What happens on a Great Workday?

by 10 Feb 2010

‘What happens on a Great Workday?” is the question Teresa Amabile and her colleagues at Harvard Business School asked hundreds of knowledge workers across a variety of industries as part of a multi- year study. Their aim was to find out what really motivates workers.

The results were surprising. According to their findings, employee emotions are most positive and their drive to succeed is at its peak on days when they simply made progress. The days when they felt they were making headway in their jobs, or when they received support that helped them overcome obstacles were the days when they felt on top of their game.

A McKinsey survey, on the other hand, says the key motivators are praise from immediate managers, one-on-one conversations with leaders and the chance to lead projects and task-forces.

Whichever you believe to be correct, there’s a common theme throughout all these motivators – none of them are financial and none of them directly cost the company money.

Therefore it’s reasonable to say they lie in the control of the line managers and HR department because they are strategies that don’t need to be run past and analysed by the financial department. If such strategies are implemented well, however, the HR department might find they’ll be soon thanked by the finance department.

Turnover in many companies is set to rise as the economy rebounds and if money is still tight, HR departments might want to advise the CEO, board and line managers to take heed of what policies might save a mass departure of good people.

Editorial note Issue 193: As always, comments, contributions and feedback are welcome: sarah.ocarroll@lexisnexis.com.au

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