Workplace Stress: Employing Heart

On Wednesday, October 10th, 2012, The Globe and Mail published an article entitled "Top 100 Employers." The article provides a synopsis of the qualities that make that particular organization a great employer.

Take a moment and review the list. Each of these employers offer innovative incentives to attract and retain their most valuable resource - their employees.

This article in The Globe and Mail stirred up a memory of another article that I read in a magazine at least two decades ago. It was about a company that employs heart in a big way. I have long since forgotten the name of the magazine, but not the name of the company. SAS does things differently; as a result of their actions, they moved into the number one spot as a Best Company to Work For in 2010.

Early on, management realized that their most valuable resource is what makes the difference between a company and a great company. Job polls show that money isn't everything, something SAS realized a long time ago. The pay-off for the company is measurable. Job satisfaction is high, as is evidenced by a low employee turn-over. This results in a work force that is ready, willing and able to put in their best efforts for a company that demonstrates their appreciation by offering creative incentives that serve to keep their employees on the payroll.

Simply put, stressed out employees don't perform well. It is estimated that stress costs the Canadian economy fifty-one billion dollars in lost productivity. What happens at work doesn't just stay at work, either. The costs of stress to the family is life-altering.

An employee that is forced to do more with less, whether it be people, equipment, time and/or techniques, can be compared to a high performance race car that is expected to excel without maintenance and high octane fuel. Eventually it breaks down. Just like an employee.

Best practices need to start at the top, as I mentioned in this article in The Globe and Mail. It's not enough to mandate, "Don't worry, be happy"; most likely employees will literally and figuratively cross their arms and resist with such an edict. They need to know what it feels like when stress has been transformed. For some people it may be so long ago that they can't remember when they weren't stressed.

Stress can quickly extinguish all the qualities that make a workplace great; adaptability, compassion, camaraderie, flexibility, integrity, innovation and productivity.

Since people spend so much time at work, It's essential to have the heart fully engaged in work. If it's not, inevitably, over time, the stress from work will ooze it's way not only into the workplace, but also into the heart, brain, health and family. Do the people in your workplace know how to shift out of stress and into a balanced state, allowing them to bring forth their best, so that your company can be the best?

Bring Auntie Stress to your workplace. Please contact me for the "auntie"-dote to stress.

How do you weigh in on this discussion on LinkedIn about Job vs money satisfaction?

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