New research shows that positive work cultures are more productive.
As American business began to develop its own personality in the early 1900s, successful companies often used internal competition and even conflict to motivate their employees. By pitting coworkers against one another, managers felt that they got the best out of their workers. As the nation’s captains of industry leveraged this philosophy to become millionaires, most other companies sought to emulate their successful cultures.
Shift ahead a century, and many companies still take their cues from this “survival of the fittest” playbook. However, a good number of business leaders have started asking themselves, “Is this really the best way to succeed?” In fact, recent articles and research from no less than the Harvard Business Review, the Gallup Organization and the Queens School of Business indicate that these old-fashioned management strategies often result in a negative work culture, and that negativity is really bad for business.
The Price Of Negativity
While old-school thinking sought to test employees and reward those who thrive in spite of stress, more and more data shows that stress on human beings doesn’t just make them less productive, it makes them physically ill. Health care expenditures, for example, are 50 percent greater at high-pressure organizations. Research from The American Psychological Association suggests that the American economy loses more than $500 billion and 550 million workdays to job-related stress every year.
Studies also show that while a corporate culture based on fear may result in short-term gains (“We needed a good kick in the pants!”), it inevitably leads to less employee engagement and loyalty. This disengagement is costly. Research shows that disengaged workers had 37 percent higher absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents and 60 percent more errors and defects. That’s not all – organizations with low engagement scores experienced 18 percent less productivity and 16 percent lower profitability.
How important is a positive culture to workers? A study by the Association of Accounting Technicians in Great Britain showed that employees actually value workplace well-being over material benefits!
Changing The System
Now that we see how damaging a high-pressure approach to employee management can be, what can companies do to foster a positive culture for their workers? Experts agree that positive energy starts at the top. Here are some of the steps that good managers take to keep their teams engaged.
- Encourage Open Communication
The only way a company can build trust is if the lines of communication go both directions. Managers should work to stay approachable, and policies should be in place that encourage feedback.
- Be Social
Research shows that the chances of dying early are actually 70 percent higher for people with poor social relationships. That’s proof that social people are happier and healthier, and that’s good for business.
- Treat Everyone With Respect And Insist That They Do The Same
Not only does this encourage productive workplace relationships, it helps to reduce instances of bullying – something that can disrupt an entire organization.
- End The Blame Game
Finger pointing is fruitless. Instead, tell workers that it’s more important to take responsibility for their actions, forgive one another, then move on to developing solutions. That is the step where good teams become great.
- Plug Into A Positive Attitude
This may seem like common sense, but positive leaders inspire positive teammates. When happy, approachable managers engage their workforce, they get improved workforce engagement – and productivity.
A Positive Charge Is A Lot More Attractive
Companies that maintain a positive culture are much more attractive to employees. Not only are current employees more likely to stay loyal, new workers are much more likely to give your company a shot as they search for a job. With fewer tradespeople available nowadays, companies that can attract new talent are much more likely to succeed.
Think positive! The numbers say that upbeat companies outperform those with negative business philosophies. A positive culture isn’t just good for your health, it’s good for business.
DSG’s Positive Principles
In the spring of 2016, DSG initiated a company-wide focus on positive thinking and a cultural shift toward enhanced teamwork. At its core, this initiative was based on six beliefs that employees shared with one another in company-wide kickoff events. A few of the beliefs include “Get Engaged,” encouraging DSG employee owners to contribute their own ideas to the company; “Open Up,” which calls for healthy, two-way communication; and “Win Together,” urging a sense of collaboration throughout DSG. Want to know more about DSG’s positive culture initiative? Ask your DSG representative!