A Simple, Inexpensive Way to Improve Your Bottom Line
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How’s the culture at your firm? What’s the level of gossip, bias, ostracism and other employee mistreatment?
Employers in the financial services industry typically focus on improving the technical skills of their employees, which is critical. But how do these employers address workplace mistreatment, which, according to a recent study is, “...widespread and can cost organizations millions of dollars each year”.
This mistreatment has a negative impact on physical and mental health, lowers job performance and job satisfaction, and causes higher turnover and litigation.
Often, employers aren’t aware of this behavior until it’s too late.
What if there was a simple, inexpensive, intervention that could reverse negative employee behavior and improve your bottom line?
Would you try it?
A fascinating study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology looked at the impact keeping a “gratitude journal” had on interpersonal relationships in a work environment.
The participants in the study were all the employees at a data management company. Their jobs required interactions with others at least weekly. They were instructed to write down what made them grateful about their day, for 10 business days.
After this exercise, employees reported a meaningful reduction of negative behavior in the workplace.
Professor Shannon Taylor, one of the authors of the study, explained: “That simple action [keeping a gratitude journal] can change your outlook, your approach to work, and the way your co-workers see you.”
Focusing on things you are grateful for has benefits that transcend the workplace.
There’s evidence those who focus on gratitude improve their physical and mental health, have more empathy and less depression, higher self-esteem, and are better able deal with trauma in their lives.
Implementing these findings is not challenging. It doesn’t involve shifting any corporate priorities. As the leader in your firm, consider sending out a memorandum to all employees making this request:
For the next two weeks (10 business days), on a purely voluntary basis, would you be willing to keep a gratitude journal at the end of each business day? It will only take a few minutes of your time. In the journal, please record what it is about your job that you are grateful for. Examples could include interactions with particular co-workers, opportunities to learn, the potential for career advancement and anything else that comes to mind. Only you will have access to your journal. No one will know whether you participate or not.
Larger organizations could offer confidential group sessions with an organizational psychologist to evaluate the impact of the gratitude exercise.
Smaller firms should be able to easily determine whether there’s a positive change in attitude among their employees.
By taking this initiative, you have can improve the productivity of your employees and enhance their personal lives.
It’s worth a shot.