As per an article by Emma Seppälä (Stanford University) in the Harvard Business Review, many managers/companies fall into the trap of running a cutthroat, only the most aggressive get ahead, sort of work culture to try to gain success.
However, research focusing on positive psychology continues to show that such environments are actually toxic for teams and workplaces trying to get ahead.
Positive work environments, on the other hand, are consistently shown to help teams/companies boost their bottom line, and the overall happiness of their employees.
As a manager you may see the act of pushing your employees to the limit as an act that unlocks high performance. However, there are many hidden and negative effects as a result of this.
Health care expenditures at high-stress, high-pressure companies tend to be up to 50% higher than their lower-stress counterparts, according to the American Psychological Association. Additionally, 60% of workplace accidents, and 80% of employees’ visits to a doctor’s office can be directly attributed to stress factors in the workplace.
Highly stressed workers are more likely to get diseases, disabilities, or disorders that will negatively affect their ability to put forth their best performance.
Disengagement is another major negative effect of cut throat work environments. While tons of pressure from higher-ups may create brief engagement with work, it will inevitably lead to high stress levels that will lead to disengagement.
Given the following statistics on the effect of disengagement on employees, gathered by the Queens School of Business, the amount of pressure and stress in a workplace becomes troubling:
Disengaged workers were found to have and/or lead to:
- 37% higher absenteeism
- 60% more errors and defects
- 49% more accidents
- 37% lower job growth
- 65% lower share price over time
- 18% lower productivity
Loyalty is the third major factor that is affected by toxic workplace environments.
In fact, companies/teams with such environments have been found to have up to 50% more voluntary turnovers. Given how costly the replacement process for these workers can become, companies can most certainly profit by creating a workplace environment that reduces the need for replacements.
In fact, according to a study by The Center for American Progress, replacing even one single employee can end up costing the company up to 20% of that employee’s salary.
As a leader/manager, to ensure you avoid these downfalls in your teams and company, you must focus your efforts on creating a positive and healthy workplace, where wellbeing is a top priority.
What characteristics should you strive for, to create such a positive environment? According to research the following 6 things are essential:
- Showing interest in, caring for, and being responsible for workmates as friends.
- Providing support for each another, including providing help when others are struggling.
- Staying away from blame and forgiving mistakes.
- Inspiring each another.
- Highlighting the meaningfulness work.
- Treating each another with respect, integrity and trust.
As a leader/manager, to encourage these principles here are some things you can do:
Boost Social Connections & Interactions
The more positive social connections you have between the employees in your workplace, the better the stress levels and overall engagement will become.
Studies show that employees who work in a socially connected workplace lead much healthier lives overall.
Create More Empathy
A recent brain-imaging study has found that employees experience negative emotions and increased stress levels when recalling times when their bosses have been unkind or have lacked empathy toward them.
The opposite is true for bosses who show empathy.
Another study concludes that by showing empathy and compassion towards employees, managers can create teams which are very resilient, especially in tough times.
Help Whenever You Can
Some bosses will ignore the need for extra assistance in their workplace, leaving their employees to fend for themselves.
As per research at NYU, by going out of your way to help your employees, you will create teams that loyal and committed. They will also reciprocate/demonstrate such behaviour with you, as well as other colleagues.
Invite Employees to Open Up to You
Simply putting aside some time during the day where you talk to your staff, especially about problems they are experiencing can be very helpful.
Such a stance of openness and safety, results in better outcomes for performance and learning.
The more positive you can make a workplace, the better the wellbeing of both you and your employees. Begin focusing on the efforts listed above today, and you will begin seeing higher profits tomorrow.