The Perk That Matters Most

April 13th, 2016

What's the best way to increase productivity, loyalty and overall well-bring in the workplace?

a. Implement a wellness program

b. Offer employees more money

c. Launch a bring-your-pet to work day

d. None of the above

Those who chose "d" get to go to the head of the class. Research suggests that the most powerful way leaders can improve employee well-being is not through programs and initiatives but through day-to-day actions, according to Emma Seppala in Harvard Business Review. She writes,

An organizational culture characterized by forgiveness, kindness, trust, respect, and inspiration. Hundreds of studies conducted by pioneers of positive organizational psychology, including Jane Dutton and Kim Cameron at the University of Michigan and Adam Grant at Wharton, demonstrate that a culture characterized by a positive work culture leads to improved employee loyalty, engagement, performance, creativity, and productivity. Given that about three-quarters of the U.S. workforce is disengaged at work — and the high cost of employee turnover — it’s about time organizations start paying attention to the data.

Numerous studies show that a leader's attitudes and actions set the tone for the organization. A workplace environment characterized by trust, forgiveness, understanding, empathy, generosity, and respect develops because the leader models these humanizing characteristics.

For example, one Fortune 500 corporation in the Bay Area has a system in place whereby the CEO is immediately informed if an employee comes down with a major illness or has experienced a personal tragedy. Within 15 minutes, no matter how busy he is, the CEO makes time to call that person and offer his support.

If this sounds like a practice that the Bible encourages, your thinking is correct.

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9)  

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)  

Wherever and whomever God calls us to lead, Christ is our leadership model.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

Read Ms.Seppala’s entire article at Harvard Business Review.