Building a Positive Workplace that Deals Effectively with Today’s Stresses
Caroline slumps in her chair, stares out her kitchen window, and wonders how it came to this. She looks down at the e-mail from her boss and shakes her head thinking, “She doesn’t understand.”
The kids are arguing in the background… something about whose turn it was to take out the dog. Looking around the kitchen, she notices that the dishes from last night’s dinner are still in the sink, unwashed. In fact, the whole house is a mess, clothes lying where the kids dropped them, the half-done puzzle pieces litter the table, dirt tracks from the dog across the floor, mail is strewn about the countertop, unopened. The only part of the house that is reasonably orderly, she realizes, is the part right behind her, the part that is seen in the background of her Zoom calls.
At the time of this writing we’re hovering around a 50% vaccination rate for adults in the US.
As the progress continues, companies are looking forward to the time when they can start bringing more of their employees back into the office. This forward-thinking has focused a lot on the physical building design and safety protocols but is often missing a key aspect of the return to work: their employees’ emotional wellbeing.
While many companies have started to bring people back slowly, there has not been a rush except for aside from essential businesses where it has been required. The new normal will probably look nothing like the old normal.
It’s no secret that as a salesperson you want to win.
You want to sell, to be on top, to surpass your target, and to join that award trip. You want to be rewarded for the hard work and sales that you bring in.
But that can be hard to do if your company isn’t telling you what you need to do to win. Companies often spend significant time and energy designing those metrics and fall short when it comes to communicating them to you. This puts you in a tough position between your intentions and the outcomes of the plan.
Have you ever experienced a company with a culture so powerful that you notice it immediately? There is a positive tone in the conversation, a joyful way in which people interact, a different feeling that you get walking through the door.
Those companies are rare.
It is more likely you’ve experienced a company with a culture that is toxic. One where the tone of the conversation is so negative that it instantly brings you down, were the interactions between employees seem hostile, and where you would like to run out the door shortly after entering.
Back in September, I partnered with Tim Houlihan to start “a monthly gathering of curious minds” which we called Behavioral Grooves. We thought it would be interesting to get like-minded people together to talk about applying behavioral science to life and work.
We had no idea if others would be interested in this…
We announced the meetup and were hoping to get at least a few of the friends that we had contacted to show up. We ended up with 24 people for that first session where we talked about habits – how they are formed and what people can do to improve them.
We were thrilled!
From there, it took off. We have over 180 members signed up to our meetup group and it is growing fast. We have had three monthly sessions as of early January 2018 and our fourth is lined up for two weeks from today. We have over 20 people who have made it to two or more of the sessions.
I guess we struck a nerve.
For our second session, we invited Professor James Heyman to speak and thought, hey, since he’s here, why don’t we interview him and make a podcast out of it. Thus, our Behavioral Grooves podcast was born. Tim and I both loved that so much that we decided that we didn’t want to wait for the next Behavioral Grooves session to record our next one – so we started to invite people and interview them – both live and over the internet.
To date, we have seven interviews recorded and three more in the works. These podcasts mirror the Behavioral Grooves sessions in that they are conversational in nature where we geek out over behavioral science and how we can apply behavioral science insights into our daily work and lives.
They have been a blast!
In reflecting on this, it appears to me that these two outlets provide us with a way of both learning and sharing. We want to be advocates for good, ethical use of behavioral science. We believe that there is much to learn and we can improve our work and lives by understanding and by applying these principles in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.
We also realized that we love the community that this is creating. A community of curious minds who are interested in science and the application of that science. A community of people that we can bounce ideas off of. A community of people that can push us to think about things from new perspectives.
This is ultimately what we have been building and hope that it grows and provides a place and outlet for others, as well as ourselves.
If you are ever in Minneapolis on the third Thursday of the month – please come and join us at our meetup (find out more info here) and if you can’t make that, please listen in to our podcasts (click here to find the latest).
At the IPMI Institute HR conference in Miami we sat down with 10 HR executives from various industries and exchanged insights. We discussed what was going on in their world and how behavioral science can help the HR community.
We noticed three overarching themes:
Organizations are finding cultural change hard
Organizations have not had significant success at engaging their employees
Organizations don’t have the bandwidth to prioritize employee communications—although they know doing so is important
Back in January we introduced you to the concept of integrating Behavioral Science into Graphic Design. If you did not have a chance to read it, or for a recap, click here.
Today we will expand a bit more on the idea of “cognitive load”.
Not only is cognitive load a valuable resource to utilize in graphic design; but it is also extremely valuable in communications, speaking engagements, presentation’s and an all-around useful tool for increasing the understanding of any subject.
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