Positive Psychology in the Workplace Sandie Tharp University of Charleston English II Nada Najjar March 30th, 2013 Positive Psychology in the Workplace It has been proven that positive psychology in the workplace can improve and enhance workplace satisfaction because employees are more confident and are better able to manage stress and adversity. Employees that are happier with their work environment are typically more motivated and are more likely to pursue growth and development. Job satisfaction is an engine that drives organizations to success and keeps turnover rate to a minimum.
An article from Harvard Business Review states that “a decade of research proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements” (2011, Archor). Additionally, the author Archor asks if there is anything that a company can do to affect employee happiness and should a company invest resources into happiness. One avenue to happiness is using training as a tool that can be used to help employees to learn to manage stress.
The first step is explaining the goal of the organization and how the employee contributes to that goal. Clear goals and expectations set out the mile post marking the marathon, by having clearly marked points of achievement for individuals or teams giving them a clear map to their success. It’s the manager’s responsibility to verify the goals of the team members, identify the common goal, and verify that they are in alignment with the organization goals. The King James Version of the Bible states “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs. 2:6- King James Version). On the job training is the adult equivalent to raising a child. Putting subordinates on the path of success by providing the focus of the organizational instead of having the employee assuming or guessing about what to do causing stress and uncertainty. The economics of happiness in the workplace means that happy employees can help achieve organizational goals more easily because they are ready to give their best. Companies like Google and DreamWorks empower employees to use creative freedom in every day decision making.
Google was a company that had to come up with a quick plan to reduce the turnover rate of their women employees because the turnover rate was affecting Google’s bottom line. In response, Google implemented a 5 month paid maternity plan, which gave new mothers the ability to take all the time upfront or to divide the time as needed. This new incentive plan reduced turnover by 50 percent among women and cost the firm no more than hiring a new employee. Google’s President Laszlo Bock, states “that if you factor in the savings in recruitment costs, granting mothers five months of leave doesn’t cost Google any more money” (2013,Manjool).
The new maternity policy that Google has implemented exemplifies why Google has become one of the best employers in the world, taking a major cause of employee turnover from a crippling weakness to a world class strength. Carolinas Healthcare is a system that contains 32 affiliated hospitals in North and South Carolina and is one of the leading healthcare systems in the southeast; Carolinas Healthcare employs over 44,000 employees. Managing such a large number of employees would be a challenge for any organization, but CHS has stepped up to the plate and has met that challenge and is leading the way for positive work environment.
During a recent employee survey conducted by Morehead and Associates, CHS ranked in the 90th percentile in the national ranking of employee satisfaction. Carolinas Healthcare System already has a reputation of being “An Employer of Choice,” recognized by the JD Power and Associates in 2011” (2012,Tarwater). This recognition has helped attracted top doctors and other medical professionals from all over the world. CHS concentrates on growth and expansion which helps generate excitement throughout the organization. Carolinas HealthCare System ecognizes that the employees are its most valuable asset and is dedicated to the growth and contentment of its employees. CHS recognizes that encouraging employees to continue educational growth will result in higher functioning, more competent workforce. Currently CHS offers an educational plan that reimburses employees for covered educational expenses and flexible scheduling around educational opportunities. Like Google with its maternity benefit, CHS has recognized that employees need and desire a clear path to growth and addresses this need with the educational assistance plan.
Many organizations recognize the value of multiple bottom lines beyond monetary profit. Today the focus is on providing an environment based on positive interactions, outcomes and sustainability of the workforce. Organizations have come to realize that emotional intelligence and understanding is what allows employees to create positive interactions with customers and co-workers. According to Psych Central “research has shown that employees who are fully engaged in the work they do, and who have a sense of intrinsic motivation, are likely to perform better and a have better work outcomes” (2011, Wilner).
To achieve these outcomes it is up to the organization to involve the employees and allow them to uncover their individual gifts and have the independence to use them for the common goals. Allowing employees to be involved gives them accountability for the success of the organization and a sense of pride, happiness and fulfillment. Positive psychology in the workplace can improve and enhance workplace satisfaction and have a positive impact on the organization’s bottom line. Companies like Google and Carolinas Healthcare understand the importance of a positive work environment.
Both have provided pathways to fulfillment, whether through providing enhancement programs or through fostering positive interaction. Firms must continually look for avenues to promote growth, fulfillment and ultimately employee satisfaction if they are continue to improve the bottom line. It has been said that cheaper isn’t better; better is better. Today a better work force is cheaper than a cheap one. By continuing to harvest the fruits of a cohesive team built over time, an organization creates synergies that have a much greater return than the firm invests to create them. References Archor, S. (2011). “The Happiness Dividend”.
Retrieved from http://blogs. hbr. org/cs/2011/06/the_happiness_dividend. html Bible – King James Version (1997). Proverbs 22:6. Hendrickson Publishers: Peabody. MA. Manjool, F. (2013). “Here’s How Google Became Such A Great Place To Work. Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2013/01/22/working-at-google_n_2526889. html Tarwater, M. (2012). “Employee Satisfaction”. Retrieved from www. carolinashealthcare. org Wilner, J. (2011). “5 Ways Positive Psychology can Improve the Workplace”. Retrieved from http://blogs. psychcentral. com/positive-psychology/2011/11/5-ways-positive-psychology-can-improve-the-workplace/