Are you happy at work and in life?

Evoke Potential, LLC Newsletter – Vol: 2 – August 2012

Are you happy at work and in life?  Why happy employees are better employees and what you can do to boost your level of happiness.

Source: Harvard Business Review – “Creating Sustainable Performance” by Gretchen Spreitzer and Christine Porath and “The Science Behind the Smile” An interview with Daniel Gilbert by Gardiner Morse

Why should you care about happiness at work? Happy employees produce more than unhappy ones over the long term. They routinely show up at work, they’re less likely to quit, they go above and beyond the call of duty, and they attract people who are just as committed to the job.

Employees who are not just happy, but thriving, are highly energized, deliver results, and find ways to grow.


Two key components of thriving:

  1. Vitality – the sense of being alive, passionate, and excited.
  2. Learning – the growth that comes from gaining new knowledge and skills.

One study found that thriving employees had:

  • 16% better overall performance (as reported by their managers)
  • 125% less burnout (self-reported) than their peers
  • 32% more commitment to the organization
  • 46% more job satisfaction

They also missed much less work and reported significantly fewer doctor visits, which meant health care savings and less lost time for the company.

Artwork: Yue Minjun, Untitled,2005, watercolor on paper

How can you help employees thrive at work?

  1. Provide decision-making discretion – Employees
    with the ability to make decisions that affect
    their work have a greater sense of control and more
    opportunities for learning.
  2. Share information – People can contribute more effectively when they understand how their work fits with the organization’s mission and strategy.
  3. Minimize incivility – Those who have been the targets of bad behavior are likely to be uncivil themselves and tend to narrow their focus to avoid risks—losing opportunities to learn in the process.
  4. Offer performance feedback – Feedback creates opportunities for learning and keeps people’s work-related activities focused on goals. The quicker and more direct the feedback, the more useful it is.

What can you do to enhance your own learning and vitality at work?

  1. Take a break – Breaks and other renewal tactics, no matter how small, can create positive energy.
  2. Craft your own work to be more meaningful – You can’t ignore the requirements of your job, but you can watch for opportunities to make it more meaningful.
  3. Look for opportunities to innovate and learn – Breaking out of the status quo can trigger the learning essential to thriving.
  4. Invest in relationships that energize you – Look for opportunities to work closely with colleagues who generate energy and minimize interaction with those who deplete it.
  5. Recognize that thriving can spill over outside the office – People inspired by outside activities—volunteering, training for a race, taking a class—can bring their drive back to the office

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