Younger generations tend to receive a fair amount of criticism for their obsessions with instant-gratification-based systems like social media and video games. There’s this idea that somehow, older generations were wired to be more patient while technology has fundamentally corrupted the young mind beyond repair.
Most of us are familiar with differing priorities among departments in an office and how that can impact the inner workings of a company. While management is more focused on developing practices that increase productivity and profit, Human Resources is often dedicated to employee well-being. Michael and Toby’s tumultuous relationship in the hit TV sitcom The Office demonstrates this dichotomy perfectly; it’s one we have seen time and again.
It isn’t without reason that this parody exists. Oftentimes, new managerial practices can have trade-offs that are detrimental to certain aspects of employee well-being, whether it be psychological, physical, or social well-being. Rather than argue one set of priorities is more important than another, it’s more important to recognize that happiness, health, and human relationships are related, and their optimization leads to better overall outcomes for company success.
You’ve most likely heard the commonly-held belief that work life and personal life should be distinct and separate. Why should it matter if you enjoy being at work and interacting with your coworkers as long as you can go home and relax at the end of the day? Well, since happiness has become an increasingly popular area of scientific inquiry, more and more research has been produced demonstrating just how important basic happiness can be in many areas of our lives, including at work.
Intuitively, one might assume that monetary incentives are the most effective reward system. People like money, so monetary rewards should increase effort and maximize productivity. Despite this common assumption, research shows that higher rewards don't always lead to more effort and employee engagement. Paradoxically, some studies have found the opposite can happen, a phenomenon known as "incentive reversal."
We’ve all had the life experience where a group activity is going smoothly and morale is high… up until that one person walks in with “negative energy.” It’s like the spell of positivity and efficiency is lifted, and negative emotions spread throughout the rest of the group. How by a single person or small group of people who project their emotions onto the rest of the team, whether it be consciously or subconsciously.
As highly emotional animals, humans pick up on other peoples’ signals like body language and energy levels, and often their own experience will change as a result. This type of mimicry is called emotional contagion, and it can apply to both positive emotions as well as negative ones. In both cases, emotional contagion has important implications when considering effective teamwork strategies and organizational culture in particular.
For many people, the office can be an exciting and interesting place to work and connect with others in the process. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone, especially those who face discrimination due to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Studies show that discrimination can lead to negative emotions like anger and fear, which in turn influence the overall satisfaction and happiness an employee experiences in his or her career. Although most of us try to avoid discriminating against others, the reality is that stereotypes and prejudiced thoughts are very much a social norm – one that we need to work actively against should we hope to reduce their damaging effects.
You know that “warm glow” you feel when you demonstrate an act of kindness without expecting anything in return? Well, a team of researchers discovered that that particular feeling is quite different than when you expect a reward for your kind act.
Our brains are designed to be social. And social relationships have always been at the heart of our survival and our happiness. From humans’ earliest days, we have relied on one another and helped one another and our bodies evolved to reward us for these acts of kindness. Kindness is one of our biggest strengths as humans and was crucial to our survival as a species. In fact, Dr. Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, the lead of a recent study published in NeuroImage, shared that “the decision to share resources is a cornerstone of any cooperative society.”
In a rising trend, many Fortune 500 companies have bid adieu to employee performance reviews, deeming them an outdated way to check in with employees. Adobe, GE, and many others have instead moved towards a system of more regular one-on-one check-ins with employees, where they examine their work around specific projects and progress towards development goals. “It’s liberating people,” says Donna Morris, senior vice president of global people resources at Adobe. “It has really helped to create teamwork instead of individualism, which is critical in a creative company.”
What is more important, where you went to college ten years ago or what you have accomplished in the last ten years of your career?
Without a doubt, actual achievement in the workplace matters more than where you got your college degree.
In a recent piece for Forbes, Jonathan Rick argues that most LinkedIn users aren’t taking advantage of the headline line on their profile. Instead of using the space for the default job title and employer that LinkedIn auto-populates, Rick proposes a customized headline of 120 characters, an elevator pitch of what you do and whom you help.
President and COO Kate Sheffield had always made it her priority as a new manager to diffuse toxic workplace culture with positivity, inclusiveness, and appreciation. These methods led her to Preciate, and what Kate has been championing her entire career is finding technological legs in the Preciate app.