Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley

The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. The Greater Good Science Center is at the forefront of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior—the science of a meaningful life. The website includes access to a free online magazine, talks, articles, and practices all aimed at building the social and emotional well-being of people, communities and society.

Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania

The mission of the Positive Psychology Center is to promote research, training, education, and the dissemination of Positive Psychology. Positive psychology is the study of strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. The website provides overviews of research on positive psychology topics as links to other relevant websites and the opportunity to participate in their research.

The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), Stanford University School of Medicine

CCARE investigates methods for cultivating compassion and promoting altruism within individuals and society through rigorous research, scientific collaborations, and academic conferences. CCARE envisions a world in which the practice of compassion is understood to be as important for health as physical exercise and a healthful diet. The website provides research, articles, videos, and a blog that shares ideas to create more compassion in our lives.

Thrive Global

Global website provides a wealth of articles and other resources aimed at preventing workplace stress and burnout. They also provide a range of services to help individuals, companies and communities improve their performance and unlock potential by focusing on people’s well-being.


Love in Action

On the Love in Action podcast host Marcel Schwantes interviews thought-leaders and influencers to explore the importance and power of putting love in action in the workplace. As a writer for, CNBC, Thrive Global, and Business Insider, Marcel calls for human leaders to develop a heart-first mindset that builds people up and helps them achieve their greatest potential. As the evidence overwhelmingly shows, organizations achieve great things when they put love in action! 

Higher Purpose

Higher Purpose is a weekly podcast hosted by purpose-driven leader and workplace culture consultant, Kevin Monroe. Monroe interviews human-centered leaders about topics ranging from self-worth (episode 97) to psychological safety (episode 92) to unwrapping your purpose (episode 76). Check out episodes 50 and 80 for interviews with A Human Workplace’s own Renee Smith!

Leadership with Heart

Leadership with Heart is hosted by Heather Younger, JD, an employee experience, engagement and leadership effectiveness consultant. Heather is the best-selling author of, “The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty” and the founder and CEO of Customer Fanatix. Her organization’s mission is to inspire and train leaders to put their employees first. In this podcat, Heather interviews leaders who possess the different traits of heart-centered leaders. The website includes a helpful written summary of key takeaways from each podcast.

On Being

The On Being podcast is hosted by journalist, author and theologian Krista Tippet. Tippet established the podcast in pursuit of the ancient and enduring human questions that gave rise to our spiritual traditions and resonate anew through every institution in this century: What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be to each other? Each week, she interviews one or more thinkers about a broad range of topics about the human condition and ways to live our lives with integrity and intention.

Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness podcast is put out by the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Topics vary greatly from week-to-week and focus on research-tested strategies for a happier and more meaningful life. The host is Keltner, Ph.D., who is the founding director of the Greater Good Science Center and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

TED Talks

The Danger of A Single Story – Chimamanda Adichie

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks of the dangers of listening to only one story. Listening to only one story limits thinking and perspective. And in this way, stories can be dehumanizing and cause misunderstanding. But when we embrace that fact that there are many truths and that our lives consist of many overlapping stories, then stories can be used to empower and humanize.

The Power of Vulnerability – Brene Brown

Vulnerability is essential for humans to feel love, connection, and belonging. In this TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability, University of Houston research professor, Brené Brown talks about our fear of vulnerability and how it prevents humans from meeting their fundamental need for connection and belonging. Brown has spent more than a decade studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. She is the author of numerous books and frequently speaks about her work to audiences around the world.

This is What Makes Employees Happy at Work – Michael C. Bush

In this TED Talk, Michael C. Bush shares his insights into what makes workers unhappy -- and how companies can benefit their bottom lines by fostering satisfaction. Since 2015, Bush has expanded Great Place to Work's global mission to build a better world by helping organizations create great places to work not just for some but for all. Under his leadership, the firm has developed a higher standard of excellence that accounts for fair and equitable treatment of employees across demographic groups, as well as executive leader effectiveness, innovation and financial sustainability. His book A Great Place to Work For All outlines the compelling business and social benefits that come from these efforts.

How to Turn A Group of Strangers into a Team - Amy Edmonson

Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson studies "teaming," where people come together quickly (and often temporarily) to solve new, urgent or unusual problems. Recalling stories of teamwork on the fly, such as the incredible rescue of 33 miners trapped half a mile underground in Chile in 2010, Edmondson’s TED Talk shares the elements needed to turn a group of strangers into a quick-thinking team that can nimbly respond to challenges. The best teaming occurs when situational humility (a willingness to admit that you don’t have the answers) comes together with curiosity about others’ ideas and a willingness to take risks to learn fast (also known as psychological safety).

The World Needs All Kinds of Minds - Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is an author, animal expert and an advocate for people with autism. Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, talks about the benefits of neurodiversity in innovation, problem-solving and attending to details. Grandin’s ability to “think in pictures” enabled her to radically improve the way animals are treated in slaughterhouses.

Popular Press articles

Love At Work: Here's How To Truly Show Love To Your Colleagues This Valentine's Day

Ludema, J., & Johnson, A. (2018, February 14). Love At Work: Here’s How to Truly Show Love to Your Colleagues This Valentine’s Day. Forbes. Retrieved from

Although this article was published on Valentine’s Day, the authors make it clear that love cannot be reserved for one day a year. Love at work shows up in three ways. First as intimacy, caring about your coworkers as people. Passion is the positive energy that we bring to our work and share with others. Commitment is a dedication to the well-being of others and to shared work.

The Surprising Power of Simply Asking Coworkers How They’re Doing

Karyn Twaronite, K. (2019, February 28). The Surprising Power of Simply Asking Coworkers How They’re Doing. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

This article talks about the fundamental need of human beings to belong. Fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace requires finding a way for employees to connect with one another. This can be best accomplished by encouraging employees to check in with one another. Check-ins are a way to build relationships and offer support during difficult times.

Keep Your Company’s Toxic Culture from Infecting Your Team

A. (2019, April 29) Keep Your Company’s Toxic Culture from Infecting Your Team. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Culture is a powerful driver of human behavior, especially at work. Unhealthy workplace cultures are marked by competitiveness, the need to “cover” (hiding parts of our identities in order to fit in) and pressure to overwork. Managers have the power to positively affect workplace culture and protect their teams by taking care of themselves, building good relationships (repairing those that are damaged if necessary), and being intentional about culture work.

How Gratitude Can Transform Your Workplace

Newman, K. (2017, September 6) How Gratitude Can Transform Your Workplace. Greater Good Magazine. Retrieved from

Gratitude at work is great for people and teams! Among its benefits are decreased stress, fewer sick days, and higher job satisfaction. Research on gratitude at work suggests that it leads to better connections among coworkers and to the work itself. Gratitude may also be the “gateway” to other prosocial behaviors that improve workplace culture and employee experience.

High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It

Delizonna, L. (2017, August 24) High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety, Here’s How to Create It. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Psychological safety, resulting in the ability to take risks, is essential for trust and high performance in teams. With this kind of trust, members of teams feel safe and as a result are more open-minded, motivated, resilient, and persistent. These conditions enable divergent thinking, essential for innovation. The article provides 6 practical tips for creating psychological safety in your workplace.

Podcasts Featuring A Human Workplace


In this episode, Heather speaks with Renee Smith about her leadership journey, her innovative approach to infusing love into government, her challenges as a leader and some very clear ways that leaders can show more love and care for the people we lead. Key takeaways:

  • Once we eliminate fear in the workplace, we increase love.
  • When we bring more humanity into the workplace, we increase performance
  • We need to invite people to be more real at work
  • Emotional responses need to be more understood
  • We need to get comfortable leading our people through emotional circumstances to build more trust
  • Help your team feel loved and cared for and create a family atmosphere


“I've discovered that the bolder and braver I am about love belonging in the workplace, the bolder and braver people are about standing up for love too. We know all too well the impacts of fear in the workplace. It’s time to discover the impacts of love.” In this second conversation with Kevin Monroe on the Higher Purpose Podcast, Renee Smith goes deeper into what it takes to make work more human. Listen on your favorite podcast player or online here.


As part of his live AME San Diego 2018 (Association for Manufacturing Excellence International Conference) podcast series, Ron Pereira, co-founder and partner at Gemba Academy interviewed Results Washington’s Renée Smith for Episode #241 called, “How to Make Work More Human.” In the podcast Renée turns the tables and asks Ron to share an experience with love and fear. His compelling and very human story gives insights into the potential we all have to really change lives. Listen here.


In July 2018 Renée sat down with Kevin Monroe on the Higher Purpose Podcast. She talked about our experiences with how to Make Work More Human and the surprising research findings about FEAR and LOVE in the workplace. Check out their conversation on iTunes or your favorite podcast player or listen from your browser and get all the show notes here.


In November 2017 Ron Pereira spoke with Renée Smith on the Gemba Academy Podcast Episode 191, "How to reflect on the roles of fear and love in continuous improvement."

Since then we've heard from people all over the world--Canada, Australia, the UK, Spain, and New Zealand--who listened to this podcast and responded with enthusiasm. The message of less fear and indifference and more love and safety at work is universal and core to what it is to be human. Lean organizations everywhere are striving to create a workplace where employees continually learn and grow so that they can solve problems, discover new solutions, and create amazing results for customers. That growth happens when the workplace is physically and psychologically safe though still challenging. This balance of both safety and discomfort happens best when we feel loved.


The American Academy of Poets –

The American Academy of Poets was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. This website offers access to both the poems and biographies of a culturally diverse array of American poets. Why poetry? According to Kwame Dawes, Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets, “Poetry offers us the capacity to carry in us and express the contradictory impulses that make us human.”

Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation provides poetry, in written and audio form, for a variety of audiences. This organization works to raise poetry to a more visible and influential position in our culture. You can sign up to receive a daily email containing a poem. The Poetry Foundation publishes a magazine, hosts a podcast, and has a broad array of cross-cultural poetry. Check out their black history month poetry collections celebrating black history month and the civil rights movement.

Center for Mindfulness, University of California, San Diego

The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness provides a list of poems used in their Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses. Mindfulness is the intentional practice of creating present-moment awareness. Poetry is often used in mindfulness training because the act of stopping what you’re doing to read a poem is an act of mindfulness. These poems explore the human condition and call the reader to exist in the present moment.

Peer Reviewed Research


Rudd, M., Vohs, K.D., & Aaker, J. (2012) Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being. Psychological Science, 23 (10), 1130-1136

Awe is “a response to things perceived as vast and overwhelming that alters the way you understand the world.” In several different studies, the authors determined that a feeling of awe expands one’s sense of time, giving the perception that there is more time available. As a result of this, study participants experienced less impatience and an increased willingness to be generous with their time by volunteering. In addition, the resulting feeling of having more time available led study participants to choose experiences (such as attending a music concert) over material goods (a watch). Click here for a link to the article.

Stellar, J.E., Piff, P.K., Gordon, A., Anderson, C.L., McNeil, G.D., Keltner, D. (2018) Awe and Humility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114 (2), 258-269.

When people experience awe, there is a feeling of vastness, of being part of something greater than themselves; they are subsequently more humble. The authors define humility as a diminished sense of self, one where a person has a more accurate view of themselves and acknowledges the value and contributions of others. The authors conducted five studies that resulted in their conclusion that awe promotes humility. An awe experience not only caused people to report that they felt more humble, it also resulted in their peers perceiving them as more humble. They concluded that awe--the opposite of pride, which inflates self-concept--shifts self-perception. People experiencing awe see themselves more accurately and appreciate the value of others more.


Emmons, R. A., & Stern, R. (2013) Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention. Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session. 69 (8), 846-855.

There are many benefits that the practice of gratitude can have on a person’s life. Feelings of gratitude stem from an awareness of the good things in one’s life and the recognition that this goodness comes from sources outside of oneself. When a person feels gratitude over time, it improves physical health (lowering blood pressure and improving immune function), boosts happiness and well-being, and promotes prosocial behavior (acts of kindness and generosity). Gratitude also mitigates risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Given that gratitude can be cultivated through specific journaling and mindfulness practices, the authors conclude that it is an effective psychotherapy treatment that promotes healing and well-being.

Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410.

Researchers tested out five “positive interventions” and their effect on individual happiness. One intervention asked study participants to write a letter of gratitude to someone who had been kind to them, but whom they had never thanked. They were then asked to deliver the letter in person. Participants saw a large increase in feelings of happiness immediately after delivering the letter. Elevated feelings of happiness lasted for about a month after delivering the letter, suggesting that this practice should be repeated on a regular basis.


Mahembe B., Engelbrecht, A.S. (2014) The Relationship Between Servant Leadership, Organisational Citizenship Behaviour and Team Effectiveness. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology. 40 (1) 1-10.

This study, done in schools, determined that there is a positive relationship between servant leadership, organizational citizenship behavior and team effectiveness. Servant leaders lead from their values and view the development of their team as their top priority, rather than focusing on the leader’s own or the organization’s goals. Many who work for servant leaders feel empowered at work and report a positive work environment. The result of this work environment is increased team effectiveness which is measured by the attainment of common goals with higher results. Organizations led by servant leaders also saw an increase in organizational citizenship. Organizational citizenship consists of a variety of dimensions including altruism, conscientiousness, sportsmanship, courtesy and civic virtue.


Pendse, M., Ruikar, S. (2013) The Relation between Happiness, Resilience and Quality of Work Life and Effectiveness of a Web-Based Intervention at Workplace. Journal of Psychosocial Research, 8 (2), 189-197.

True happiness is an ongoing human quest. The authors’ review of prior research confirmed that feelings of happiness are associated with better outcomes in work and life, with increased success. A small study, conducted in India, demonstrated that happiness is positively correlated with quality of work life and resilience, with resilience defined as being prepared to face stress at work. They conclude that “organizations can benefit by enhancing employee happiness through simple, web-based interventions” and that “happy employees would make happy organizations.”

Social Connection

Seppala, E., Rossomando, T., & Doty, J. R. (2013) Social Connection and Compassion: Important Predictors of Health and Well-being. Journal of Social Research, 80 (2), 411-431

literature review discusses the clearly established links between social connection, compassion and well-being in all branches of psychology. Social connection, or close relationships with others, is a basic need throughout the human lifespan. Humans benefit most from social connection with certain affective (emotional) qualities such as empathy, intimacy, and close contact. As social connection increases well-being, this in turn results in a host of benefits including positive emotions, better self-esteem, and seeing others in a more positive light. It is also associated with prosocial activity such as volunteerism and doing good for others. Social connection buffers against life “stressors” and it helps with emotional regulation. The authors perceive social connection is declining in the world. To mitigate this, they suggest that social connection should be cultivated through compassion-building practices such as loving kindness meditations.

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