The Benefits of Positive Psychology on Employee Performance

The Benefits Of Positive Psychology On Employee Performance
The Benefits of Positive Psychology on Employee Performance

Traditional psychology has always focused on the negative aspects of human behavior and state of mind. It seeks to address the reasons for depression and find a cure through therapy and medication. Positive psychology, however, is a new branch of psychology that moves away from the negative and focuses on advancing a person’s mind. It seeks to strengthen people by bringing out the good in them and helping them lead a more satisfying life filled with happiness, significance, positive relationships, and engagement.

Positive psychology has arisen from extensive research, with the term first coined by psychology professor Abraham Maslow in 1951. According to Maslow, focusing on an individual’s happiness, prosperity, and well-being can improve their mental state. However, American educationist and psychologist Martin Seligman is considered the father of positive psychology, or, as some call him, the “Father of Happiness.” Seligman, famous for his work theory “Authentic Happiness,” defines positive psychology as “The study of what constitutes the pleasant life, the engaged life, and the meaningful life.”

The most accepted definition of positive psychology was coined by Christopher Peterson, who wrote, “Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living.”

Positive Psychology In The Workplace

Positive psychology has an important role to play in the workplace. In a 21st-century working scenario, an organization depends on its technology, which exerts heavy pressure on employees. Think about it! An employee spends a minimum of 8 hours of their daily lives carrying out the responsibilities assigned to them by their job. This exerts immense pressure and needs a stress-free environment to prevent a negative impact on performance.

Evidence proves that an employee’s mental health is critical to organizational success. This implies that a successful company does not expand solely because of its assets but rather as a result of enhanced productivity through positive human engagement in the workplace. The problem today is how organizations expect employees to be super people, creative geniuses, cooperative, and contribute to the knowledge and growth of a company while simultaneously performing their 8-10 hours of duties. This is more of a dream scenario where reality is different.

Unfortunately, studies show that only 21% of employees are engaged globally, with the U.S. being the highest (33%) and Europe (14%) lowest. According to a Gallup, survey, the global economy is all set to lose trillions due to low employee engagement. So how does one remedy this catastrophic scenario unfolding in a workplace? How can positive psychology reinforce employee mindset to be more productive? Well? Here is the answer.

How Positive Psychology Benefits Employee Performance

According to positive psychology, there are three positive traits found in employees that can impact performance, productivity, and organizational productivity. These are optimism, well-being, and personal strength. One major study found that cultivating such traits by applying positive psychology to employees can increase the performance necessary for a healthy organization. Research over the years has concluded beyond debate or doubt that positive psychology indeed improves employee behavior.

It Increases Optimism

Optimism is one of the pillars of positive psychology. Optimistic employees influence actions compared to pessimistic employees, who make situations feel helpless. Developing optimism in employees helps them deal with the vulnerability of change and enables them to carry out their duties successfully, free from stress and anxiety at work. Optimistic employees are more focused and controlled and cope better at work. Moreover, encouragement and recognition from management further strengthened and influenced performance.

It Leads to Job Satisfaction

According to research, there is a strong correlation between positive psychology and increased job satisfaction. For example, one study found that individuals who engaged in positive activities experienced greater happiness and satisfaction in their work. When employees feel satisfied, they are more motivated, engaged, and committed to their roles, leading to higher productivity.

It Expands Creativity and Imagination

Positivity expands the intellect, widens emotions, and induces creative thinking. Positive thinking makes people more cognitively efficient, influencing them to use all their mental faculties, talent, and physical assets, for better performance. Positive emotions help employees think creatively when approaching challenging projects and create long-term well-being and success.

How Positive Psychology Benefits Employee Performance
How Positive Psychology Benefits Employee Performance

Increases Resilience and Adaptability

Positive psychology enhances resilience and helps employees adapt to tough situations faster. Studies have proven that employees exposed to positive psychological practices exhibit higher levels of resilience in the face of workplace challenges. The employees handle stress better and easily bounce back from setbacks.

Encourages Teamwork

Positive psychology encourages better team cooperation and collaboration. Employees who experience positive emotions are more liable to become better team players and engage in supportive behavior with other staff members. Positive team dynamics lead to efficient knowledge sharing, faster problem-solving, and desirable project results.

It Improves Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is crucial for work satisfaction. There is no point in improving workplace trends; employees need shifting too. Employees like working in an organization that makes them feel valued and wanted. Engaged employees are not just happy; they become more productive, focused, and responsible for the organization’s growth. One Deloitte report found that organizations with high levels of employee engagement saw 20.1% growth in revenue over three years, 2.3 times higher than the average growth rate of 8.9%.

In a nutshell, the benefits of positive psychology for employees are:

  • Increased positivity
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Better coping strategies
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased resilience
  • Immersive engagement,
  • Widens cognitive thinking and learning
  • Goal-oriented thinking
  • Inclusivity and flexibility
  • Finding Meaning in Work
  • Increased motivation
  • Higher life satisfaction
  • Increased efficiency and performance
  • Self-awareness
  • Boosts Morale

Enhancing Work Culture and Employee Engagement Through the Cultivation of Positive Psychology

Cultivating positive psychology in the workplace for improved employee performance is the responsibility of every organization. Contributing to employee welfare pays incentives resulting in improved performance, engagement, productivity, and growth.

  • Job Crafting: Organizational heads and project managers can deputize jobs suited to an individual’s likes, motives, strengths, and passion. It encourages employees to explore and use their strengths to increase productivity.
  • Employee Welfare: The greatest advantage of any business is employee well-being. Research shows that employees want to be valued and feel significant. They want to let others know how their work makes them happy, satisfied, and socially helpful. Work environments that contribute to employee well-being through incentives of paid sick leave, graduate work programs, health care, bonuses, and vacation reimbursements do much to cultivate positive employees who are happy to feel a sense of belonging and significance to the organization.
  • Strengths-Based Leadership: Focusing on employees’ strengths is more important than trying to remedy their weaknesses. Adopting a strength-based approach focuses on the positive aspects of the employee to increase employee engagement and job satisfaction.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Organizations that acknowledge and appreciate good work cultivate a sense of value within their staff. Team leaders and managers can practice positive reinforcement by building a recognition-rich environment where employees feel supported and valued for their contribution to the company. Moreover, managers  can help build relationships, encourage employee feedback, and celebrate team performances.


Positive psychology in the workplace leads to a healthy work culture. An organization must establish a clear vision of its goals to help employees focus on what is expected of them rather than waste cognitive resources on fruitless endeavors. Inspiration, motivation, empathy, and reward from office leaders invite positive responses in kind. Using positive psychology to reinforce an employee’s mindset will motivate them to walk that extra mile not out of expectation of reward but because they want to. It is the ultimate work culture environment that contributes to organizational success.