Well-Being and Business Outcomes

Did you know that companies that are committed to the well-being of their employees have higher profits, lower employee turnover, greater productivity, and more satisfied customers?  That’s the conclusion of a meta-analysis of 30 years of Gallup research on employee engagement, published in 2002 in an article titled, “Well-Being in the Workplace and Its Relationship to Business Outcomes”.   The authors (Harter JK, Schmidt FL, and Keyes CL) showed that business units and companies with the highest levels of employee engagement also had the greatest probability of business success.  For example, within individual companies, business units in the top half of employee engagement scores had a 70% higher chance of success than those in the bottom half.  The authors also conclude that business outcomes improve when the company initiates education and change initiatives about employee engagement.

Harter JK, Schmidt FL, & Keyes CL (2002). Well-Being in the Workplace and its Relationship to Business Outcomes: A Review of the Gallup Studies.  In Keyes CL & Haidt J (eds.), Flourishing: The Positive Person and the Good Life (pp 205-224) Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.
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Grateful for the TV Remote

I woke up this morning feeling grateful for the TV remote.  Our only TV – and by extension, our only remote – is in our family room downstairs. That’s a whole flight of 12 stairs.  And since I am currently beginning my 9th week on crutches following a skiing accident and subsequent surgery (4 or 5 more weeks to go!), 12 stairs is a challenge akin to swimming across the English Channel: do-able, but not by me.  During this period of The Great Inconvenience I’ve been working on practicing gratitude, and believe me it has come in handy!  I’m grateful for the incredible rock-hard biceps I’m developing from lifting my body weight hundreds of times a day.  I’m grateful for my husband’s company and for all the ways he has taken care of me. I’m grateful that because I’m hopping around on one foot all the time, one of my butt cheeks is going to look like Beyoncé’s at the end of all this (I’ll worry about the other one later).  I’m grateful for all my friends who have rescued us from take-out food by bringing home-cooked meals and their welcome company. And I’m so very grateful that this is temporary.  I’m grateful for physical therapy, and the medical insurance that pays for it.  Last night, when the Netflix movie on my computer ended and I had to actually get up and cross the room to start another, I thought of all those folks who can’t get up.  And I was grateful for the TV remote.

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Why Hiring the Guy You Would Like To Have a Beer With Doesn’t Always Work

This is an interesting article about personality types among high performers.  The grid speaks to job fit – why it’s important to match individual strengths to job responsibilities.  And although I’m always a little resistant to personality typing, I certainly saw myself in some of these descriptions…do you?  http://www.businessinsider.com/4-office-dream-team-personality-types-2013-10

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Flowing at Work

Check out our latest blog post on ASTD’s Human Capital blog: Flow

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Managing to Outcomes

Strengths 60 – from Strengths Partnership  Here’s a quick video tip from my friends at Strengths Partnership.

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Happier You – Better Organization

Check out our blog post at ASTD Human Capital blog. http://www.astd.org/Publications/Blogs/Human-Capital-Blog/2013/10/Applied-Positive-Psychology-a-Happier-You-a-Better-Organization

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Is Your Stuff Making You Sick?

If acquiring the most toys is what makes you happy, your happiness could be making you sick.  A recent study out of UCLA surveyed 80 volunteers to find out what brought satisfaction to their lives.  They then evaluated the volunteers’ blood levels of biological markers known to promote inflammation, which has been correlated with cancer, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.

The results were surprising.  Volunteers whose responses indicated that they got the most satisfaction from buying or having things (hedonic happiness) also showed higher levels of the inflammatory markers.  Those who said they got the most satisfaction from serving a higher purpose or taking care of others (eudaemonic happiness) had lower levels of the inflammatory markers in their blood and higher levels of substances that stimulate protective antibodies.

Everyone has a combination of both hedonic and eudaemonic tendencies.  Now there’s scientific evidence that working toward the greater good will contribute to our personal long-term well being.

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Flex Your Strengths in 60 Seconds


Today we launch Strengths:60. These minute or less videos give you tips, tricks and insights into strengths focused leadership, coaching and development. If it’s a better understanding of strengths language or how to better use strengths, we hope you’ll find these weekly videos helpful and a quick way you can learn and share about strengths!

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Are Goals a Death Wish?

“Are you aware that rushing toward a goal is a sublimated death wish? It’s no coincidence that we call them ‘deadlines’.”  Tom Robbins

We’ve all been programmed to set goals for ourselves. Getting into the best college, getting a law degree, getting the next promotion, running a triathlon, or saving for a car or a house – we all know the value of having our eyes on the prize, of having something we are looking forward to achieving.  The highest achievers in our society – professional athletes, presidents, famous musicians, corporate leaders – have been working toward a singular goal for their entire lives with the expectation that getting to that goal will be the ultimate experience.  Why then are we so often disappointed when  we reach our goal?  Why do so many high achievers reach their goal only to suffer from depression and substance abuse?

As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Dreaming about being an actress is more exciting than being one.” The real benefit of having goals is to help organize and focus our energy.  When there is a goal in sight, it narrows our choices about what to do, who to connect with, what to read, what to look at on the internet. Goals help us decide what we need to give up in order to strive toward our dreams. Without goals, our day-to-day actions have little meaning; with them, we have a purpose for getting up each day.  In short, goals are the means, not the end.  Their purpose is to help us enjoy the journey, to treasure the experience, to live in joy and satisfaction of the moment.

Have you ever been so focused on a goal that you forgot to enjoy the experience of getting there?

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Is Success the Road to Happiness?

A few years ago, a group of second year Harvard students was asked by their seminar leader, Tal ben Shahar, about the day they received their acceptance letter to the prestigious university.  Were they happy when they received that news?  How many felt at that moment that they would be happy for the rest of their lives?  That they had finally made it, that they had found the holy grail?  Virtually every one of the students raised their hand.  Yes, of course, this was pure joy. Then Shahar asked the same group, “How many of you are happy right now, today?”  Most of the group lowered their hands, because of course, the success of reaching that long sought for goal did not bring them lasting happiness.

How many of us have experienced something similar?  We work long and hard to attain the next promotion at work, to buy the bigger house, to run the marathon, to lose 20 pounds, thinking that this will be the thing that makes us happy.  When we reach that goal, we do feel happy, but it is fleeting.  Before long, there is something new in our sight, something bright and shiny that we believe is the answer to our longing for contentment and satisfaction with our life.

Positive psychologists propose that we have the whole thing reversed.  It’s not success that brings happiness, instead, it is happiness that brings success.  Their research is showing that happier people have greater success at work, better relationships, more energy and creativity, and better health.  And the most exciting part is that their work is demonstrating that there are simple techniques we can adopt, such as journaling, meditation, and rituals for lasting change, that can lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction.

When have you reached a long-desired goal, only to feel that the joy of achieving that goal was short-lived?

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