Happy employees produce more than unhappy ones; they show up at work routinely, they are less likely to quit, they go above and beyond the call of duty, and they attract people who are just as committed to the job as they are. This Idea looks at what steps we can take as managers to help employees thrive at work, to be a happy and consistently high-performing workforce that is more loyal and more productive for the organization.
What makes for sustainable individual and organizational performance? Employees who are thriving – not just satisfied and productive but also engaged in creating the future.
The authors found that people who fit this description demonstrated 16% better overall performance, 125% less burnout, 32% more commitment to the organization, and 46% more job satisfaction than their peers.
Thriving has two components: vitality, or the sense of being alive and excited, and learning, or the growth that comes from gaining knowledge and skills. Some people naturally build vitality and learning into their jobs, but most employees are influenced by their environment.
Four mechanisms, none of which requires heroic effort or major resources, create the conditions for thriving:
Organizations such as Alaska Airlines, Zingerman’s, Quicken Loans, and Caiman Consulting have found that helping people grow and remain energized at work is valiant on its own merits – but it can also boost performance in a sustainable way.
Here are those four mechanisms that create the conditions for employees to thrive:
The mechanisms above reinforce each other; so try adopting them all, rather than one or two from the menu.
Individuals can also adopt strategies to help them thrive where organizational support to do so might not yet be available by for example: taking regular breaks; crafting their own work to be more meaningful; exploring opportunities to innovate and learn; invest in relationships that energize them.
Creating Sustainable Performance. Gretchen M. Spreitzer & Christine Porath. Harvard Business Review (January-February 2012).
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