Happy Employees and How to Get There

Every year, Gallup releases its survey of workplace engagement, and every year the picture looks bleaker. A Gallup study released earlier this year reported that 51 percent of the country’s approximately 100 million full-time employees are not engaged at work. Another 16 percent are “actively disengaged,” meaning they resent their jobs and drag down morale as a result. A separate study by Gallup found that disengaged workers had 37 percent higher levels of absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents and 60 percent more errors and defects. Companies with low employee engagement scores also experienced 18 percent less productivity, 37 percent lower job growth and 65 percent lower share price over time. The numbers become overwhelming and unfathomable. Come On, Get Happy

For Improved Motivation, Managers Must First Believe In Themselves

In a recent blog post, we discussed how companies are getting away from annual or semiannual evaluations of past performance and instead providing real-time coaching to improve future performance. It’s a sound strategy for making better use of managers’ time, but it runs into one major problem: A recent survey of more than 500 managers around the world indicates less than one-third (28 percent) feel they know how to help people change, and less than 10 percent are confident they can make behavior change stick. Less than half of the managers surveyed believe that efforts to change behavior actually work. “If line managers are the linchpin of the new performance management process, a 50 percent success rate is not good

Could Shorter Work Days Lead to Increased Productivity?

The buzz about Amazon these days is what city the online retailer will select as the site for its second headquarters, but there is another process the company is currently conducting that could ultimately have a larger impact on work culture across America. A year ago, a small group of Amazon employees began working 30-hour work weeks in an experiment to see if increased work/life balance increases employee productivity. The Amazon workers start their day at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m., earn 75 percent of their normal salary and keep their full benefits. Limits To How Long We Stay Focused Amazon is not a pioneer in thinking that shorter, more concentrated work hours could increase worker morale and

Performance by Proximity: High-Performers Boost the Productivity of Those Around Them

Say what you will about “cube farms,” the row upon row of fabricated walls without doors that make up many of today’s offices, new research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University suggests that high-performers actually boost the productivity of those around them. Research led by Michael Housman and Dylan Minor discovered that workers who sat within a 25-foot radius of high-performers at a large technology firm boosted their own performance by an average of 15 percent. Minor calls it “positive spillover,” and says it translates to an estimated $1 million in additional annual profits. “We’ve known since kindergarten that who you sit next to can matter,” Minor says. But performance in the workplace is more complicated than