workWhat’s your work environment like? Inspiring? Frustrating? Dull? Engaging? Is the only metric that matters “employee productivity?”

Studies have shown workplaces are often dismal places to be for us humans.

24/7 Wall Street identified 2016’s worst companies to work for by analyzing employee ratings on The worst three? Forever 21, Family Dollar, and Express Scripts each with an overall score of 2.5 on a five-point scale.

If both inspiration and productivity are important, senior leaders must measure, monitor and reward workplace interactions and the treatment of employees, not just results. And the trend seems to be improving.

A 2016 SHRM engagement study found that 88% of employees are satisfied overall with their job, the highest it’s been in a decade. That’s encouraging, yet there remains work to be done.

A 2014 New York Times article titled, “Why You Hate Work,” featured insights from three studies by The Energy Project.

Their studies found that employees are much more satisfied and productive when four of their core needs are met:

  • physical (with regular opportunities to renew and recharge at work),
  • emotional (by feeling valued for their contributions),
  • mental (by having the opportunity to focus on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done),
  • spiritual (by doing more of what they do best and by feeling connected to a higher purpose).

The Energy Project studied over 12,000 global workers and found that 70%  do not have regular time for creative or strategic thinking; only 18% of respondents do. 66% do not have the ability to focus on one thing at a time; 21% do. 50% do not experience meaning and significance at work; 36% do.

Despite “overall” satisfaction, there appears to be work to be done, proven by an experience a colleague had.  She was hired to conduct a series of classes at a workpalce, and during a game, asked a question of one employee, “What fun thing did you do this summer?” “Nothing really.” “Well what do activity do you like to do?” “Anything that isn’t here.”  That employee represents thousands that probably feel the same way. Leaders have the job of creating productive, MEANINGFUL work environments, starting with treating employees with dignity, trust and respect–every time.

How can leaders build engagement, service, and results and profits? By implementing an organizational constitution that outlines their team or company’s present day purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals.

If they don’t do that, they’ll get dismal.

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