Positively humming: creating a happy workplace

There are other ways to put smiles on your employees' faces besides giving them a raise.

There are other ways to put smiles on your employees' faces besides giving them a raise.

Trainer Sue Langley says there are many simple and free ways to make workplaces happier and, as a result, more productive.

Langley, chief executive of consultancy group Emotional Intelligence Worldwide, is the brains behind Australia's first government-accredited diploma of positive psychology. With consultant Mel Neil, Langley spent the past two years developing a course to help busy professionals foster positive relationships and environments.

With bosses catching on to the theory of an enthusiastic and energised staff equalling a better bottom line, the course is sure to be popular.

Here are some of Langley's tips to ensure your business is nurturing its human assets.

■ Celebrate the successes: Stop and notice what your employees have achieved and give them a pat on the back.

■ Be present: Try to use all your senses to take in your surroundings and encourage your employees to do the same. Being present sharpens your focus and helps you appreciate the little things.

■ Know your strengths: Find out what people's strengths are, not just what they're good at. Some are thought to excel at a task because they have been doing it for a long time. Tapping into your team's strengths will engage the team and improve productivity.

■ Get out there: Develop a sense of meaning and fulfilment by helping out a charity or community organisation. Your employees are happier if they have a sense of living meaningful lives.

■ Build positive relationships: Humans are social beings and need support networks. Encourage your staff to build connections and it will enhance their motivation.

■ Positive communication: Analyse the way your staff communicate with each other. For example, tell an employee you are happy with their performance and begin a discussion by asking them questions rather than giving a passive or limited response.

■ Set goals: Many people don't set goals because they are scared of failure. They make personal goals, but not for their whole lives. Encourage your staff to set big and small goals and make your own.

■ Savour the moment: Enjoy overcoming the challenges. The more "up moments" people have, the more likely they are to pull themselves out of the "down times".

■ Be positive: Optimism and pessimism are not permanent states, but explanatory styles. We can push ourselves into an optimistic style by explaining what happens to us in a positive way. It makes people feel better and it's a good way to talk to ourselves.

■ Gratitude and appreciation: Studies have shown gratitude gives a big boost to wellbeing. If it's reciprocated, it has a wonderful ripple effect.

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