What seven factors make companies more productive and employees happier?


Via The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work:

Our analyses of the 12,000 “event of the day” narratives we received, along with participants’ self-rated inner work lives on those days, revealed seven major catalysts that galvanize work on projects and inner work life…

1) Setting clear goals.

People have better inner work lives when they know where their work is heading and why it matters…

2) Allowing autonomy.

Setting clear goals can backfire if it amounts to nothing more than telling people what to do and how to do it… If management generally overrides people’s decisions, they quickly lose motivation to make any decision, which severely inhibits progress…

3) Providing resources.

…Providing resources has a twofold positive effect on inner work life. Not only does it allow employees to envision success on a project, but it also signifies that the organization values what they are doing.

4) Giving enough time—but not too much.

…In general, then, low-to-moderate time pressure seems optimal for sustaining positive thoughts, feelings, and drives…

5) Help with the work.

…Employees left entirely to their own devices, without any assistance or support from someone else, accomplish very little—they need help. Help can take many forms, from providing needed information, to brainstorming with a colleague, to collaborating with someone who is struggling…

6) Learning from problems and successes.

…We found that inner work life was much more positive when problems were faced squarely, analyzed, and met with plans to overcome or learn from them… Our participants’ thoughts, feelings, and drives fared better when successes, even small ones, were celebrated and then analyzed for knowledge gained…

7) Allowing ideas to flow.

…We found that ideas flowed best when managers truly listened to their workers, encouraged vigorous debate of diverse perspectives, and respected constructive critiques—even of themselves. When this crucial catalyst was missing or inhibited—when managers shut down debate or harshly criticized new ideas—people seemed to shrink into themselves…

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