August 16, 2017 · 5 min read
Prioritize your way to greater success.
August 16, 2017
Let’s define terms, the words “positive work culture” are thrown around pretty loosely these days, but it actually does have a specific definition that will help you understand where your company is at now, and where it should be going.
To define positive work culture, we first must define Positive Psychology, because “positive work culture” is simply Positive Psychology applied at the workplace. It is defined as “the scientific study of human flourishing, and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities and organizations to thrive” (Gable & Haidt, 2005, Sheldon & King, 2001).
It’s not just “happy-ology,” and though it has become very popular in recent years it’s not another touchy-feely fad. Positive Psychology is the science of how and when people flourish (Robert Biswas-Diener, 2008). It’s grounded in the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within them, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play (Positive Psychology Center, 2016).
In short, the academic research shows exactly what we might expect. That having a positive work culture is going to bring the best out of people, and result in happier, more productive business.
A Gallup poll showed that, even when workplaces offered benefits such as flex time and work-from-home opportunities, engagement predicted well-being above and beyond anything else. Employees prefer workplace well-being to material benefits.
Well-being comes from one place, and one place only — a positive culture. In short, a positive culture is one where individuals are engaged and valued.
What can you do to bring up the positivity in your office? According to Keyes & Haidt, 2004 There are 4 major principles that Positive Psychology rests upon. Below are the 4 principles and how to apply them to your office for an unbeatable culture.
A person’s ability to rise to a challenge is greatly dependant on how much they fear failure. If you make it an official company value to view failures as learning opportunities rather than something to be ashamed of, people will be free to aim higher and not falter when things get rough. So without judgment, discuss failures openly and often.
Encourage team building and non-work activities. Social connection at work has been proven to improve well-being and satisfaction. Hold regular team-building activities, happy hours, and creative workshops in the office to create shared experiences between coworkers. See How to throw the perfect happy hour for inspiration!
Finding meaning at work is inexorably tied to finding happiness at work. “Increasing a sense of meaningfulness at work is one of the most potent–and underutilized–ways to increase productivity, engagement, and performance.” said Fast Company in an article about workplace satisfaction. Make sure your speak to your employees about the why and not only the what of their jobs, on a daily basis if possible.
Building on the last point and finding meaning, an equally important part of this is to make yours a culture of helping. Set up a programs that teach how to use the art of giving to increase resilience, health, performance, and sustained creativity and productivity. You can start by watching this ted talk called “the Giver’s Glow” by our expert speaker, Stephen Garrard Post.