My colleague, Steve Mollen, just sent me an article (below) that gathers a raft of data together to empirically underscore the argument that positive organization culture contributes to higher productivity, engagement, satisfaction AND lower health costs, lower illness, and even lower mortality. I love this kind of research. My own dissertation, 30 years ago, demonstrated the connection between ugly workplace culture and burnout in healthcare.
I actually found the whole topic depressing, but it was motivated by a belief that we can, and should, foster workplace cultures that are uplifting, fulfilling, and human-centric in ways that generate high performance, creativity, and social cohesion. We certainly need all the help we can get these days, when miserable work satisfaction and engagement scores are symptomatic of a deeper malaise in the world of work.
For my money, we’ve lost our way, creating a norm of a working world in which the people who produce and serve come last, after profits, after “efficiencies”, after unconscionable executive packages, irrationally high shareholder expectations and unhinged stock analyst reviews. Profit is an excellent goal, as a byproduct of human effort, when the collateral benefit is human thriving. The contrary, where profit is derived from miserable work environments, is profiteering, pure and simple. Like deriving giant returns from polluting our air and water and food supply. We can see illegal dumping of toxin in the rivers and lakes as a crime. Do people deserve less?
Ah, I’m moving into the impassioned plea/rant space here. I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. In the meantime, as we celebrate the holidays and consider the gifts of a new year ahead, why not imagine a world in which work is fulfilling, where people feel respected and valued at their job, and where the spirit of doing well by others inside and outside of work, extends throughout the year? ‘Tis the season of hope, after all!