The Happiness Advantage

“If I get that promotion, then I’ll be happy”  “If I hit my next sales target, then I’ll be happy”  “When I gain my qualifications, then I’ll be happy”

Success first happiness second. We often think that happiness will follow success but research shows that the opposite is also true.

The Happiness Advantage is the virtuous relationship between wellbeing at work and success.  People who have high wellbeing are more successful in life and have many advantages at work. They are more engaged, perform better, are more resilient and achieve more than people with low wellbeing. Everyone can benefit from higher wellbeing – the individual and the organisation.

This course will equip your team with the essential knowledge and practical tools from positive psychology, the science of optimal functioning and flourishing, to promote a positive mindset and wellbeing at work.  The programme consists of a weekly webinar exploring one of the PERMA foundations of wellbeing alongside an extra session on resilience to help the team to feel good and function well so that they can benefit personally and professionally.

Session 1: Introduction to the PERMA model and the P of Positive Emotions.

This session introduces the core concepts of PERMA in the workplace as the framework for the course. We begin our journey around the PERMA model with the Broaden and Build theory of Positive Emotions and how feeling good has a range of benefits such as greater creativity, job satisfaction, wellbeing and a positive team culture. Emotional intelligence in managing ourselves and others, the dynamics of emotions and energy and how positivity leads to a flourishing workplace, by broadening our thinking, promoting innovation, undoing the effects of stress and building relationships and resources.

Session 2: Engagement. Engagement has two key elements – Flow is a pathway to optimal performance. It is a state of being ‘in the zone’ where challenge is matched by skill. And Strengths, which make up the Positive Self, represent you at your best and offer the greatest potential for growth. Applying strengths leads to higher levels of engagement, motivation and performance. This session will enable the team to get to know their strengths and that of their colleagues and how to apply them to strengthen the connections. Strengths can be leveraged to reach goals and resolve issues, their value cannot be over-stated. This session will give the team an opportunity to explore their strengths helping the team to bond and to facilitate more effective co-working in future.

Session 3: Relationships. Who’s on your team? Having a sense of ‘relatedness’ is one of three fundamental needs for wellbeing, alongside autonomy and competence.  This session explores how to have positive relationships at work by fostering high quality connections, characterised by emotional expression, flexibility and being open to new ideas and influences. According to research based on the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey, those people who have a best friend at work have 7 x higher levels of engagement and higher job and life satisfaction. How to build your network via the Strength of Weak Ties theory and Adam Grant’s new twist – the ‘dormant ties’. Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends based on the Gallup research, suggests we should look for friends to fill 8 vital friendship roles at work. Who is your builder, champion, collaborator, companion, connector, energiser, mind-opener and navigator?

Session 4: Resilience is the capacity to rebound, to bounce back from adversity, uncertainty, conflict, failure or even positive change. It is a core skill in the workplace and one of the pillars of psychological capital. The positive news is that neuroscience shows that you can grow your capacity for resilience. This session would explore the types of resilience, the pathways to it and share the optimism practices, that act as psychological self-defence and sit at the heart of resilience programmes. Positive coping, how to manage overwhelm, the ABC from CBT of flexible thinking and the ‘thinking traps’ that people often fall into when under stress.

Session 5: Meaning. This session explores sense of purpose and how it leads to a sustainable wellbeing. Finding meaning in your work lowers stress and depression levels. A meaningful life is about developing what is best within yourself; using skills, strengths and talents in the service of something beyond the self. Meaningful work is aligned with your core values and is about making a difference. The more meaning you have in your work, the more intrinsically motivated you will be to put in the effort that leads to success. People may view their work as a job, career or calling according to psychologist Amy Wrzesniewski, who has led the research on ‘job crafting’.  You can ‘craft’ your work for greater meaning by adjusting the tasks, relationships and perceptions involved.

Session 6: Achievement. Goals, a growth mindset and grit are the gold standard for success, along with optimism which we return to here. This session is not about the business gurus but rather the scientifically-grounded practices that are proven to work. We explore how to develop a ‘growth mindset’ culture and Heidi Grant Halvorson’s ‘Nine Things Successful People Do Differently’ such as ‘to-date and to-go thinking’ and ‘if… then’ planning.  The session would introduce a simple coaching model such as GROW – Goal, Reality, Options and Way Forward, to set goals that extend beyond the course and could be built on at the off-site.  This session will review the programme and explore the ways to make the practices stick.

Amy Brand – Global HR partner, Swiss Re

Veronica Scotti – Chairperson, Public Sector Solutions, Swiss Re.

“We worked with Miriam to create a series of virtual sessions on wellbeing and happiness, underpinned by the PERMA model. The sessions were engaging, inspiring, thought provoking and we got lots of unsolicited positive feedback from the team after every session.  As a global team (c. 35 people in about 9 locations around the world) going through the global pandemic, this was a wonderful way to come together, collectively learn and focus on our wellbeing. Miriam has been a complete joy to work with – she’s knowledgeable, creative, collaborative and is a true expert in her field. Nothing was too much trouble and she really shaped the sessions bearing in mind the needs of the team.We highly recommend her.”