BY: Andrea Lardani
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There are different assumptions about pressure and stress in the organizational world. Many companies believe that putting pressure on workers leads them to produce more, better and faster. However, such cultures have hidden costs. Some of these costs are, for example, higher absenteeism due to work stress, more accidents ande medical leaves. The lower the hierarchy of the worker, the higher the costs.
Work environments that generate tension and fear, in the long term, produce a decrease in work commitment. Work engagement is associated with feeling valued, secure, respected and supported. Companies with a lack of work commitment have 37% more absenteeism, 49% more accidents and 60% more mistakes. Organizations with low levels of employee engagement also have 18% lower productivity and 16% lower profits (Queens School of Business and Gallup Organization data).
Increasing evidence in positive organizational psychology shows that a positive work environment generates significant benefits for both employers and employees.
A positive and healthy culture should have the following six qualities:
- Interest in others.
- Mutual support, kindness, and compassion.
- Avoiding blame and forgiving mistakes.
- Inspire each other at work.
- Emphasize that work is meaningful to each other.
- Treat each other with respect, trust, appreciation, and integrity.
What can leaders do to foster a positive work culture?
- Promote social connections. Studies show that positive social connections at work produce favorable outcomes. For example, people get sick less, recover faster from surgeries, get depressed less, learn faster, tolerate discomfort better and perform better.
2. Show empathy. Leaders have a great impact on employees’ feelings. Leaders who demonstrate empathy and compassion toward employees promote individual and group resilience in challenging times.
3. Encourage them to talk – especially about their problems. Feeling trust and confidence in the leader improves employee performance. When employees feel trust rather than fear, it encourages learning and the spirit of experimentation that is fundamental to innovation.
Positive organizational cultures are more successful in the long run because they increase employees’ positive emotions and well-being. This, in turn, improves interpersonal relationships and amplifies skills as well as creativity. Positive work environments attract employees and build employee loyalty by making them play to their strengths. Organizations that develop positive cultures achieve higher levels of effectiveness in different areas such as financial, customer satisfaction, productivity and employee engagement.
Ask about our Employee Assistance and Wellbeing Programs to generate a positive culture in your organization.
Emma Seppälä and Kim Cameron. Proof that Positive Work Cultures are more Productive. Harvard Business Review (December, 2015)