For several years now, organizations have been trying desperately to improve employee engagement, but few have been successful.

Studies show that employee engagement numbers have barely improved in the last few years and the Engaged Strategy survey has also not seen an increase in NPS for employee engagement in Australia since 2011.

This stagnation in engagement has massive economic implications if one looks at the effect disengaged employees have on productivity, turnover rates, and absenteeism.

It is becoming more and more obvious that the current techniques used to drive engagement are not working, and if organisations are serious about engaging employees, it’s time they took a different approach.

This is where I see positive psychology playing an active role in not only creating engaged employees but also impacting the organisation’s overall wellbeing.

What is positive psychology and what does it have to do with organisations?

Positive psychology is a whole new branch of psychology that is focused on developing the individual’s strengths as opposed to traditional psychology, which revolves around treating mental illnesses and disorders.

Positive psychology is grounded in the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives; that we should cultivate what is best within people and enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

Simply put, positive psychology is a science that helps people flourish and perform at their full potential, both at work and beyond.

Now if we look at the definition of an engaged employee, it talks about an employee who is loyal, personally committed to the organisations success, willing to provide discretionary effort, creative, resilient under stressful conditions and has an overall positive mindset.

When you juxtapose the two, you realise that positive psychology and employee engagement are inextricably linked by their underlying goal of creating individuals who are happy, productive, optimistic, and resilient. From an organisation’s point of view, this translates into employees who perform better at work, are capable of handling tough business situations and are creative problem solvers.

On a personal level, positive psychology empowers people by inducing the sustained behavioural changes necessary to flourish and thrive, as opposed to traditional training methods that typically dissipate over time. This, in turn, creates employees who are confident, motivated and engaged.

Organisational wellbeing vs. Individual wellbeing

If one were to look at an organisation as a human body, then employees would be the cells that constitute it. And a healthy body can happen only when a majority of the cells are healthy.

This is why organisations need to start embracing employees as individuals and take a genuine interest in their overall development. Yes, job skills are important to get the job done, but if the goal is engagement, organisations have to train employees to identify and enhance their own strengths which includes developing life skills as well.

If companies choose to invest in programs that bring a sizable chunk of disengaged employees to the other side, coaxing them to be more engaged and productive, employers will not only increase their bottom line, but also boost employee retention.

Using positive psychology to drive engagement

According to Corey Keyes, Winship Distinguished Research Professor at Emory University in Atlanta and an expert on health and wellbeing, change begins when  managers start asking questions like: “Does your work bring meaning to your life?” or “Do you feel that you can express your ideas openly?” Keyes adds that, “These factors matter as much as paychecks to humans.”

Asking these questions becomes highly relevant in today’s work context as there are far more people in organisations dealing with emotional burdens than managers are aware of.

Positive psychology can not only help employees ‘deal’ with their work, but also go a step further and encourage individuals and teams to invest time in building habits and inducing behavioral changes that improve qualities like resilience, optimism, creativity, communication, mindfulness, and gratitude.

Introducing a positive psychology program in your organisation can be as simple as subscribing to an advanced e-learning platform like Potenti,a which utilizes neuroscience- and positive psychology- based practices to increase employee engagement, productivity and wellbeing.

My company, Engaged Strategy, recommends Potentia to our clients because it’s a science-backed solution that’s developed by some of the world’s top minds in positive psychology. Not only do we recommend it – we also use it in our office too.

Unlike traditional training methods, Potentia is an enduring online program that has a series of courses, activities, exercises and coaching functions. It teaches people how to think differently, to build better, more productive habits, all in just 5-15 minutes a day while costing as little as a cup of coffee per employee per month.


Potentia brings a fresh new approach to organisational wellbeing by taking into account the holistic development of individual employees. It helps employees to develop a positive mindset coupled with behavioural changes that evolve into the habits they need to manage their work and social life. The outcome is a healthy organisation where a majority of the employees are engaged and are committed to its success.

[Engaged Strategy is an authorised distributor of Potentia in the APAC region. Click here to learn more about Potentia.]