Insanely Aware


July 7, 2014

There’s a saying that a person who does the same thing day in and day out, all while expecting different results, is insane.  In the case of the unhappy employee, making a living and supporting himself, does this still ring true?

Arianna Huffington recently wrote a piece in LinkedIn discussing the growing support for corporate wellness programs.  Ms. Huffington describes, through many sources – anecdotal, case-studies and peer-reviewed journal articles – the beneficial effects on employees and companies.

Key findings were increased productivity and a reduction in various operating expenses (ie health insurance premiums).  A lower bottom line?  Tell me more!  At least that’s what my mind conjures up during that aha moment in a meeting with CEOs and other key leadership decision makers.  The evidence is coming in that an investment in employees actually pays off in the long term.  And that’s attractive for any business.

The article quoted an employee from the software company, SAS, which was quite remarkable.  Essentially the employee appreciated the amount of flexibility SAS empowered him to manage his time effectively and responsibly – taking a break to visit his kid at school – without a loss in productivity.  Imagine working in that type of environment and think how content employees would be working for a company like that.  SAS boasts one of the lowest turnover rates in the country at 4%.  Low turnover means less work for HR to process new and exiting employees, and ultimately lower costs.  It also frees them up to focus on the needs of their existing employees – how to keep them healthy and productive.

Let’s circle back to the unhappy employee.  First things first, what’s causing this unhappiness or discontent?  Is it directly related to work or is it a personal issue?  Awareness, both on an individual-level and one’s surrounding environment, is absolutely crucial in making any progress.  One strategy that has worked for me, and a number of individuals I have coached in the past, is a 30-day period of hyper-awareness and self-reflection.  Keeping emotional tabs – a journal, electronic log on a smartphone, tablet or laptop – a few times a day can offer great insight.  Especially when associating the emotion with an event, project, person, place, etc.  One such tool was developed recently (full disclosure – I currently serve as a consultant) by MoodPik.  Their smartphone app empowers the user to share their emotional state with their network.  Or users can do so anonymously.  The ability to see your emotions over a period of time is invaluable, especially when it comes to self-improvement.  Analyzing emotions as they relate to people, places, events and activities can lead to insightful realizations.

And from these realizations can one decipher how to change…and stay sane.


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