Developing Positive Workplace Culture Through the Science of Happiness

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 11, 2020

[Editor’s Note: Wise Marketer believes that fostering a positive workplace culture will lead to better business results. As the C-Suite places more emphasis on leading their companies to a customer-centric future, talent development, training, and inspiring unique culture will become a more central responsibility. A large body of research exists that supports the links between employee satisfaction (and happiness) and customer satisfaction. WOHASU is leading the charge in the mission to unlock more productivity from the workplace and Wise Marketer will be covering the World Happiness Summit in Miami, FL on March 13–15 to learn more. In this article, WOHASU Executive Director Karen Guggenheim shares her perspectives on the topic.]

Increasingly we are hearing people talk about happiness at work as an antidote to employee disengagement, burnout and turnover.

We now have the science to support what many have felt intuitively: A positive mindset is a competitive advantage. Simply put, happy employees tend to lead to happy customers, increased customer loyalty and greater returns for organizations and companies. At the WOHASU Foundation, we have created a variety of programs and services to foster these results. One way to increase employee happiness is by creating a positive workplace culture.

The definition of a successful organization has evolved

The culture we create at work involves the shared set of beliefs, attitudes, and values of each individual in an organization, and research tells us that actively building a positive culture in the workplace is imperative for the overall sustainable success of an organization. Rather than focusing solely on monetary outcomes as the only proof point of success, forward-thinking companies are now expanding the definition of success to include the wellbeing and happiness of their employees, customers, and leadership.

Paradigm Shift: Happiness as “Preventive Medicine”

Various studies demonstrate that this new focus drives increased employee engagement, production, sales, and profitability. Additionally, happier employees tend to get sick less often, recover faster when they do, and experience lower burnout rates. Further, positive organizations tend to render happier customers, which contribute to organizations’ increased monetary outcomes.

Also Read: Happiness is Key to Employee and Customer Loyalty

In changing our thinking away from zero-sum games and rather investing in creating win-win scenarios, we accomplish business goals and improve the well-being of our workforce. Positive cultures give companies a competitive advantage due to increases in employee engagement and morale, productivity, retention, creativity, and collaboration. Research by Deloitte indicates that 88 percent of employees and 94 percent of executives believe a well-defined workplace culture is crucial to the success of an organization. This research also shows an unambiguous association between employees who say their company has a clear and lived culture and those who say they feel valued by their company and are happy at work. Ultimately, “exceptional organizations create and sustain a culture that engages and motivates their employees.”

Here are five tips that can help you develop a positive workplace culture:

  1. Express gratitude – Gratitude goes a long way by strengthening social interaction and encouraging pro-social behavior, and making your colleagues and employees feel appreciated and valued. When leaders express appreciation, it causes a ripple effect of gratitude and boosts the overall positivity of the workplace.
  2. Connect with company’s values – According to Dr. Sandro Formica, aligning personal and organizational values is crucial to the success of an organization. Invest time in exploring the value alignment between employee and organization. Explicitly communicate the company’s mission and vision, and recognize employees when actions align. Positive alignment can add purpose to work and help individuals feel more connected to other employees and the company as a whole.
  3. Listen to diverse perspectives – Listening to and embracing diverse points of view creates an inclusive and safe environment, where employees feel like they matter. When people feel that they matter they feel valued and in turn add value.
  4. Foster positive thinking – Positive thinking will help lead to positive outcomes. Reflect and learn from mistakes but do not dwell. Instead, focus on the positive aspects and see how you can highlight them moving forward.
  5. Create goals and rewards for employees – Data shows that providing employees with distinct goals will boost their motivation and engagement, ultimately benefiting everyone. Establishing well-defined systems for progression allows employees to be able to measure their performance and feel valued via positive reinforcement.

Leading by example is key

Executives should prioritize creating a positive culture in the workplace in order to help their employees thrive, and optimize workplace productivity and business results. This may not come intuitively to some leaders and managers. That is why it is important to invest in teaching skills that foster positive leadership. Such investment will prove fruitful as diverse, positive, and happy organizations encourage employees to invest more of their talent and time for the benefit of the enterprise.

At WOHASU, our passion for transforming organizations through the science of happiness is what inspired us to create the Happiness at Work Block and Pre-Summit Mindfulness at Work Workshop with Dr. Itai Iztvan at the World Happiness Summit, March 13-15, 2020, in Miami.  We have also partnered with Dr. Sandro Formica and the Chaplin School of Hospitality Management & Tourism Management at Florida International University to create the WOHASU Chief Happiness Officer training program to empower individuals with tools to transform their teams and companies into positive organizations through the implementation of science-based happiness practices.