How to Improve Employee Productivity and Satisfaction

April 16, 2015

Not all workplaces are the same. Productivity is a concern for virtually all businesses, but how to reach that goal is becoming increasingly varied. And past performance standards and metrics are changing as a result.

A Positive Workplace is a Productive Workplace

In a research article published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Kim Cameron and colleagues at the University of Michigan, found that many workplaces that excel embrace a number of positive and virtuous practices. These practices benefit the company by increasing employees’ positive emotions, relationships and ability to think creatively; combating stress and helping employees recover from difficulties; and improving their loyalty and effort. Moreover, these practices contribute to significantly higher levels of organizational effectiveness, which result in better financial performance, customer satisfaction and productivity.

What are Positive and Virtuous Practices?

-Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends.

-Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.

-Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes.

-Inspiring one another at work.

-Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work.

-Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust & integrity.

How Do You Go About Instituting Positive Change?

Cameron’s team found these positive practices are implemented through four interrelated ways. The first is leadership, as implementation needs support from the top. Leaders have to buy into and exemplify the practices in order to institute a positive and supportive culture. Culture is the second cornerstone of positive change. Culture initiatives trump strategy when it comes to employee happiness and performance. The third way to embrace positive change is through a series of small steps. Relatively small changes can have a profound effect on employee well-being and contribute to an overall more positive atmosphere. Finally, retreats and workshops help spur changes and improvements. These shouldn’t focus on corporate goals, but rather individual and team development.

The Future Looks Bright

The means by which companies and individuals are improving wellness and productivity are varied and continuously evolving—from instituting new positive practices to simply making an effort to stand for a few more hours per day. Positive changes lead to happier employees, which in turn lead to more productive employees. Hopefully this trend continues, because it sounds like a win-win.

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