New research suggests that when employees feel love at work, they are more engaged and productive. Of course, we’re not talking about the sort of office love which leads to sexual harassment law suits and divorce. Rather, what Barsade and O’Neill are referring to in their research is ‘companiate love’: feeling warmth, connection and affection for your co-workers.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that employees in a caring workplace culture feel happier. However, the research also found several tangible business benefits from creating ‘loving’ organisations:
- Employees turn up to work more often
- They are more committed to the organisation
- They take more accountability for their work
So how can you foster a ‘loving’ workplace culture? Barsade and O’Neill suggest three key tactics:
- Re-think your notion of organisational culture to include values beyond the cognitive (such as team work and innovation) to include emotional values (like joy or pride).
- Create policies which nurture a caring work environment. For example Cisco CEO John Chambers asks to be notified within 48 hours if an employee suffers the loss of a close relative.
- Leaders should pay attention to their mood and the emotional atmosphere they are creating for their teams.
I would also add, that to ensure the creation of this nurturing environment, be sure to reward employees who demonstrate compassion, kindness and care towards their fellow employees. Build this into performance reviews to ensure employees understand its importance.