3 Ways to Promote Optimism in the Workforce

SVP of Marketing & Strategic Alliances

Creating a welcoming workplace culture within your organization is crucial, but what about optimism? Optimism could be the key to increasing employee engagement and unlocking a new level of productivity for your company.

Research shows that optimistic employees are 103% more likely to love their job — and optimism is contagious.

Here are three ways human resource departments can promote optimism within their workforce.

Team Up with Managers

Managers are a powerful force within your company, so use them! While HR is often held responsible for company culture initiatives, managers are the ones who set the tone for their departments and lead by example.

LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report found that 94% of surveyed employees said they would stay longer if a company invested in helping them learn, and 75% of employees would take a course their manager assigned.

The report also found talent developers proactively look to managers to encourage learning. That’s because managers know their employees best and can make learning recommendations personalized based on an individual’s interests and skills gaps. These learning opportunities help improve employee confidence, self-determination, and engagement.

Inform and Recognize Your Employees

Ensuring your employees know their role and how they contribute to the company’s overall success increases engagement and satisfaction. An internal communications plan keeps employees informed about what is happening inside the business and communicates any changes before they take place.

“Every department — accounting, IT, facilities, sales, etc. — has inherent value that ultimately accrues to the company's mission,” says Peter Dudley, Author and Leadership Coach at Gray Bear Coaching. “When people feel a sense of purpose and belonging, they will tend to buoy each other, and there is a greater sense of community.”

Positive feedback also plays a part. Approximately 71% of highly engaged organizations recognize their employees for jobs well done, according to Bonusly’s 2019 State of Employee Engagement report. That recognition contributes to an optimistic work culture.

Give Back to the Community

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a stronger sense of individual responsibility toward the environment and local communities. Deloitte’s 2020 Global Millennial Survey found nearly 75% of millennials and Gen Zers surveyed said the pandemic made them more sympathetic to others, and they intend to take actions that will have a positive impact on their communities. Seven out of 10 had already done so at the time of the survey.

Businesses that tap into that sense of social responsibility and create opportunities for employees to volunteer build more engaged, optimistic teams.

“Companies with corporate social responsibility and volunteer programs foster employee

engagement. People find greater satisfaction in their roles when they watch their company uphold its values,” says Bill Glaser, CEO of Outstanding Foods. “Work can feel mundane, even with highly collaborative teams. You recognize how valuable your work is when you see the positive impact it has on the people around you.”

Optimism Creates Opportunity

While the COVID-19 pandemic just won’t seem to vanish and news headlines stay grim, an optimistic work culture can change the way employees and managers view the world.

“The only way to make living seem contentful and something people can enjoy again is to inject joy and optimism in everything we do,” says Alex Mastin, CEO and Founder of Home Grounds.

“While it can be very easy to focus on the negatives, being positive will help your mental health and also help your work productivity. If you hate your job, it’s going to be a long eight hours each day.”