How To Use Neuroscience in the Workplace

The Role of Neruoscience in the Workplace

“Workplace psychology” refers to the practice of applying psychological principles and practices to a work environment in order to solve problems and make improvements. It’s commonly known as work psychology, organizational psychology, and industrial organizational psychology, among other terms.

Industrial organizational psychology jobs touch on many different areas of the workplace. Work psychology commonly focuses on areas such as talent acquisition, management, and retention, leadership, and workplace productivity.


Workplace psychology principles can help employers identify the key skills, educational requirements, and work experience their employees must possess. Knowing these enables the employer to draft appropriate job descriptions and advertisements, and to orient the interview process towards assessing for these qualities. Workplace psychology principles can also help employers understand how to select for particular traits without being discriminatory.


Workplace psychology also helps employers to pinpoint their staff’s training needs, and guides them in delivering the relevant training in an engaging fashion. Workplace training customarily consist of state or federally mandated training (such as Title IX training), training that are crucial for employees due to their being employed at a particular type of workplace (such as safety procedures), and training that are intellectually enriching for a particular work setting.

Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisals are standard workplace psychology tools. They are designed to provide employees with feedback about their performance, which in turn should lead to increased productivity. In theory, they also facilitate clear communication between management and employees. They also may act as forums for establishing goal setting, as well as serving as starting points for performance improvement plans, if necessary. Finally, they can help Human Resources identify training needs.


Compensation is an important part of employee satisfaction and psychology in the workplace. Workplace psychology strategies take this into consideration when developing compensation strategies such as pay-for-performance plans.

Motivation & Productivity

Increased motivation leads to increased productivity, and the reverse may be true also. Work psychology holds that tactics like contests, performance appraisals, sales quotas and commission pay can all improve motivation, ultimately leading to greater productivity.

Productivity and Motivation

Studies have indicated that increased employee motivation usually results in more productivity. The reverse – that higher productivity leads to more employee motivation – is also true. Psychology at work underscores that techniques such as performance appraisals, contests, commission pay (if applicable), and sales quotas (if also applicable) may enhance motivation generally, resulting in higher productivity.

Eliminating Intimidation. No matter what the business environment may be, employees are always the most significant asset of a company. The present economic environment and the tight job markets have actually raised the stress of employees at work. Some employers are using this negative downturn to their advantage – through intimidation or uncertainty to trigger productivity. However, this is only good in the short run. Many academicians have actually warned against using intimidation to motivate staff.

Based on a number of reports, employees who are satisfied, happy, and find value at work usually do better than those who are overlooked or disgruntled over their work situations. Because of these reports, many company decision makers implement positive psychology tactics in the workplace. Although some of these tactics would need professionals, most of them can be accomplished by anyone, within any company set-up.

Creating Happy Employees for Better Productivity and Innovativeness. What drives positive psychology in the workplace is the belief that employees who are happier produce more, are increasingly innovative, and contribute towards a more pleasing work setting. Many psychology professional suggest wide-ranging staff trainings as well as retreats prior to implementing a positivity campaign. Initiating this positive campaign does not need to be overarching nor dramatic. Business leaders, who take it one day at a time by introducing small initiatives every week, customarily achieve solid results through the span of a year.

Showing Gratitude. Obviously, employees can feel motivation based on many things. However, all employees need praise and recognition. By committing to showing gratitude in the workplace, you are able to focus on the encouraging things in your life and you can persuade your employees to do the same.

In an ideal world, your thankfulness should be introduced by yourself, your supervisors, or your managers. However, this must be done subtly. By forcing your employees to say things that they are grateful for or to say something positive about a peer, can appear insincere. A manager who habitually sends an email a day that recognizes a person’s contributions or company leaders who begin meetings by concentrating on exceptional contributions or positive developments, typically find that a positive feel follows almost naturally. The feeling of appreciation, as the experts state, normally is the first step towards true satisfaction.

If you have a business that takes a positive working atmosphere seriously, you should think of employing a “happiness trainer” for your retreats, seminars, or regular counseling. Note that the techniques of these trainers are different from the typical skills coaches. Happiness trainers use psychological research as well as ancient traditions to teach employees thankfulness, peace, kindness, and strength in facing adversity. These are all important in the current workplace. You should note, however, that hiring happiness trainers could be expensive, at least in the beginning. However, if the techniques they teach your business stay on permanently in your head and in your employees’ heads, your company can see the improvements flourish.

Embracing Creativity, Change, and Innovativeness. Many, if not all, businesses need some kind of employee innovation or creativity. Whenever employees are given the opportunity to offer their thoughts, new products and services crop up; business processes become streamlined; and communication lines get clearer. In addition, workers whose voices are heard are happier in general.

Even though it might seem ambiguous to encourage creativity, it all begins with simple communication. Mention to your employees that you want to hear their ideas. Of course, give them ample space and time to get their creative juices started. Psychology Todayactually recommends that you give them around 30 minutes of time to brainstorm and explore their thoughts. Creativity should be valued no matter where, when, or how the ideas come about.

Introducing Health and Wellness Activities. It has been proven that physical activities reduce stress. Businesses that incorporate exercise and fitness in their company benefits usually register higher employee satisfaction of their work-life balance. For a few businesses, this can be as straightforward as providing gym memberships at a discounted price or sponsoring wellness fairs in your office.

In order to feel the full benefits of wellness when it deals with everyday psychology, many companies are improving their situations by making sure health is available at their offices. This encourages employees to have short workouts even while working. There have been universities that have researched the advantages of having low-impact meditation or yoga in business settings. More often than not, participating in these activities do not even need a change of clothes.

There was once a 2009 yoga and meditation test group in the workplace and the results were very positive. Actually, the averages show that mindfulness was raised by 9.7% and perceived stress went down by 11%, for the group that received the intervention. The participants also said that they feel asleep quicker, had fewer disturbances during sleep, and had less dysfunction during the day.

Note that this is in comparison with the group that had no intervention. There seems to be credence to these numbers, no matter what kind of intervention or exercise is sponsored by a company. There was also a 2012 CNBC report on wellness programs in the workplace that discovered that employees who participated regularly in healthful activities showed the following: 50% were increasingly more productive; 40% stated they would stay in the company; and 30% reported less sick days. The same could be good for your company, especially if it is part of a larger effort towards employee satisfaction (which is truly at the center of positive psychology).

Enabling Mentoring Programs. For the past decades, employees have been expected to stay in just one company throughout their careers. However, the workforce of today is increasingly more mobile. Hence, it is currently more important to have positive psychology in the workplace. An employee who feels that his or her company invested in his or her development and progress is typically more productive and would most probably stay with the company.

This is in diametric opposition to someone who only feels like a cog in the bigger scheme of things. Creating mentoring relationships for new employees is probably one of the best ways to begin this kind of camaraderie between the company and the employer right from the very start.

Management experts have been increasingly seeing that mentoring is not merely one on one, but it is a part of social networking, wherein mentees receive valuable information through the interaction with many experienced persons. A mentoring relationship shows that an employee can be relaxed and receive honest critique and feedback. Overall, the mentoring setting is where employees can receive social and psychological support, especially in the face of stressful situations.


Good Work Outputs

One of the most vital features to the success of your company is the production of high quality products and services. You would need employees who are highly effective, with good judgment, and high performance. All these fall under the category of employees that have good work outputs.

Good work has been defined by psychologists as of truly high quality, meaningful to the person who accomplishes it, and is socially responsible. There have been extensive studies at Harvard University on the full nature of good work – how to implement it and how to promote it. These have been many produced publications on the subject of good work. Overall and at any rate, good psychology in the workplace also produces good work outputs.

Fit of Personnel with the Company

Selecting the right employees for your business is obviously a pivotal portion of having your company succeed. But whom should you hire? You have to consider a few factors. This includes their personality, the complementarities of their strengths and capabilities with your business, and their fit with your company’s strategy, structure, mission, and goals.

Businesses have the advantage of much research in positive psychology, especially as it is connected to job design, strengths, and work identity (as linked to business fit).

Employee characteristics derived from good psychology can be pivotal in decreasing employee turnover. This is important, as high employee turnover can be very expensive to your business because it decreases your intellectual capital and raises your financial burden.

Performance and Engagement

One of the main causes of high employee turnover is burnout. Burnout could come from any number of variables, including boredom and stress. Researchers of psychology in the workplace, particularly positive psychology, have studied a couple of solutions about meaning, engagement, self-efficacy, and optimal experience.

These are all connected to higher job satisfaction, decreased sick leaves, lowered turnover rates, and increased job performance. More research evaluates the characteristics of the job that activates these solutions. It includes topics such as job crafting and person-job fit. Research that is more recent has shown some factors on what contributes to happiness in a job.

Teamwork/Team Building

Since there is a lot of research available out there and the intensity of a lot of projects, teamwork or team building has become typical in the corporate world. Although the effectiveness of a team has been researched throughout the years, many researchers of psychology at work have been assessing team flow, since research indicates that maximum experiences create better team dynamics as well as outputs that are more creative.

Team flow dynamics, however, are still under research; so many discoveries can still be made. Nevertheless, good psychology at work can enhance team cohesiveness.

Conflict Resolution

Although a solution to an employee conflict or concern may appear reasonable to you, this can still be met with resistance from the employee. If you are bothered by actually resolving conflicts, you may want to hire an organizational psychologist that can assess your particular situation.

However, unlike a mediator, a psychologist will not concentrate solely on the problems, but will incorporate other psychological issues such as the need for dignity, effectiveness, respect, and empowerment.

Creativity and Innovation

One of the main objectives of the workplace is to create a unique, competitive, and high-quality product or service. This means that a company must have the ability to establish creativity in order to develop innovations and value to their end user.

Since this is very much a basic contribution to a business’s bottom line, organizations would have to get the research findings from positive psychologists who are looking for ways to harness, develop, and apply creativity in the workplace.

Current research has assessed the processes wherein group members can work together that would produce creative work, the characteristics of very creative and field changing persons, and the probability that people may progress towards these characteristics more or less. Thus far, research has shown that a more positive psychology at work triggers employees’ creativity and innovation.

Introducing, enhancing, and improving psychology at work, particularly employee satisfaction, is straightforward. Small steps and little improvements are typically required to find some kind of improvement in the overall workplace. More often than not, consider that happy feelings are usually contagious. What begins with one person would soon overflow to a different division, department, floor, etc. Not for long, the whole attitude of the company will alter.

Organizational Psychology Courses

Prospective work psychology graduate students should be comfortable with both quantitative research and qualitative psychology. Each organizational psychology graduate program differs somewhat in terms of focus and content. However, certain core courses are common to most, if not all, master’s and doctoral programs. Note that if you are considering an online organizational psychology program, it is important to research and fully understand the accreditation status of the school, before applying and taking any courses.

Are you ready to transform your workforce?

© 2017 by The Variegate Group

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