers who make it a habit to send just one e-mail a day recognizing someone’s contribution, or executives who start meetings by focusing on positive strides or outstanding contributors, often find that a more positive tone follows naturally.”
2. Exercise—Provide opportunities for employees to work out, whether it’s a room with yoga mats and videos, group walks at lunch, or 5K fun runs. Exercise improves mood and wellness.
“A 2012 CNBC report on workplace wellness programs found that, of employees who regularly participated, over half said they were more productive; 40% said they were likely to stay with their company; and about 30% reported taking fewer sick days.”
3. Be Creative—Encourage employees to share their ideas for improved processes, new products, and better communication. Everyone wants to feel like their ideas matter.
“Encouraging creativity … starts with communication. Offering up as little as thirty minutes of work time a week for exploratory thought could send the message that creativity is valued…”
4. Mentor—Pair new employees with experienced workers who can help them learn about your company and its culture. This will improve individuals’ productivity and retention.
“Establishing mentoring relationships for new hires is one of the best ways to start fostering this sort of worker-employer camaraderie, right from the start.”
5. Educate—There’s a science to being happy, so if you can, hire a “happiness trainer” for one or more educational sessions.
“The Wall Street Journal [notes that happiness trainers] draw on psychological research and ancient traditions to teach inner peace, gratitude, kindness and resiliency in the face of adversity—of which there is plenty in today’s workplace.”
Positive Psychology in the Workplace Creates Contagious Happiness
Whether you implement an extensive, formal positive psychology program or introduce positivity on a smaller—but consistent—scale, you’ll find that it makes individuals and your organization more productive and resilient.
Andrew Soren, assistant instructor in the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology program, says that learning about positive psychology gives workers concrete tools to rediscover what they love about their job! “You’ll learn … how to build high quality relationships; how to set exciting goals; and how to bounce back better when things get in your way.”
Even small-scale efforts create momentum, Thompson says.
“In most cases, feelings of happiness are contagious: what starts with one soon spreads to a department, a division, or an entire floor. Before long, a whole company’s attitude has changed. The results are usually as clear in person as they are in the bottom line.”
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of workplace gratitude, engagement and appreciation, be sure to download our free Guide To Building Workplace Gratitude today!
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