5 Simple Things Needed For Your Employees To Thrive

5 Simple Things Needed For Your Employees To Thrive

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A thriving workforce, with engaged employees who love their job and feel a sense of purpose at work – sounds like a tall order, right?

Luckily, a new report has uncovered not only the benefits of a thriving workforce, but also the 5 key building blocks you need in place.

And organisations in the research have proven that when employees experience these 5 characteristics, the whole organisation thrives as well.

The SHRM Foundation, in collaboration with Globoforce, released a report, “Creating a More Human Workplace Where Employees and Business Thrive.

This 51-page goldmine of research was authored by Christine Porath, author of Mastering Civility and The Cost of Bad Behaviour.

Her research looks into workplace incivility and its negative effects, and how organisations can create a more constructive environment.

The report illustrates that, if companies want more productive and engaged employees, and the business outcomes that go along with that, they will need to move to the new era of human and caring workplaces.

Leaders need to create a culture where employees go beyond just succeeding, to thriving.

When employees thrive, not only does job performance improve, the research shows they then go above and beyond the call of duty.

Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately, it may be more difficult than it seems, as getting to the promised land of a thriving human-focused business is countercultural to the business environment where the customer is king.

The study revealed, “Organisations that succeed put their own people first–even above customers–because they recognise that their employees are the key to creating long-term value.

The 5 Characteristics of a Thriving Work Force

According to the report, “A thriving work force means greater engagement of each employee’s physical, cognitive, and emotional energies,” which then boosts the employee’s feelings of happiness and purpose.

This may sound a little too much like company welfare, but the organisations in the research have proven that when employees experience these 5 characteristics, the whole organisation thrives as well.

1. Vitality

The first characteristic – vitality – is described in the report as being energetic, passionate, and alive at work.

Vitality will also spread by sparking energy and productivity between employees as it is contagious.

In a separate HBR article, Porath says, “Companies generate vitality by giving people the sense that what they do on a daily basis makes a difference.”

She also describes how vitality alone though can be damaging and must be backed up by the next characteristic – learning.

2. Learning

Be it career progression or mastering their current role, thriving employees seek opportunities for learning and developing. They want to experiment with new ideas and develop new skills.

When employees feel they are developing, a cycle of growth begins and is self-perpetuating.

Leaders need understand their teams to identify what learning and development path suits each employee.

Some people will thrive in one role, seeking to master their current skills rather than climb a ladder. Others would prefer more transferrable skills that can help them move along their career path.

The report recognises that one of the ways of doing this is to increase the frequency of open, two-way feedback to improve opportunities for learning.

Porath says, Good feedback builds feelings of thriving because it helps people know where they stand in terms of their skills, competencies and performance.”

3. Health

Health is the area where a thriving workforce has the greatest positive impact.

The report states, “Thriving employees tend to be healthier, reporting fewer physical complaints, far fewer doctor visits, and less burnout.”

As well as the impact of physical health, the report also highlights the benefits of psychological health that come from establishing high-quality human connections.

Greater cognitive functioning, increased learning, more resiliency and improved commitment, all come from improved psychological health.

One method for improving human connections among employees is by giving them a language and a framework to understand and navigate their differing styles and behaviours.

Using tools like PI and PLI across the organisation and for conversations around resourcing, development and career planning, can be a very effective way of building those high-quality connections.

4. Effective leadership

Thriving isn’t only for employees; leadership teams benefit as well.

The research found that thriving leaders were rated 17% more effective than leaders who reported lower levels of thriving.

When leaders thrive, they create an environment that allows their team to feel motivated. Even a simple offering of praise from a leader can spur on their employees.

The report stated, “Offering a simple and genuine “thank you” can improve others’ confidence, improve relationships and enhance others’ trust. Research has shown that it also lowers stress.”

5. Work-life balance

The positive energy of thriving at work will often spill over into one’s personal life and vice versa. The report states, “Thriving in nonwork activities seems to build up resources that people bring to their work.”

Although some employees thrive naturally, the majority need to work in a caring, human workplace to thrive, and this is where HR can have a significant impact.

What to expect from a thriving workforce

In the study, white-collar employees who thrived were reported to be:

  • 32% more committed to their job
  • 72% more satisfied with their job
  • 1.25 times less burned out

Blue-collar employees did even better. They were:

  • 37% better on a team
  • 89% better on innovation
  • 39% better in a safety performance
  • 79% more committed to the organisation

Ultimately, the report demonstrates that organisations can achieve the most valuable outcomes by focusing on one key strategy: creating a more human, caring workplace.

People respond positively when they feel cared for and valued.

There’s a clear competitive advantage in doing so, as it increases performance and business outcomes.

With thriving employees who experience vitality, learning, good health, effective leadership and positive work/life balance, organisations can look forward to improved performance and sustainability.

Have you ever had a workplace where you thrive?

Do your leadership teams promote vitality and thriving in your workforce?

We’d love to hear from you, please share your experiences below.

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