There are countless pieces of advice when it comes to improving work that relate to becoming more productive, efficient, profitable, happy, etc. While much of the advice available for free is not rooted in solid evidence, one of the main scientific assets to understanding workplace improvement is behavioral science. There is a breadth of evidence, even entire academic disciplines, which suggest that insights from psychology in particular are directly correlated to improving internal and external relations and practices at work. This blogpost highlights some of the main direct and indirect influences of behavioral science at the workplace and highlight how many principles can easily be implemented to much success.
Managers are typically tasked with overseeing and taking steps to ensure the productivity of their employees. This task is complicated and requires a finely-tuned blend of providing motivation, doling out consequences, adapting to institutional change, and helping employees build independence and new skills.
Most managers are, by definition, focused on factors outside of themselves. Managing a team of employees and running an organization requires a ton of outward attention, and an ability to prioritize others’ needs before addressing ones’ own. This perspective, however, can come at a high price: managers may neglect to notice or address their own stress and physical health.
In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, more and more industries are grappling with the fact that sexual harassment is both a widespread and under-reported phenomenon (Khomami, 2017; Jagsi, 2018). Numerous victims, of a variety of genders, have suffered in silence for years while supervisors and colleagues subjected them to unwanted sexual attention. Now, suddenly, accusations are being made public, and victims are being met with greater public understanding and empathy.
All employees have distinct psychological needs. When managing a large group of people, you will generally be unaware of what the full extent of these needs are. This CQ Dossier provides you an introduction into what you have to consider in order to ensure your employees' psychological wellbeing.
Burnout is, largely, a social phenomenon. Many of the causes of burnout are social: when an organization is run in an unjust fashion, conflict is high, and employer demands are difficult to meet, employees are at a greater risk of burning out (Oberle et al, 2016). Burnout is also exhibited in social terms: burned out employees are more disagreeable, apathetic, and jaded. The diminished performance of a burned out employee can create more conflict and disappointment within their workplace, negatively impacting those around them (Kim et al, 2017).
Burnout is the enemy of productivity, collaboration, and morale. When an employee is experiencing burnout, they report low motivation, low investment in their organization’s goals, and an outlook that is pessimistic and grim. Burned out employees are more likely to be absent, waste time at the workplace, make avoidable errors in their work duties, and generate conflict among their co-workers.
A growing number of organizations are focusing on caring for their employees in a holistic, wellbeing-focused manner. Particularly among tech companies and start-ups, employee benefits now surpass simple health and retirement benefits, and include physical health programs, continuing education credits, and even on-site wellness facilities such as yoga rooms (Dailey & Zhu, 2017).
Most managers are well aware that employee satisfaction and job enjoyment predicts performance, retention, burnout, and other crucial outcomes. Employers also tend to recognize the value in selecting and screening for employees who are optimistic, and otherwise psychologically equipped for their specific position.