The new era of positive psychology has yielded is an exciting time in H.R. The new kid on the block in positive psychology has been focusing on positivity in team environments. With this focus on building team psychology has brought employee engagement into the leading edge in terms of ways to build positive psychology.
Employee engagement is a productivity spark
The difficulty with employee engagement is that disengagement from tasks is somewhat natural. The way the brain works, with its limited attention span, means that distractions are inevitable. The important thing to realise, is that these mental breaks are not harmful to engagement, and factoring in these mental breaks for them can enable greater productivity in other working time.
Applying the science
Here are 5 key strategies to use positive psychology to maximize employee engagement:
- Reflective journals: Encouraging employees to write a reflective journal can help them to better visualise their goals through reflecting upon their achievements in the workplace and deciding how they can better achieve their tasks. This is similar to self actualisation.
- Meditation: the latest craze in mental wellbeing is “mindfulness”. This is one of the cornerstones of positive psychology, but it is actually an age-old practice harking back to Eastern meditation. So set aside a corner of the office, hire a guided mindfulness session to teach employees how to set aside their thoughts and focus on just existing in the moment, and allow employees scheduled time to practice. There are many applications to help with this, such as Headspace or even the Facebook meditation bot.
- Exercise: the benefits of exercise for mental wellbeing are well established. Increased mental wellbeing amongst employees will drive up productivity and engagement significantly. If there is no company gym, you can think about sponsoring employee gym memberships or hiring a yoga instructor for a lunchtime yoga class. Yoga has the benefits of allowing meditation time as well as exercise.
- Create a culture of Gratitude: This can be as simple as thank you notes or encouraging peers to be grateful with each other.
- Foster employee relationships: create a culture of peer mentoring a peer groups within your workplace or encourage your workers to have lunch or take a break together. Social cohesiveness is especially useful for a harmonious working environment with engaged employees.
Positive psychology, really?
Sure, some of the aspects of positive psychology in the workplace can seem a little fluffy. But the science is solid (1), after all, why would monks have meditated for thousands of years if it wasn’t effective?
It might not be all smooth sailing. Your employees may find it very difficult to engage with mindfulness, for example. If the implementation receives a lot of backlash or doubt, gently provide the science and encourage employees to keep practicing. Eventually the organisation will realise the benefits.
1. Hamilton NA, Kitzman H, Guyotte S. Enhancing health and emotion: mindfulness as a missing link between cognitive therapy and positive psychology. J Cogn Psychol. 2006;20(2):123-34.