January 2014 Archives
Together, psychology and business can create healthy workplace cultures that support employee well-being and organizational performance.
Save the dates for our 2014 Work & Well-Being events:
- May 30, 2014 in Washington, DC
- September 11-12, 2014 in Chicago, IL
ExploreHigh-impact health promotion and wellness efforts … Workplace flexibility as a business strategy … Diversity and Inclusion at work … Communication practices that drive results … Lessons learned from award-winning companies … and more.
These events are designed especially for human resource professionals, benefits managers, health and wellness professionals, business consultants, occupational health professionals, health plan executives, corporate medical directors, business owners, managers and psychologists who work with organizations.
Details coming soon! We’ll post updates, including information about continuing education credit for psychologists and HR professionals, on our events page as it becomes available.
For questions about the 2014 Work & Well-Being events, including sponsorship and student volunteer opportunities, please email us or call (202) 336-5900.
Presented by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence
Dr. Teresa Amabile, Harvard Business School professor and co-author of The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, will deliver the keynote address at APA's 2014 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, which will be presented on Saturday, March 8th in Washington, DC.
Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, as well as a Director of Research. Her research investigates how life inside organizations can influence people and their performance.
Her current research program focuses on the psychology of everyday work life: how events in the work environment influence subjective experience and performance, including creativity, productivity and commitment to the work. She is the author of The Progress Principle, Creativity in Context and Growing Up Creative, as well as over 150 scholarly papers, chapters, case studies and presentations.
Amabile has presented her theories, research results and practical implications to various groups in business, government and education, including Google, Pixar, Intel, TEDx Atlanta, Procter & Gamble, Novartis International AG and Genentech. She holds a PhD in psychology from Stanford University.
In a previous blog post, I argued rather vehemently that perhaps the state of employee engagement isn't really in some desolate netherworld, the way some would have us all believe.
In fact, a recent Modern Survey poll reports that engagement is actually going up. Although only 13 percent are defined by Modern Survey to be fully engaged (high effort/high loyalty), another 26 percent are moderately engaged (moderate effort/moderate loyalty), another 34 percent are under-engaged (adequate effort/little loyalty) and 27 percent are disengaged (little effort/little loyalty). This means that 73 percent of workers are actually putting in at least adequate levels of effort when it comes to their work, with 39 percent putting in at least moderate levels of effort AND demonstrating at least moderate levels of loyalty.
I’m not saying companies couldn’t do better, but I don’t think those results are all that bad – and they paint a very different picture than the one presented by Gallup, which typically focuses on a worldwide engagement rate of 13 percent (the average of which includes numerous underdeveloped countries) and assumes that unless workers are highly engaged, they are either “checked out” or “actively disengaged.”
I’m not overly fond of either approach to engagement, but at least the majority of indicators in the Modern Survey poll have a strong conceptual connection to the definition of engagement used in scholarly research. Gallup’s Q12, on the other hand, has only minimal conceptual relationships with scholarly engagement constructs, and the majority of its items treat employees as the passive recipients of engagement rather than as active participants (this point has been echoed by others). Add to that the fact that Gallup argues its measure considers the four stages of engagement, something that I’ve never seen validated in any scholarly way.
You’re probably asking why I always seem so intent on criticizing Gallup, and that’s a fair question. It seems each week when I read about engagement on the web, almost all of it focuses on the dismal levels of engagement reported in Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report and then concludes by recommending specific actions employers should take for improving engagement (which typically include using Gallup’s tools and resources).
This suggests that Gallup has some sort of silver bullet that can lead to improved engagement, which will magically improve a host of effectiveness outcomes for the organization. And, of course, it assumes that there are 12 universal drivers of employee engagement.
Here’s a novel idea: Why not ask your own workers what motivates them to do their very best for your organization? What helps them to stay focused on their work, to want to get up and come to work each day and to stay with the organization? I’ll bet the answers you receive show an enormous amount of variability. You should be using those answers to drive your own assessment of engagement within your workplace.