“Workplace well-being” is an elusive goal. After all, how can we define workplace happiness when it’s different for every individual?
Dr. Martin Seligman’s human flourishing model aims to make us think of well-being beyond just happiness. Dr. Seligman, one of the most reputable psychologists of the past century, studies the mindsets, values, and behaviors associated with “human flourishment” to unearth how we can lead a more meaningful life.
His PERMAH flourishing model outlines the six elements that make up our individual well-being – positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, accomplishment, and (one more that we’ve added) health. Together, these core needs allow us to flourish at work. If we lack one or more of these core needs in our careers, our workplace well-being suffers.
For L&D teams, the PERMAH model can help identify gaps in your manager training programs and inspire ideas of ongoing learning programs. Because managers can have such a large impact on the employee experience, it’s essential they have the skills and emotional intelligence they need to ensure each of their direct reports has what they need to flourish at work.
Here’s a closer look at each of the PERMAH model values, how they impact employee well-being, and how you can train your employees to live these values every day:
1. Positive Emotion
Positive emotion gives us the right balance of heartfelt positivity to boost our resilience. When our employees are happy, they are usually more satisfied with their jobs, more productive, and less likely to leave your company. But finding workplace happiness can be a challenge for some employees. So, how can you help your people find joy at work?
Here are a few ideas you can propose:
- Create daily moments of joy by playing your favorite song, starting your day with a funny video, or sharing a virtual cup of coffee with a coworker before checking emails.
- Spend time getting to know your team outside of work by getting to know each other: singing karaoke, playing trivia, or sharing a good meal or drink (and yes, they’re all still fun when done virtually!).
- Start weekly team meetings by sharing good news and celebrating wins.
Engagement is our own familiarity with our unique skill sets and those of the people around us. When employees play to their strengths, everyone wins. Teams can collaborate more effectively and projects can move toward the finish line at a faster pace. However, knowing how to engage teams and identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses can require a certain level of emotional intelligence from managers.
When training managers how to engage their teams and play to their direct reports’ strengths, here are some potential training topics to keep in mind:
- How to identify unique team strengths
- How to delegate tasks effectively
- How to increase productivity
- How to invest in employee’s professional development
As humans, we feel a strong need to belong. When employees feel the support and trust of their team and manager, they can feel more connected and motivated at work. In fact, a recent survey from strategic consulting firm Gallup revealed that employees who report they have a best friend at work are more engaged than those without one. On the other hand, employees who feel lonely or isolated from the rest of their team are less motivated, more likely to skip work, and more likely to find another job where they have a stronger sense of belonging.
When training managers on how to build effective, professional relationships at work, here are a few topics you’ll want to cover:
- How to lead an effective 1-on-1 meeting
- How to boost workplace belonging
- How to have difficult conversations with employees
- How to come together as a team during tough times
Today’s employees want a job to be more than just a paycheck. They want a sense of connection to something bigger than themselves. While having a strong company mission can help, a staggering 61% of employees say they don’t even know their company’s mission and of the employees that do, 57% aren’t motivated by it, according to a survey from Achievers, an employee engagement company.
In addition to improving communication around your company mission, L&D teams can improve employee “meaning” by popularizing company values and introducing cascading goals to help employees feel more connected to your company culture and understand how their role contributes to your business’ overall success.
A sense of accomplishment and achievement plays a crucial role in job satisfaction. Unfortunately, that same Achievers study found that one in two employees don’t feel recognized for their accomplishments at work. In order to have a strong sense of workplace well-being, employees need to know and hear that their work matters and makes a difference at your company.
Here are some topics you can cover with managers to improve employee recognition and help their teammates grow professionally:
- How to set effective goals
- How to embrace failure and learn from mistakes
- How to share effective feedback
- How to recognize employee contributions
Lastly, our physical health plays a huge role in our well-being. When we eat well, stay active, and prioritize sleep, our bodies and minds stay healthy so we are ready to take on the workday.
While many teams continue to work remotely, it’s crucial to remind employees to make time for themselves each day to avoid burnout. This might look like taking a stretch break, going for a walk, eating lunch away from our desks, or taking a much-needed vacation. Ensure your employees have the resources and support they need to prioritize work-life balance.
That said, remember that a health-first mindset must come from the top-down. Encourage managers to only send emails during work hours, unplug when they’re out of the office, and encourage their teams to adopt healthy working habits.
When it comes to building a company culture that prioritizes employee well-being, it is imperative to have a strong manager training program in place. Managers play a crucial role in shaping the employee experience at any company, but without the skills and knowledge to identify employee needs and challenges, they can do more harm than good.
Looking to step up your people leader training programs? Let’s talk.