Look for upcoming articles and blogs on these topics.

HR can change the world

Studies 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? National surveys show that people want more of it. It also has the biggest impacts on engagement, commitment, retention, and ten other employee outcomes, even when the economy is poor. Meaningful work also impacts the bottom line.

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

See the Positive Work Inventory® (PWI), which has measured meaningful work since 2008.

Employee engagement: From science to empty meme

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

Work is essentially good and healthy

Work gets a bad rep as a life domain. But it doesn’t have to be that 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 characteristics can amplify what is good and healthy within workplaces and restore the role of work as a meaningful life domain.

‘Good’ employee surveys are essential

Most criticisms of employee surveys are about bad employee surveys. It depends on how they’re designed, what they measure, how they’re marketed to employees, how the data are analyzed, and what is 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.

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, grit, mindfulness). Emerging research also suggests that we can tweak our personalities. Even compassion can be trained. However, we also recognize that real, evidence-based personal change can be difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, there are leadership and talent development methods that can help.

Human beings are active agents by nature

In a Theory X world, employees are viewed as lazy, shirking responsibility, and motivated only by money. They dislike work, and therefore 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.

Capitalism is essentially good

Every social and global problem is a business opportunity in disguise.
Peter Drucker

Capitalism has been the single greatest source of prosperity and solutions to human problems. Together with science and technology, it’s responsible for nearly every object and service that we interact with (including the device that you’re using to read this). Capitalism creates incentives for solving problems, breeds competitive spirit, and makes resulting solutions widely available. It’s lifted populations from poverty in many emerging economies.

We don’t deny that there are corporate scandals and integrity breaches. That’s why we support new approaches like conscious capitalism, redefined capitalism, and long-term capitalism, which focus on on long-term social impacts as much as quarterly financials.

Ultimately, it’s about institutional logic and creating shared value for all stakeholders by intimately weaving the needs and challenges of society into the workings of businesses. This is not your grandfather’s capitalism.

We believe that human work science can improve the lives of people through all kinds of organizations, including businesses. And because they’re resource-rich, businesses are uniquely positioned to meet the fundamental needs of individuals and communities through products and services, corporate sponsorships, and volunteering.

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