Taking care of your employees

Employees want to work for businesses that appreciate worker contributions, encourage new ideas and treat customers fairly.

In these environments, “people want to be an employee of a company, and they have an investment in it,” said Brian Kelly, chief executive of Kelly Services, which provides training and consulting for companies in hiring, training and retention.

There are, however, still downsides to a high-tech culture. Technology like the one from Salesforce has enabled the ability to reach even bigger audiences, allowing employers to expand their reach to a greater number of people than ever before, according to the study.

Yet the study also found that people can get their work done in different ways. When employees want to focus on their work, the most frequently cited reason for being disengaged from work was lack of confidence, lack of engagement, lack of respect for work and not being able to produce high-quality work.

But when employees feel valued, the reasons for disengagement decrease.

People in Silicon Valley are used to the importance of creativity. They recognize a need for more creative managers and higher pay at the top of the organization. Yet this demand seems to come without concern for the role of technology in shaping how creative employees are and how creative employees can be. And when creative employees are more creative, the need for technology to be more creative rises.

To address this, the study suggests that managers and organizations should provide a clear message about the value of creativity, which, in turn, can improve employees’ perceptions of their intrinsic motivation. It’s easy to focus on the technical and economic value of creativity, and to ignore the role that culture plays. As the authors write: “At a time when technology is becoming a primary force shaping cultural values, managers must consider how their own values might affect the kind of work they accept and how they convey their values to their own employees.” Explore more in our interview with Tania Lombrozo, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University.

In the last two decades, businesses have realized that workers’ perception of their internal motivatorsmotivational factors that relate to how much they want to be in the workplacecan be a critical predictor of the kind of performance they achieve, as well as their productivity. Research has shown that people are especially likely to be disappointed with their jobs if they perceive that the organization values their external motivations (such as the satisfaction of the customers they serve or the profit motive) more than their internal ones.

“Our new finding here is that when your internal motivators are really important to you, you don’t give a hoot about what kind of internal motivators your colleagues are presenting,” explains Tania Lombrozo, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University. She is the lead author of the study, which was published online Oct. 9 in the journal,Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.


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