You’ve probably heard about the value of Social Capital and Human Capital at work, but there’s one more ‘capital’ that is increasingly becoming useful in the future of work; Psychological Capital (PsyCap).
From the researchers at Gallup (makers of the ever-popular Strengths Finder) comes data that shows individuals with high levels of psychological capital have higher levels of job satisfaction and performance.
The textbook definition of Psychological Capital is an “individual’s positive psychological state of development” (Fred Luthans, et al., 2007), characterised by high levels of resilience, hope, optimism, and self-efficacy.
We asked Transitioning Well psychologist Vanessa Miles, who facilitates our Team Dynamics (PsyCap) workshop, to explain how this can benefit workers and their managers.
“PsyCap refers to the internal psychological resources people can draw on when trying to achieve a goal or facing a challenge,” says Miles. “Put simply, if people are high in the resources that make up PsyCap, they usually perform and function better at work.”
Research shows individuals high in PsyCap are more likely to thrive at work, but when you develop PsyCap within teams, you get a dual effect, says Miles.
“Not only do the teams show enhanced performance, satisfaction, and belonging, but their individual PsyCap increases too — it’s better bang for your buck.”
Four pillars make up PsyCap – these are known as the acronym HERO: Hope, (Self) Efficacy, Resilience, and Optimism.
In a nutshell, positive psychological capital contributes to better job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and team dynamics, which ultimately leads to better engagement and retention.
More than ever, people want to find meaning in their work, and PsyCap can serve as a helpful reminder of the organisation’s role and how people’s actions within it are meaningful.
According to Miles, PsyCap team training can be helpful for “blowing out the cobwebs” from the last two years. For managers, it can help your reports with fixed mindsets or those who may be feeling stuck or stagnant to reframe perspectives from complaining, “someone needs to fix this,” into problem-solving, “here’s what can I do fix this.”
Managers have never faced so many challenges. The last two years have overturned our perspectives of work and life, leaving many employees wondering what the point is or considering resigning to find inspiration elsewhere. Throw in the challenges of remote working, uniting disparate teams, enticing reticent workers back into the office, and navigating complex team dynamics; it’s no wonder managers are feeling the strain.
Like everyone, managers and their teams have been busy simply surviving; we haven’t had a chance to stop and take stock of what we’re all trying to achieve. PsyCap is the secret weapon to bring people back together, give them a chance to air their grievances in a supportive context, and move forward in a cohesive way to achieve a common goal.
Though PsyCap has been around for years, senior psychologist and PsyCap facilitator Dr. Sarah Dawkins says it is relevant now as we revisit old routines and seek new sustainable ways of working.
“The relevance, applicability, and need for PsyCap has never been stronger or more important,” says Dawkins.
“In 2022, we are not only continuing to adapt to COVID-19 and different working models, but also living in times where we are experiencing and responding to other extremely significant, challenging, and confronting global events.”
Environments like the ones we’ve lived in for the last two years are known as a V.U.C.A. (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment.
As we’ve all become aware, the constant change, limitations, and unwanted realities that extend from V.U.C.A. environments can leave us feeling tested, tired, stressed, and depleted. As Dawkins explains, we’ve had to drain our ‘wells of resilience’ to cope with the ongoing disruption, and now many of us feel as if we are just muddling through or experiencing a phenomenon known as ‘languishing.’
The good news is that we know PsyCap, and importantly PsyCap training, can positively impact wellbeing and work-related performance for individual employees and work teams.
“PsyCap at the individual, team, leader, and organisational levels can provide a solid footing in our preparation, response, and recovery within V.U.C.A. environments and also help to support current and future organisational wellbeing and performance,” says Dawkins.
Workplaces are not only legally obligated to provide a healthy and safe workplace both physically and mentally — it’s good for business.
At Transitioning Well, we offer a number of supports for managers and individuals to perform at their best. If you’d like to find out more about our PsyCap training built in partnership with Pracademia, head to our Team Dynamics page or reach out to us here.