The following guest blog entry, written by Alexa Thompson who writes for an online resource geared toward students interested in psychology colleges and universities, discusses businesses that take their employees’ psychological needs into consideration produce happier and more efficient and effective employees. Combined with the Strategic Sourceror’s tips for business relationships, these suggestions can help increase employee engagement and workplace contentment.

When Psychology is Considered, a Business Runs Better

Today, positive psychology is recognized as a standard of good business practice – and company investment in employee well being is one way to achieve positive psychology at the workplace. By investing in the physical, emotional and mental health of one’s workers, employers are not only fostering favorable relations with employees but also recording impressive returns.

Education or On-the-Job Training

Workers who are confident and competent in their work are ultimately happier than those who struggle with day-to-day tasks – and happier workers create profitable companies. However, when business leaders pay for their employees to attend collegiate programs or receive on-the-job training, they are also increasing that employee’s human capital – the attributes that allow him or her to succeed, such as intellect, education, interpersonal effectiveness and creative thinking skills.

Human capital has real economic value, and many companies are more than willing to make investments that increase the capital among their employees. For instance, Jingying Yang of The New York Times recently reported that 85 percent of more than 1,000 surveyed companies offer MBA tuition-funding programs for employees who aspire to be business executives.


According to Anthony K. Tjan of Harvard Business Review, mentoring is one of the most effective strategies company leaders can use to bond with lower-level employees. Rather than an exhaustive, termed program, he writes, mentorship should be a career-long process that is broken into three equally important stages.

First, the ‘buddy/peer mentoring’ stage functions much like an apprenticeship that allows the new employee to learn the finer points of their position and the unique qualities of their company.

Secondly, ‘career mentoring’ partners the employee with a senior-level career advisor. This person acts not only as a teacher for the younger employee, but also an advocate who helps to “reinforce how the mentee's job contributions fit into the bigger picture and purpose of the firm.”

Finally, mid- to senior-level employees also require mentors – even if they often act as mentors themselves. ‘Life mentors’ serve as “sounding boards” for individuals facing problems or concerns unique to employees of their tenure and high-level position. Companies that offer mentorship programs benefit in a number of ways, including increased employee engagement, low turnover rates and time management.

Wellness Benefits

Many companies offer health insurance to their employees, but some experts argue these benefits are a poor investment if workers do not understand the basic tenets of health and wellness. According to a study by Principal Financial Group, many companies offer wellness benefits to employees, such as fitness center discounts, print information or access to online resources and incentives to lose weight and quit smoking.

Roughly 16 percent of employers surveyed by PFG in 2011 offer discounted health insurance rates to employees who participate in these wellness programs. Two out of five employees surveyed said that participation in these programs encouraged them to work harder and perform their jobs better. These programs also benefit the employer; according to the survey, companies that institute wellness benefits record an average return of 3-to-1 on their investment.

Simply put, confident, skilled workers are key to generating high profits and increasing company productivity. For this reason, investing in one’s workforce through education, mentoring and general wellness leads to benefits for both employers and employees.
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Maddy Miller

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  1. Glad to see applied positive psychology getting its due recognition. Thanks for the article.