Researchers have literally spent years...a decade or more...looking at what makes jobs an adventure versus what makes them drudgery. What they found were two key components that are needed for us to like what we do. The first is trust among the team members and the second was purpose...an understanding of the real purpose of their work. While these may seem like pretty small things, they don't happen by magic. They should be considered strategic assets by employers because they have a triple bottom line; they're good for employees, improve organizational performance, and strengthen communities. And oxytocin plays a big part in it.
When someone is intentionally trusted, even by a stranger, the human brain releases oxytocin. This, of course, reduces the typical wariness humans often feel when working with those that they do not know, or know well. it also increases a human's ability to understand the emotions of others. Enhanced empathy allows workers to come together and quickly form teams and work together more effectively. Trust makes work easier and when trust is high, the oxycotin flows and makes work feel, well, a little less like work and more like an adventure. The second component that's needed is purpose.
The only reason a company or nonprofit exists is to make the lives of others better in some way. I mean, why else would you pay for a company's product or service or approach a nonprofit for help? This is the company's purpose. When workers understand their company's purpose and, more importantly, act on it while they're at work, a second oxycotin stimulus arises. Why? That's because most humans (and frogs too) value helping others. So work teams that have both "high trust and high purpose" will blow their competition out of the water. This benefits the employer, the employee, and the customer.
In 2016, a study was done with regards to trust and purpose in the workplace. The findings are pretty amazing.
- Those people working in companies in the highest quartile of trust, compared to those in the lowest quartile, had 106 percent more energy at work, were 76 percent more engaged on the job, and said they were 50 percent more productive.
- High-trust companies had one-half the employee turnover of low-trust companies, with employees at these companies telling us that they were 56 percent more satisfied with their jobs.
- Trust improved alignment with their organization’s Purpose by 70 percent and reduced sick days by 13 percent; those fortunate enough to work in high-trust organizations were 29 percent more satisfied with their lives outside of work. Trust not only improves work, it improves life.
Remember, there are no human resources at work; only human beings. And isn't it time to start treating those we work with as "the fallible, emotional, surprising, and intrinsically wonderful human beings that they are?" It shouldn't matter whether we're the boss or one of the team.
I hope you'll join me back here tomorrow for another lesson from my wise teacher and dear friend, The Dharma Frog. Until we meet tomorrow, I wish you