The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies
Author: Paul J. Zak
Pub Date: January 2017
Print Edition: $24.00
Print ISBN: 9780814437667
Page Count: 256
e-Book ISBN: 9780814437674
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Companies have tried everything from “golden handcuffs” to gourmet meals to gimmicks like “karaoke Fridays” to retain their best employees and keep them engaged, but the only thing that really works, according to a decade of research conducted by neuroscientist Paul Zak, is building a high-trust culture.
Employees in high-trust organizations are substantially more productive, have more energy at work, and stay with their employers longer. They collaborate more effectively with coworkers, suffer less chronic stress, and are happier than employees working at low-trust companies. And they earn higher salaries because they generate so much more profit than those at low-trust organizations.
In Trust Factor, Zak lays out the eight ways his research shows you can actively design and manage a high-trust culture:
Ovation: In a survey of 100,000 employees, 79 percent said “lack of appreciation” made them quit. Cultures that celebrate members motivate them too, provided the celebrations are handled correctly.
EXpectation: Annual reviews are ineffective and no one likes them anyway. Creating difficult, but achievable, goals engages the brain’s reward system and better engages employees.
Yield: When you let employees take control of their work, they accomplish more and find new ways to innovate.
Transfer: Nearly two-thirds of employees dream of autonomy. Let them decide what teams and tasks they want to contribute to, and you elevate their productivity.
Openness: Transparency creates high levels of trust by relieving the stress of not knowing and, thus, wondering and worrying. So, share more information.
Caring: Caring promotes empathy and social bonds, from which engagement springs. If you care about them, they’ll care about you.
Invest: Companies that invest in employees’ career and personal growth—“whole person development”—see much higher rates of retention.
Natural: Vulnerability is not weakness. Honesty is not embarrassing. Both are strengths that invite collaboration, which leads to greater performance.
The old adage “trust begets trust” is true, and neuroscience proves it. By using hard science to optimize soft skills, Trust Factor offers a fresh approach to understanding why we behave as we do and how to spur dramatic, positive changes in even the most entrenched workplace cultures.
Paul J. Zak, PhD, is the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University. He led the team of scientists that first made the connection between oxytocin and trust, and his TED talk on the topic has received over a million views. He has appeared on CNN, Fox Business, Dr. Phil, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, and is the author of The Moral Molecule.
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