The Great Recession has increased the workloads of 80% of employees according to a recent Workforce Management online poll of over 700 HR professionals. Of those with greater workloads, 80% reported a decrease in engagement as well as more than 40% reporting an increase in employees’ health problems. Overloading employees does not appear to gain greater market share or profitability. High performance companies have a high-energy, high- performance workforce.
Tony Schwartz, author of several books including Be Excellent at Anything studied violinists, athletes, nurses, teachers, police officers and others to evaluate what excellent performers do differently than others. He recommends time periods of focused work coupled with periods of renewal among other key strategies.
Another piece of the puzzle is to support our core emotional need, to feel secure and be valued. It’s what makes up our sense of worth. The Great Recession has certainly impacted these emotions.
Abraham Maslow placed a sense of belonging second only to safety in his hierarchy of human needs. Author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman said “threats to our standing in the eyes of others are remarkably potent biologically, almost as powerful as those to our very survival.”
When one’s security and value is threatened by another in a work group, it has tremendous emotional impact. When a supervisor criticizes an employee’s performance, the employee’s biological reaction is to fight (defend) or flight (withdraw). Neither response is positive; neither adds value, improves performance nor engagement.
Supervisors need to learn how to build relationships with employees by demonstrating integrity. Supervisors need to conduct conversations conveying mutual respect and mutual purpose.
Conversations need to keep employees’ sense of security intact. Swartz suggests ending the conversation with communicating his confidence in the person’s ability to achieve the goal. To maintain integrity, if that belief isn’t sincere, it’s probably time to let that person go.
Gallop found that having a “best friend at work” is linked to high performance and high engagement. This “best friend” provides the security and support needed to maintain one’s self-worth. Our “best friend at work” also supports the need to belong. The friend nourishes.
How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, Ph.D concurs that we need our buckets filled in order to survive. We can fill or empty another person’s bucket by affecting their emotions through words and actions. Their theory is that when our bucket is filled, we feel great; when it’s empty, we feel awful.
Rath and Clifton confirm the power of emotions in their description of North Korean POW camps. The camps denied captors any emotional support. The result was the highest death rate in US military history. Doctors said more than half the deaths were a result of mirasmus, simply giving up.
Chances are no one will die from lack of emotional support at work. Though high blood pressure and other stress-related illnesses may be attributed to a negative work environment.
Having a supportive supervisor and a best friend will keep the bucket full, and keep people at their best.
Right To Work (RTW)
RTW legislation would prohibit employers from having a “closed or union shop” where an agreement between the employer and the labor union requires all employees be or become union members and pay union dues.
RTW allows employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union. The union remains obligated to represent the employees under the collective bargaining agreement. However, non- member employees would not have voting privileges and may be excluded from certain member-only benefits.
Opinion is absolutely mixed according to a survey conducted by Ball State’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs in 2011 which found 48% of the respondents undecided, 27% supported and 24% opposed the RTW legislation.
Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research studied the economic impact of RTW on 48 states and the District of Columbia from 1929 through 2005. The impact is also mixed and difficult to untangle from other business- related legislation.
New NLRB Board
President Barack Obama used recess appointments to add three members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) the day after Craig Becker’s term expired, which left the NLRB without a quorum.
Sharon Block is the Department of Labor’s (DOL) deputy assistant secretary for congressional affairs, and Richard Griffin is general counsel for the International Union of Operating Engineers. Terence Flynn was a staff attorney for NLRB member Brian Hayes. Griffin and Block are Democrats; Flynn is a Republican.
The board now has three Democratic members and two Republican members; Mark Pearce is a Democrat, and Brian Hayes is a Republican.
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