Pumping Morale in an Economic Crisis
Sylvia Ann Hewlett is an economist and the founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy where she directs the “Hidden Brain Drain”—a task force of 35 global companies committed to fully realize female and minority talent over the lifespan. She also heads up the Gender and Policy Program at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She is the author of six critically acclaimed nonfiction books and her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Financial Times, and the International Herald Tribune. Hewlett has taught at Cambridge, Columbia and Princeton Universities and held fellowships at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London and the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard. A Kennedy Scholar and graduate of Cambridge University, she earned her Ph.D. degree in economics at London University.
Silvia Hewlett: What we found in this research, and we did all kinds of strategy sessions, focus groups and interviews with talent managers, there were eight things you could do to pump up morale and massively improve motivation and actually figure out how to retain and fully utilize the talent you have. They range from involving them in recreating pride and purpose, in terms of the mission of your company.
In some of the our more broken sectors, just think of financial services for instance, there's a tremendous sense that the entire business model is broken, and where do you go next for robust profits? But if you're also been frozen out and not talked and not involved in the process, you yourself don't feel any ownership in terms of where the company may or not may be going. Involving your top talent in the restructuring, refocusing, recreation of purpose and mission are very important.
So it ranges from that to figuring out how to help people, your top people and also yourself, with the body blows. There's tremendous impact on health and well being that's gone on in this recession. We measured a lot of this, whether it's depression or compromised immune systems. There are really egregious impacts on the body that has gone on in this last 12-month period.
Ernst & Young has an amazing program called Pinnacles which is really reaching out and helping them their top professionals to work on their wellness and their vitality and resilience. And that, I think, is particularly valuable this year.
So these eight interventions, I think all of them have many case examples, they are things that companies are trying but it's about feeding the cell, restoring the spirits, knitting together the motivation of the folks that you are totally reliant on for the next stage.
Founder and President of the Center for Work-Life Policy Sylvia Ann Hewlett says workers today want careers with pride and purpose. Here is a blueprint for the office of the future.
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