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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

'Thriving' Employees Make the Organization Better, Too

If you could change one aspect of your company's culture that would result in employees who were:

  • 32 percent more committed to the organization
  • 46 percent more satisfied with their jobs
  • 125 percent less burned out
... would you do it?

Of course you would. And the way to achieve such gains is to turn your enterprise into one that fosters the propensity for employees to thrive.

"Thriving," a set of academic researchers are suggesting, is the "joint experience of two things: vitality and learning." And in the current issue of Rotman Magazine, put out by the business school at the University of Toronto, they suggest steps that organizations can take to create and encourage the conditions for employee thriving.

This notion of helping employees thrive isn't exactly the same as the idea of worker engagement that is so central to the philosophy of Inward Strategic Consulting. But there's a lot of overlap, and we share a commitment to strategic creation of a culture in which employees feel enlisted and fulfilled -- which, in turn, creates loyalty to your company and a sense of mission to your customers.

"Vitality" refers to being energized and feeling "alive" at work, the researchers say in their article, "Thriving at Work: Why It's Important and How to Enable More Of It." Thriving people "feel passionate about what they are doing and produce their own energy through excitement for the work."

"Learning" refers to growing through new knowledge and skills. Thriving people "believe they are getting better at what they do," the article says. "They are self-learners who actively seek out opportunities to learn and develop."

They measured the performance and opinions of workers at more than a dozen organizations where they concluded people thrive compared with less-fortunate places to work.

Want to achieve such gains, including employees who miss 74 percent fewer days of work, and thriving leaders who are rated 17 percent higher ratings by their subordinates than leaders who reported lower levels of thriving?

The authors suggested three strategies for companies to "move ahead on the road to thriving":

Healthy habits: Eating right, exercising and taking breaks at work and at home. Companies can make these things much easier for employees to do.

Craft more meaningful and impactful work. Maybe look for opportuntiies to help someone or turn attention to tasks that evoke interest or passion, the article suggests.

Increase opportunities to innovate. That enables employees to learn something new or grow a new capability, which boosts thriving.

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