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The Role of Positive Psychology in HR

By Sophie Archibald | 14 May 2018

This February we joined over 120 senior HR leaders from different industries to talk about Positive HR at the ELMO Victoria HR Leadership Summit in Melbourne.

HR professional's practices and interventions have a significant impact on the lives of millions of people worldwide. As individuals spend a large amount of their time invested in work, the practices of a workplace impact them considerably. The impact is a spiral affect, with people taking their emotions and experiences, skills and practices home. 

According to a recent Gallup State of the Global Workforce report, only 15% of adults in full time work are engaged. Traditional deficit-based HR methods may not be getting the results people and organisations need to grow engagement, performance, innovation and results. Couple this with the challenges of an agile and changing workplace, and we are seeing a growing demand for something positive in the HR space.

Positive HR looks at applying positive tools and practices, reinforced by the science of Positive Psychology, in the workplace.  The fundamental goal of Positive HR is to enhance flourishing lives, businesses, and communities by implementing positive tools and interventions throughout the entire employee lifecycle.

Sue was a keynote speaker at the ELMO Victoria HR Leadership Summit in Melbourne, and these are her thoughts on the role of Positive Psychology within the HR space.

 

 

Why do you think Positive Psychology is so important in HR and Organisations?

All this is really important, because it's also the stuff that goes wrong in organisations and often our job is to fix things, yet we know from Positive Psychology that if we can draw people towards it, if we can build them, then we are probably going to not have as many things to fix. So, it sounds really obvious, yet if we can build Positive Psychology into our practices, on a day to day basis; our leadership programs, how we recruit, how we select, the language we use, all those sorts of things, we probably won't have as many issues in the first place.

 

It is all about using Positive Psychology to capitalise on the talent you already have isn't it?

Absolutely! I mean, there are lots of things that you're really good at. Yet there are also some things that you're good at that you don't like doing. If I can capitalise on the things you do like doing that light you up, you're going to perform better, and I'm going to get better outcomes if I'm your boss. Really simple things, and it sounds obvious to people yet it's not always happening. So if we can look at what's flourishing, what your strengths are, what lights you up, and I can get you to do more of that, then potentially I won't have to worry too much about the things that are going wrong because we will be in a better place to handle them.

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Do you think people are becoming more aware of Positive Psychology in the HR Industry?

I think people are definitely getting more aware of Positive Psychology; our organisation are certainly getting busier and busier. So, they are definitely getting more aware, and more organisations are realising that if they focus on employee well-being and flourishing then they get the outcomes they need. The challenge is sometimes people don't know how to do it. They are bombarded with information yet they don't really know what steps to take. I always think it's the really small things and simple things like I've mentioned. What's the language in your policies and procedures? Can you make it more positive? Can you focus your leaders on the strengths based approach rather than deficit model? Can we do small things like change the way our meetings are held, and the language we use during those meetings? Do we start our meetings with five minutes of things we are grateful for as opposed to five minutes of what went wrong that week? Sometimes it is the small things that actually make a difference.

The Langley Group will be speaking and exhibiting at the next ELMO HR Leadership Summit in Sydney, 29-30 May. You can learn more about this event here. We'd love to see you there!

 

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About the Author: Sophie Archibald

Sophie Archibald

Sophie coordinates marketing for the Langley Group, helping people around the world use positive psychology, neuroscience and emotional intelligence to flourish. She holds a BSc in Psychology from the University of Exeter, is accredited in the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) and is currently studying the Langley Group Institute’s Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing.

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