This article has been written in 2015 and I published it in Dutch. To be able to say something about the core traits of successful teams, I publish it now too in English.
At the aforementioned companies, people are convinced that you have to put employees, talents, at number 1, and that you have to set up your organization accordingly: a people-centered organization (see also Peter Drucker Forum 2018: the human dimension). Of course, you also have to earn money and in this competitive market you will only succeed with healthy and engaged employees who enjoy their work. When you listen to the stories at Google (Work rules, 2015), Facebook (ATD, 2015), Klick (Decoded company, 2014), ASML, Gartner or Menno Lanting, a number of personal resources are of paramount importance, such as:
With regard to "resilient", the term "coping style" is also used, with the definition: The cognitive and behavioral efforts made to master, tolerate, or reduce external and internal demands and conflicts among them (H. vd Vijfeijke, et all, 2013)
Both mental and physical health predict work capacbility and a high work capability is associated with high performance and pleasure in work. Good health is therefore the foundation of a high work capacity; such as adequate exercise, good sleep, no smoking, no overweight, etc. (A. Rongen, A. Burdorf, et all, 2013).
Research from Gallup found that 70% of the US workforce is not engaged (beware this does not mean that 70% is disengaged). Prof. Schaufeli has done extensive research into the factors that influence engagement and personal resources in the Netherlands. In essence, it means promoting energy sources and good leadership. These two factors are again highly correlated.
- Appropriate work
- Supervisor appreciation and trust
- Varied and challenging work
- Learning and develop opportunities Appropriate work scores highest as a determining factor in terms of engagement.
Varied or challenging work is another important factor, see also the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. This should be much more a topic for discussion between manager and employee; what could be challenging work and how to organize the work accordingly. By the way, it will not always be easy to find something challenging.
Appreciation and trust have everything to do with culture. Valuing or giving feedback is basically simple and it is done far too little, despite all those books that have been written about the learning organization. You cannot solve this with short workshops on (performance) feedback and appreciation. What could you do, so that people naturally express more appreciation to each other; how do you get it in people's genes?
Engaged, enthusiastic, positive or "happy" employees is the focus. I think the research by Shawn Achor (Harvard) is a nice addition to engagement. He states that it is about "Happiness" and then the successes come naturally. And well, who doesn't want to be happy?
With a positive attitude, he argues on the basis of research:
- Are people 35% more productive;
- A seller sells 37% more;
- People suffer much less from stress; Etc.
He argues that 75% of the successes are determined by optimism, social support and / or people view stress as a challenge and only 25% by IQ. He also argues that positive people are more creative, have a lot more energy and operate smarter.
Shawn's videos are a feast for your eyes; nice to see someone showing what he preaches. According to Shawn, it is possible to adopt new mental habits and thereby become a better employee or manager. He translates scientific results into daily life and gives seven practical advice / principles as a foundation for more success and performance (see his book: The happiness advantage):
- Happiness lead
- Mindset: lever and the pivot point
- Tetris effect: make sure you step out of negative automatisms and patterns.
- Falling up: use disappointing events as a positive experience
- Zorro circle: start small, organize your success, make sure you control that small change, and then slowly expand your circle.
- 20 second rule: organize your environment in such a way that you actually do intentions or intended new behavior. Make it easy for yourself
- Social environment: ask your immediate environment to support you.
He gives the following examples:
- 3 activities of being kind to others; express appreciation;
- 3 gratitude actions - describe 3 things that you are grateful for and / or that you thank others for something;
- record positive experiences (at least 1 per day);
- influenced positivity in your environment;
- exercise sufficiently;
- meditate or do breathing exercises;
- strengthen your strengths;
- make sure you sleep well (I add).
Learning, happiness and performance
In line with Shawn, you will connect the organization of the work or the "work rules as Google calls it" more with "happiness" and engagement. As an organization you fully invest in the 4 energy sources of Schaufeli and you work together on positivity. In addition, L&D supports the line to give substance to this. All of this stands or falls again with leadership and as an organization you will have to ensure that they are equipped for this, so that team members can and may get to work together. And you do that step by step, in collaboration with a smart communication department and not with large uplifting learning trajectories. Small changes can act as leverage, Google also speaks of "nudges".
What appeals to me at Shawn is that he takes a practical approach and therefore also appeals to people who have less spirituality or mindfulness. Instead of talking about meditation, you can also talk about short breathing exercises (such as the iceman). Does more choice for happiness mean less attention for performance? Results and success are of paramount importance to the companies mentioned. In all these companies, the information systems are also set up in such a way that the organization and especially people themselves receive real-time information about their results and their performance. You could argue that performance is so embedded in the genes of employees that there is free time to fully facilitate engagement, happiness and pleasure. The words "performance support" will be seen in a slightly different light; everything is more focused to optimally support employees; that it is about realizing engagement and happiness. ‘Happiness’ and performance support