4 Ways to a Happier and More Engaged Workforce

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Are you a happy person, generally? Do you tend to have an optimistic, “glass is half full” demeanor and approach to life?

If so, does that tend to carry over into your work and workplace, or do you find that workplace pressures, stresses or negative cultural attributes drag you down?

I ask because I read a rather interesting blog on The Huffington Post titled 10 Things Happy People Do Differently. While obviously written from a whole-life perspective, many of the observations the author makes apply to the workplace as well. For example (quoting on the main headers):

  1. They build a strong social fabric. The Gallup Q12 assessment of employee engagement includes the question “I have a best friend at work” for a reason. Building close relationships with others at work changes the focus of projects from simply “work that must get done” to “work that we accomplish together.” It’s an important twist to happiness in the workplace.
  2. They engage in activities that fit their strengths, values and lifestyle. Don’t we all work much more efficiently, effectively, and  – yes  –  happily when we’re doing what we know we do well and that we agree with morally and ethically? When our company’s values align with our own, it’s easier to be happy at work.
  3. They practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude is much more than just being thankful. Truly “practicing gratitude” means we also step outside of ourselves and our own priorities to notice what others around us are doing, the great work they are delivering (whether it’s directly helpful to us or just generally good). That ability to look beyond the personal gives us all greater perspective on what the group as a whole is doing to achieve the mission.
  4. They have direction. Of course, having that greater perspective requires we first understand what the greater mission is and how we as individuals can contribute to achieving it. Companies of all stripes and colors have these missions, visions, strategic objectives, five-year plans, etc. The challenge lies in translating that for employees to personal, meaningful work, which has been identified through rigorous research as the primary motivator in the workplace, by far.

All four of these far more easily accomplished within a culture of recognition supported by a strategic, social employee recognition program that encourages everyone to notice, appreciate and recognize others for living the company values and contributing to the strategic objectives. Detailed messages of praise from peers and managers alike give us the perspective we need on the importance, value and meaningfulness of what we do every day.

And that leads to not just happy employees, but deeply engaged employees as well.

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What drives your happiness at work?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is senior vice president of client strategy and consulting at Workhuman, where he leads the company’s consulting and analytics divisions. His writing is regularly featured across major HR publications, including HR Magazine, Human Resource Executive, HR Zone, and Workspan.