People Perform Better When They Feel Committed and Engaged

Rich Fernandez, the Head of Learning and Organization Development at eBay, in conversation with Vince Horn, “Optimizing Awareness in Organizations,” Buddhist Geeks: Episode 211, March 14, 2011:

It’s almost as if with the evolution of technology and how we’ve optimized our machines, our software, our algorithms, our databases and data analysis capabilities. What comes next is optimizing our awareness and our consciousness and I think that’s increasingly something that is becoming paramount and evident in organizational life...

You know if we think about it, we all work from the age of 21 to the age of 67, 40 hours a week with a couple of weeks of vacation. That’s about 40% of our waking life spent at work -- ninety thousand hours spent at work and [during] that time we will spend most of our productive time, energy and attention.

And so cultivating the quality of the time and of the attention is increasingly paramount. That’s the case because it’s not only something that would be fulfilling for the worker or the member of the organization but it also is useful in terms of business outcomes.

Actually there’s a lot of data on this. In a workplace in which people feel committed, where they feel engaged, where they feel they’re able to really give the best of themselves and exhibit a lot of discretionary effort — when people have that level of commitment and a feeling of wellness they actually perform better.

Corporate Leadership Council and the Gallup Organization are studying hundreds of organizations and millions of employees. They’ve shown that people perform up to 20% better, for example, when they feel committed and engaged. And when they’re thriving they are 57% more productive and they are almost 90% less likely to leave organizations than others who don’t have that experience of well-being.

Well-being, mindfulness, living a sustainable work and outside life are actually differentiators in terms of how effective organizations are whether you’re mission be bottom-line driven, service driven or whatever it is that your organization is purposed for doing…

The consistent and dedicated exercise of mindfulness in the organization is kind of the underlying framework, if you will, that informs all these programs [at eBay]. Something that we’ve been doing at eBay is we’ve been bringing in mindfulness talks and [making] seminars available to employees as well as for some of our leaders and leadership teams…it’s impressive to see a room of 250 Internet employees, on at Thursday around 1:30 in the afternoon sitting in silence for 10 minutes.

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