Is a pat on the back better than sex?
In these troubled financial times managers around the world have been looking at other ways to boost employee engagement when financial remuneration hasn't been available to them. New research at an American university reveals that self-esteem boosts are more highly rated than sex, which given how highly sexed most university students are is quite a claim indeed.
According to the research by Brad Bushman and his co-workers, not only do American university students have higher self-esteem than previous generations, they now value self-esteem boosts more than sex, food, receiving a salary payment, seeing a friend or having an alcoholic drink.
Bushman and his team asked the students to imagine their favourite food, sexual activity, self-esteem boosting activity (such as receiving a compliment). In each case they were asked to relay how much they liked it and how much they wanted it. They discovered that self-esteem boosts were the most popular.
To test these findings, students were asked to take a simple verbal intelligence test, and then asked to wait around for 10 minutes for the results. Interestingly, those that said previously that they wanted self-esteem boosts more than they like them stayed around for the results in much higher numbers than the other students.
Now we've known that self-esteem is crucial ever since Maslow and his hierachy of needs placed it as the 2nd most sought after 'need'. What this research does do however is reinforce the point that esteem doesn't have to be delivered in financial ways, but that in our financially challenged times it should not be neglected as your team will suffer if you do neglect their egos. It also supports other work suggesting that employees with high self esteem perform better.
So how can you boost the self esteem of your team?
- Say thank you. Research by OC Tanner suggest saying a simple 'thank you' raises employee engagement by as much as 30%
- Don't assume people know. If you think someone is doing a good job, don't assume they know, tell them, and tell them immediately. Give feedback little and often.
- Invest in them. Show how much you appreciate them by supporting their training and development.
- Create small wins. Research shows that long projects struggle to engage staff, so break them down into smaller tasks that boost esteem with each win.
What other ways can you boost esteem?
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