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Some things we believe 2017-10-20T15:44:41+00:00

Look for our upcoming articles and blogs on these topics.

HR can change the world

Research suggests that HR has larger impacts on organizational performance than other functions. We also believe that HR can change the world. Global change is nearly impossible without ‘managing human resources’ in ways that are best understood by HR professionals. Our model suggests that HR may be the touch point or conduit for positive social change in the world.

Meaningful work: The sleeping giant

Meaning is what people, not employees, find important in their lives. Different kinds of meaning have been identified by researchers, and meaningful work helps people to attain these things in the workplace.

Why is meaningful work important? First, national surveys show that people want more of it. Second, it has the biggest impacts, of all workplace factors, on engagement, commitment, retention, and ten other employee outcomes, even when the economy is bad. Meaningful work also impacts the bottom line.

Yet, research shows that people are slowly giving up on work as a meaningful life pursuit. Few employee surveys measure it. Ironically, the most misunderstood and unmeasured thing in organizations may be the most important, making meaningful work a sleeping giant for organizational success.

See Positive Work Inventory® (PWI).

Employee engagement: From science to empty meme

Employee engagement stated off as something specific, science-based, and impactful. Unfortunately, the term ‘engagement’ has been lifted from research, and applied to anything and everything to do with employee attitudes and behaviour. Check out our 10 (Surprising?) Research-Based Facts About Employee Engagement.

Work is essentially good and healthy

Work gets a bad rap as a life domain. Occupational health problems are prevalent, and research suggests that people are withdrawing from work as a meaningful life pursuit. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We believe that work is central to who we are, and where we came from (see Work). Many studies show that work is indispensable for mental health when it’s intrinsically- and extrinsically-rewarding.

We believe that positive work science can amplify what is good and healthy in workplaces, and for many people, restore the role of work as meaningful life domain.

‘Good’ employee surveys are essential

Most criticisms of employee surveys tend to be about bad employee surveys. It depends on how they’re designed, what’s on them, how they’re promoted to employees, how the data are analyzed, and what’s done with the results.

Sixty years of research have shown that surveys and questionnaires, when done well, are more accurate for measuring attitudes and perceptions than competing methods. Look for our forthcoming article on the 10 deadly sins of employee surveys.

Positive people can be developed

Who you are doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

Studies suggest that positive mindsets can be developed (e.g., optimism, resilience, mindfulness). Emerging research suggests that we can tweak our personalities. Even compassion can be trained. However, unlike self-help gurus, we recognize that real, science-based personal change can be difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, there are training and development methods that can help.

Human beings are active agents by nature

In a Theory X world, employees are seen as lazy, shirking responsibility, and motivated only by money. They dislike work, so they need to be closely managed. The irony of Theory X is that it’s self-fulfilling. It creates cultures that breed employee cynicism (e.g., transactional leadership, autocratic bureaucracies).

Many theories and models of psychology suggest that human beings are willful, purposeful, and active agents in their lives. People inherently like to work, and will pursue self-fulfillment through work when it’s intrinsically-rewarding. Positive workplaces can cultivate and leverage this natural agency.

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