engagementA recent New York Times article addressed a condition that most of us fall prey to from time to time: burnout. Apparently, though, the problem of burnout is more widespread than I realized. According to a 2013 Gallup report, only 30 percent of American employees feel engaged at work. Srinivasan S. Pillay, a psychiatrist and assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, surveyed a random sample of 72 senior managers and discovered that nearly all of them had experienced at least some signs of burnout. Technology seems to be the biggest culprit—we’re all expected to be available at all hours of the day and night, ready to respond to an onslaught of information. The article authors, Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath of The Energy Project, an organization that works to improve employee engagement and performance, partnered with the Harvard Business Review to conduct a survey of more than 12,000 employees across a range of industries. What they found shouldn’t come as a surprise: When employees’ core needs are met, they’re far more satisfied and productive in their jobs. Schwartz and Porath defined core needs as:

  • Physical – having opportunities to recharge at work
  • Emotional – feeling appreciated and valued
  • Mental – having the opportunity to focus on their tasks and determine where and when they complete their work
  • Spiritual – feeling connected to a higher purpose in their jobs
“Put simply, the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform,” the authors wrote. “What our study revealed is just how much impact companies can have when they meet each of the four core needs of their employees.” Read the full article at NYTimes.com.]]>

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