When we talk about seeing people flourish, we generally look for signs of positive well-being, happiness, and a feeling of being able to succeed, but how might a team be said to be ‘flourishing’ and how can it be measured?

Is it a team that exceeds sales targets? A team that collaborates effectively punching out the winning strategies to scale and grow, or a team that follows process and is committed to continual productivity?

Beneath all these scenarios, one of the key drivers to help build and maintain a flourishing team is proactively supporting employee performance and engagement through harnessing individual and team strengths.

Flourishing today

Looking at ‘human flourishing’ in today’s climate, the turbulent pandemic has understandably caused many to feel a sense of uneasiness and worry resulting in low optimism for now and the future.

In 2021, the most read New York Times article was about ‘languishing’ – the weariness caused by the pandemic, which organizational psychologist Adam Grant described as “the void between depression and flourishing…a sense of stagnation and emptiness…the absence of wellbeing.

Back in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, a report by McKinsey noted that over 90% of executives they spoke to, expected COVID-19 to change the way they do business. This has certainly been the case, but not just for businesses.

Maintaining good mental health has been at the forefront of people’s minds throughout the last two years, and according to Google Trends, ‘how to maintain mental health’ was in the top 3 most searched health phrases in 2021.

Humans have had to quickly adjust psychologically and personally to pandemic life, as well as turn up and flourish to their best ability at work.  As we enter the recovery phase, the emphasis on workplaces to support the well-being of their employees has become more important now than it has ever been before.

Flourishing at an individual level

The heart of flourishing according to Templeton World’s scientific studies is the measure of one’s sense of meaning, purpose, character virtue, and resilience. Research is showing that to flourish means ‘living within optimal range of human functioning, one that connotes goodness, generativity, growth, and resilience.’  But how do we do that? Especially now?

Positive psychology points towards ‘flourishing’ being a holistic, multi-dimensional construct that can vary based on what is going on more broadly for an individual.

Interestingly, higher levels of fear are significantly linked with behaviors such as lower resilience, life satisfaction, and human flourishing. When we think of this in the context of today’s world, people are feeling more impacted by fear and falling into languishing rather than flourishing.

Employers’ responsibilities now go beyond ‘check-box’ wellbeing initiatives. Particularly, the role managers play in supporting colleagues compassionately to flourish at an individual and team level.

How can we support employees to flourish?

In 2021, Gallup released a workplace insights report and noticed a trend in employees who were less likely to experience burnout. Interestingly, they shared three things in common:

  • They are engaged at work
  • They have high well-being
  • Their organization has a strengths-based culture.

A strengths-based culture can help individuals achieve greater self-satisfaction at work and in life generally, by adjusting the way energy is being used towards different strengths.

Cappfinity’s Strengths Profile tool categorizes realized and unrealized strengths, as well as learned behaviors and weaknesses. Through awareness of their strengths, individuals can have effective conversations with their managers about what engages them versus what drains them.  Meaning individuals can achieve greater sense of purpose and set goals that support behavioral change. You can try the tool for free here.

Human flourishing is an area that has been impacted throughout the pandemic meaning that employers have had a greater responsibility to support their employees to flourish at work. Flourishing is a holistic concept that can fluctuate for people based on innate feelings and what’s going on more broadly. Strengths-based workplace cultures are one of the ways companies can support their employees to flourish rather than languish.