The Importance of Optimism in the Workplace for Well-Being and Engagement
By: Nick Shekeryk
Many things that happen in the workplace are outside of our control — how many meetings we attend each day, how our roles change due to reorganizations, technological malfunctions we face and the inevitable delays they cause and so on. How we perceive, interpret and respond to these challenges is up to us — and approaching such events with positivity can make them easier to manage.
Optimism is formally defined as an individual’s expectancy of positive outcomes. The importance of optimism in the workplace is having the mindset of seeing the glass as half full — and it’s one of the keys to boosting well-being and engagement.
• Feeling optimistic about the situations people find themselves in is critical to experiencing well-being.
• Increasing optimism in the workplace leads to healthier and more engaged and productive employees.
• Employers play a key role in facilitating an environment that allows employees to thrive in optimism.
IMPORTANCE OF OPTIMISM IN THE WORKPLACE
Approaching everyday life with optimism provides a structure for shaping experiences through a lens of positivity. Activating feelings of optimism has been found to help individuals feel healthier, more committed to and engaged with their work and less burned out. A recent Limeade study showed that people with high levels of experience activators — such as optimism, resilience, purpose and other markers of well-being — have less stress and better well-being, engagement and productivity.
While it’s important for individuals to bring an optimistic mindset to work, it’s crucial for employers to foster an environment that allows individuals to revel in that optimism. There are many ways for organizations to not only safeguard employees from low morale and burnout, but also facilitate an environment that encourages employees to thrive.
HOW TO BOOST OPTIMISM IN THE WORKPLACE
1. Celebrate the strengths of your people
A Gallup report states that more than 80% of employees are motivated by recognition that’s honest, authentic and personalized. Acknowledging the individual contributions, strengths and gifts of your employees may be a cost-effective way to boost work performance and morale.
2. Keep your employees informed
When planning to give feedback to an employee, communicate regularly about what feedback conversations will look like and how they relate to other processes at your organization, including compensation adjustments. With stress levels as high as they are worldwide, employees will appreciate the extra communication so they can know what lies ahead.
3. Normalize work flexibility
It’s important to give employees autonomy and the ability to control their own workflow. Evaluate employees on their performance, not the number of hours they spend in the office.
4. Trust your employees
Empower employees to allow decision-making opportunities — and provide explanations as to why major (or even minor) decisions were made. When you involve employees in decision-making, people are more likely to feel valued, trusted and motivated to be more involved.
Want to learn more about experience activators? Check out the other elements for a positive employee experience.