Research-Business-web

 

Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as “very important” by 67% of employees in 2014, making it the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction. (Rounding out the top five contributors, in descending order, were Compensation/Pay; Benefits; Job Security; and trust between employees and senior management.) (SHRM, Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, 2016.)

There are strong correlations between employee engagement and desirable business outcomes such as retention of talent, customer service, individual performance, team performance, business unit productivity, and even enterprise-level financial performance (McKay, Avery, & Morris (2008). Mean racial and ethnic differences in sales performance: The moderating role of diversity climate. Personnel Psychology, 61, 349-374).

Happiness has an important evolutionary purpose called ‘Broaden and Build Theory.’ Instead of narrowing our actions to fight or flight as negative emotions do, positive ones broaden the amount of possibilities we process, making us more creative, thoughtful, and open to new ideas. (Frederickson, Barbara, “The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: Broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions,” American Psychologist, 56, 218-226, 2001).

According to the latest research in the neurosciences, Dr. Newberg asserts, “Beneath the mind’s perception of thoughts, memories, emotions, and beneath the subjective awareness we think of as the self, there is a Deeper Self, a state of pure awareness that sees beyond the limits of subject and object, and rests in a universe where all things are one.” (Andrew Newberg in Born to Believe, Free Press, New York, 2006). [Note: We call it ‘The Extraordinary You!’]

Emotions are so shared, say organizational psychologists, that each workplace develops its own group emotion, or “group affective tone,” which over time creates shared “emotional norms” that are proliferated and reinforced by the behavior. (Kelly, J., and S. Barasade, Mood and emotion in small work teams,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86, 99-130, 2001).

An important research study found when examining more than 2,000 business divisions of ten large companies, happy people work harder. They’re also more imaginative, creative, and productive. (J.K. Harter, Schmidt, F.T., Asphund, J.W., Killham, E.A., and Agrawal, S., “Causal impact of employee work perceptions on the bottom line of organizations,” Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2010; 5 (4): 378-89).

Gratitude journals and other gratitude practices often seem so simple and basic; in our studies, we often have people keep gratitude journals for just three weeks. And yet the results have been overwhelming. We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits: Physical: Stronger immune systems, less bothered by aches and pains, lower blood pressure, exercise more and take better care of their health, sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking.Psychological: Higher levels of positive emotions, more alert, alive and awake, more joy and pleasure, more optimism and happiness. Social: More helpful, generous and compassionate, more forgiving, more outgoing, feel less lonely and isolated. (Robert Emmons, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Houghton Mifflin Co., N.Y. 2008).

Higher levels of engagement come from employees who work for a compassionate leader—one who is authentic, present, has a sense of dignity, holds others accountable, leads with integrity and shows empathy.” (Research by Dr. Brad Shuck and Maryanne Honeycutt-Elliott, http://www.biworldwide.com/globalassets/us-en/research-landing/thought-leadership/2015/engagement-trends-2016/employee-engagement-trends-2016.pdf).

Data abounds showing that happy workers have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay. They also enjoy more job security and are less likely to take sick days, to quit, or to become burned out. (Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., and Diener, E., “The benefits of frequent positive effect: Does happiness lead to success?” Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855, 2005).
From 1975 to 1986, psychologists Salvatore Maddi tracked 450 employees at Illinois Bell Telephone before, during and after the breakup of AT&T. Illinois Bell almost halved its work force in one year. Job descriptions and chains of command changed regularly. Even so, one-third of the people excelled, maintaining their performance, morale, and health. However, two-thirds fell apart, suffering problems such as anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. Maddi found that those who excelled (the “hardy”) shared the following characteristics: They stayed involved rather than feeling isolated; tried to influence outcomes rather than lapsing into helplessness; and chose to learn from their experience rather than feeling threatened by it. Instead of blaming themselves or bosses for their firing, they recognized that the layoffs were due to forces beyond the control of anyone in the company. “Seeing that in a broader perspective makes it less terrible. Less personal,” Maddi reported. “They were good at giving and receiving help and encouragement, neither too passive to be effective nor too assertive to be sensitive.” (Salvatore Maddi and Deborah M. Khoshaba, Resilience at Work, AMACOM, N.Y. 2005).

According to the American Institute of Stress workplace related stress costs the U.S. over $300 billion annually due to increased absenteeism, employee turnover, lower productivity, medical and legal insurance expenses, and Worker’s Compensation payments. (Paul J. Rosch, ed., “The Quarterly of Job Stress Compensation,” Health and Stress, American Institute of Stress, March, 2001; 3).

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