Written by : Michelle McQuaid

What’s the Secret of the Happiest Employees?

Happy workers

And how can you learn from them?

There’s a revolution taking place at this very moment in our workplaces and it’s being led by employees just like you and me.

Fed up with bosses who drain our energy, jobs that suck away our souls and the financial uncertainty that cheats us of our choices, a grass-roots campaign underway in a growing number of workplaces aims to restore people’s happiness. And new data suggest it’s about to hit a tipping point.

I recently partnered with the VIA Institute to release The 2015 Strengths @ Work Survey. Here’s what we discovered:

  • 64% of employees now believe building on their strengths will make them more successful at work, compared to 63% in 2006 who believed they’d grow most in their areas of weaknesses.

Even when they have neither organizational nor supervisor support for focusing on their strengths, 49% of employees are still able to name their strengths and 26% still find the opportunity to do what they do best each day. Why are they bothering? Because it makes them happier at work.

Putting your strengths to work

We found that 70% of employees who report they have the opportunity to do what they do best each day—to use their strengths regularly—look forward to going to work. Not only that, but 78% of them feel engaged and energized in their jobs because they believe they’re making a difference and that their work is appreciated.

Most importantly, 70% of these employees describe themselves as flourishing at work over the last six months. How are they achieving these results, even when their bosses are not supportive?

Many are taking these three simple steps:

1. Discover your strengths

The best way to identify your strengths is taking the free, 10-minute strengths assessment at viacharacter.org. Then pay attention to your best moments at work – when you feel really engaged, energized and enjoying what you’re doing – to see which of your top strengths are in play so you know how to apply them in your role and in your organization.

2. Meet your best possible future self

Once you’ve discovered your strengths, boost your levels of optimism and self-belief by imagining what might be possible in the year ahead if everything went as well as possible and you were using your strengths each day. Journal whatever comes to mind for about 15-20 minutes a day, for three days in a row. Try to detail what you’d spend your time doing, what your colleagues or clients might say and which strengths you’d be using.

3. Create a small, daily strength-development habit

Pick a strength to develop that will bring you closer to the future you’ve described. Think about how you could use this strength for at least 10 minutes each day as you go about your job. For example, use your strength of curiosity to learn one new thing, your strength of gratitude to genuinely thank a client or a colleague or your strength of persistence to power through on a task you’ve been putting off. Or check out this free e-book with more than 70 strength-development habit ideas.

Are you ready to join the revolution? It is possible to feel more engaged, energized and happy at work. As these employees have already demonstrated, you just have to be willing to start using your strengths and doing what you do best–even if it’s just for a small moment each day.

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