Insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
If this quote reminds you of your workplace, then we really can’t blame you. Pakistani workplaces, no wait, most workplaces think that overworking their employees is a sound policy to pursue in their quest for maximum profits. What they don’t realize are the various hidden costs included in adopting that course day in and day out.
There is a growing chorus of research studies that reveal that this competitive approach does more harm than good to corporations in the long run. A cutthroat environment makes for a workplace where productivity diminishes over time. On the other hand, an environment with a positive work culture leads to happier, healthier and more involved workers. These benefits snowball into an avalanche of goodwill and value for the organization as a whole. And lest we forget, happier workplaces tend to deliver the best services or products to customers. A win-win scenario for all stakeholders.
This is where this post comes in. We’ll be:
- Identifying the problems and effects of stress in the workplace.
- Taking remedial steps to ensure a positive work culture that works out for all stakeholders.
Why Stress Happens and How It Affects the Corporate Workplace
The first step towards solving a problem is to admit that you (the company) have a problem.
Pressure and deadlines might result in employees performing faster and better in a crisis situation, but if this becomes the norm rather than the exception, companies are setting themselves up for failure down the road by incurring many hidden costs.
We take a look at hidden costs associated with stress.
Workers’ health, emotional wellbeing and job satisfaction levels are the first to take a hit from stress. High-pressure working cultures incur 50% more costs in healthcare related expenses, with the American Psychological Association estimating $500 billion spent for treating work-stress related ailments. 550 billion work days are also lost due to stress.
A Boss From Hell
If you have a boss who stresses you out more than anything, then there’s more bad news for you. Studies have linked employees under the management of bad bosses at an increased risk of attracting cardiovascular diseases. A strong link between leadership behavior and heart disease in employees was found according to a study carried out by Anna Nyberg at the Karolinska Institute, with 3000 employees at its center. The findings are clear. Bosses who cause stress with alarming regularity are really not good for the heart (and your organization).
Disengaged or Disinterested Employees
Rule by fear and looming deadlines long enough, and employees come up with coping mechanisms that involve detaching themselves from the regularity of it all. Employees lose interest, just settling in for a drone-like approach towards work day in and day out. Research suggests that employees who are feeling valued, supported and respected, tend to take ownership of their work and responsibilities. This was observed in a poll undertaken by the Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization that companies with disinterested workers exhibited these characteristics. they experienced 16% lower profitability, 18% lower productivity, 37% lower job growth, and 65% lower share price over time.
Lack of Loyalty
People don’t leave companies, they leave managers. As it turns out, this is very much the truth. People leave employers because their supervisors don’t appreciate or acknowledge their efforts. This can result in increased costs in recruiting, training, loss of expertise, low productivity and so on. According to the Center for American Progress, it is estimated that replacing a single employee costs as much as 20% of that person’s salary. A high employee turnover doesn’t bode well for a company’s success.
These are all reasons that make people abhor workplaces and even their co-workers. In Pakistani society, when employment opportunities are too hard to come by as it is, most tend to suffer in silence and stay the course, not admitting the mental and physical toll it takes on their wellbeing.
Wellbeing of workers comes from one place only. It’s not the money (surprise, surprise), perks or benefits that workers want. It’s a positive work culture.
Tomorrow we’ll be back with the second part of this series, detailing the steps that corporations must take to make their employees happier by ushering in a positive work culture.