673: Maximizing Wellbeing at Work with Gallup’s Dr. Jim Harter

By June 3, 2021Podcasts

 

 

Dr. Jim Harter says, "70% of the variance in team engagement is influenced by the manager."

Dr. Jim Harter shares the key practices that improve wellbeing at work.

You’ll Learn:

  1. The five key ingredients to a thriving work life
  2. Top tips for developing each area of wellbeing
  3. What most organizations get wrong about wellbeing

About Jim

Jim Harter, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist for Gallup’s workplace management and wellbeing practices. He is coauthor of the No. 1 Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestseller, It’s the Manager. He is also the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller 12: The Elements of Great Managing.

Dr. Harter’s book, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, is based on a global study of what differentiates people who are thriving from those who are not. His research is featured in First, Break All the Rules, and he contributed the foreword to Gallup’s updated edition of this groundbreaking bestseller.

Dr. Harter is the primary researcher and author of the first large-scale, multi-organization study to investigate the relationships between work-unit employee engagement and business results. His work has appeared in many publications, including Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and Time Magazine, and in academic articles and book chapters.

Dr. Harter received his doctorate in psychological and cultural studies in quantitative and qualitative methods from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).

Resources mentioned in the show:

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Dr. Jim Harter Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Jim, thanks for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Jim Harter
Thanks for having me, Pete.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I’m excited to dig into much of your wisdom and research. I understand that your latest here has involved a hundred million plus people. What’s the story here?

Jim Harter
Well, we’ve had a chance to study workplaces all over the world for quite some time, to study individual strengths of people in the workplace. We’ve developed various tools for selecting people into the right jobs, and we’ve studied workplace environments extensively both inside organizations. So, think about thousands of organizations conducting census surveys and mapping the data down to the team level so that managers get a report on how they’re building a culture.

Then, also, we do polls of the entire globe, the only real-world poll of the entire globe, on issues like how engaged people are in their work, their wellbeing, how they think about their lives, and how they experience their days. And so, those accumulated interviews with people add up to actually, a hundred million is pretty conservative.

Pete Mockaitis
And that’s interviews not survey responses. Interviews. That’s just huge. Hotdog! Well, while we’re here, I’ve got say the Gallup Engagement Research has been cited so many times by the hundreds of guests on the show that it’s just sort of an institution almost. And so, I’d love it if you could maybe, for everyone who’s wondering, how do we bucket it in terms of putting a person into the engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged categories? How do we arrive there?

Jim Harter
Well, we started off by studying which elements of human nature at work predict performance outcomes and conducted very large-scale studies looking at which particular survey items predict not only how people feel about their jobs overall but also performance outcomes like productivity, whether they’re likely to stay or leave an organization; profitability, were their customers are getting served the right kind of way; safety incidents; absenteeism. We’d looked at all these kinds of outcomes and we found that there were 12 elements that best explain what a great workplace culture looks like.

And so, we had questions we tested over and over again. And so, there are 12 elements that go into that formula that we apply to get at the percentage of engaged, not engaged, actively disengaged. And the percentage that we come up with is really a high bar. If you look at our global data, only about 20% of people are engaged globally. And, in the US. we’re talking about 36% as of the end of 2020. The good news is those numbers have been going up.

And when we study organizations, we have seen them move from less than 20% engaged all the way up to over 70%. I say it’s a high bar because the criteria is performance. There’s a lot of organizations out there using other metrics like combining, on a one-to-five scale, the fours and fives together, and coming up with a percentage of favorable, oftentimes calling that engaged. That’s a pretty soft metric. That’s more like a satisfaction metric than a high bar kind of metric.

The reason for the high bar though, again, is it gets you to a real culture when you improve on it and it gets you to real performance outcomes when you improve on it.

Pete Mockaitis
So, it’s a high bar in terms of the robustness of the study. Is it also a high bar in terms of like the, I don’t know, strictness of the grading on the 12 questions? Or how do you think about that?

Jim Harter
Yeah, it is, because we looked at how each of those questions relate to performance outcomes. And so, if you think about like a on one-to-five scale, there’s a big difference between someone. I’ll give you an example of the question, “I know what is expected of me at work.” Only about half of the people globally can strongly agree to that. That means the other half are at least somewhat confused at what they’re supposed to do. Think about the problems that creates in the work environment when people just don’t know what to do next. That’s why managing is so important.

But a difference between a four and a five is very significant, and so we lean more toward people given those more…those strongly agree kinds of responses. It doesn’t mean that they have to strongly agree to every question, of course. But it’s a formula we apply based on how that scale relates to different performance outcomes. So, yeah, it’s a higher bar in terms of how we’ve determined, you can call them cutoffs, to determine whether you’re engaged or not, but there’s a reason. And the reason is it really gets an authentic culture when organizations improve on it. It gets into a very authentic culture where a leader can feel like they’ve got something reliable that they’ve built.

And it’s been particularly important to see this play out during crises. We’ve studied this research. We’ve conducted ten meta analyses now of how engagement predicts performance outcomes. But we’ve had a chance to study the relationship between engagement and performance during two previous recessions and now this one. And we find the correlation between engagement and performance is a little bit stronger during tough times.

And so, think of it as like an insurance policy, when the going gets tough, are your people going to get into more of a fight or flight mentality or are they going to be resilient and have your back because you’ve had their back?

Pete Mockaitis
Well, thank you. I’ve wanted to know that for a long, long time. I’ve seen the 12 questions, I’ve heard the 36% figure many times, and now we know that the 36% is a high bar. But I think it’s also a true bar in terms of if you just talked to your buddies, maybe a little over a third will say, “Yeah, I’m engaged. I dig it.” And others are like, “Yeah, it’s okay, I guess.”

Jim Harter
And there’s a big chunk in the middle there where they’re just kind of if they get a better opportunity, they’ll take it with another organization. They show up, do the minimum required, not much else, but they’re not the people who really are going to be resilient during tough times and surpass the competition with innovative ideas during the good times.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. And it’s encouraging that some workplaces have indeed gotten to 70% and that feels true as well in terms of if you talked to some folks at some amazing places, it’s like, “Yeah, the vast majority of people really are digging this here.” So, thank you. That was just an appetizer, an amuse-bouche to our main topic today. Wellbeing at Work is your latest. Kind of what’s the big idea here and some of the most intriguing discoveries from these many millions of interviews?

Jim Harter
Well, we wrote a wellbeing book back in 2010, and that one, we leveraged the global discoveries from that world poll I was talking about earlier. And the question we asked for that book was, and all the research we did leading up to it, was, “Are there some universal characteristics in people or elements that drive wellbeing in terms of people having a thriving overall life and experiencing really good days?

Well, we know that every region in the world is somewhat different culturally but we found there are five elements that were universal and consistently predicted thriving lives and great days for people where they had high interests, high enjoyment, lower levels of stress, worry, anger, or sadness, all those negative emotions we can list off.

And the five that we found, that writing was directed at individuals, “How do we help individuals live more thriving lives?” And the five are career wellbeing, social wellbeing, financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing, and community wellbeing. And they’re in an order for a purpose. This particular book, we decided to aim it at organizational leaders and managers, primarily because we see an issue right now where most organizations don’t have what we’d call a net thriving culture, where employees not only their work life in terms of their engagement, but also their overall life is either struggling or suffering.

And we saw this play out during the pandemic, in particular, where we saw drops in the percentage of thriving employees, in spikes in worry and stress in our global data. We’re seeing a continuous rise globally in the percentage of people that have negative emotions. And even before this pandemic, Pete, we were trending on what the new workforce was looking for. And one of the things the new workforce was looking for was a workplace that improves their overall life. It isn’t just a job. The separation between work and life had already started to fade away primarily because we carry these devices around with us that connect us to our work more often, maybe sometimes than we like, and sometimes we can connect with the work when we want to in our spare time.

But people in the younger generations, you can think about Millennial and Gen Z, expect their workplace to improve their lives. And all these trends that we saw pre-pandemic just got magnified. The number one perk people were asking for, pre-pandemic, was flex time. Boom! We had the great shift and a high percentage of people had that flex time. And there’s all kinds of things I can get into in terms of we trended a lot of data during COVID and continue to, so there’s a lot underneath that as well.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, that’s interesting right there. I mean, hey, so we got our flex time but my hunch is that we’re not so much feeling a whole lot of wellbeing during pandemic times.

Jim Harter
Yes. It’s interesting. Pre-pandemic, the people who worked from home 100% of the time, and, by the way, that was only about 4% of the population who were 100% worked from home, and suddenly that jumped up to 48% full-time work from home after the great shift that we call it. And 70% of people in jobs, at least some of the time, and most of those some of the times were most of the time working from home. But the interesting thing was pre-pandemic, those people who worked from home 100% of the time, that 4%, they had lower levels of reported burnout.

During the pandemic, the 100% work-from-homers actually had higher levels of burnout than the others. So, there’s something there. As I talked to organizations, almost all of them that had a lot of work-from-home folks during COVID or continue to, are planning on some type of a hybrid type option going forward.

The good news there is the hybrid employees, pre-pandemic, were the ones that had the highest levels of engagement at work. So, there’s a factor inside engagement around autonomy that’s really important. And great managers find ways to build autonomy into jobs and, at the same time, get involved with people in setting goals and holding them accountable but still have autonomy and connectedness with them.

So, the solution part of all this really does sit not exclusively but highly with managers because they’re in the best position to know what people are going through and get close enough to people to know their individual situation.

Pete Mockaitis
And so then, what are some of the key practices that contribute to teams and organizations becoming net thriving?

Jim Harter
At the organizational level, there are some, I think, really important foundational things you have to get right. I’ll come back to this later if you want me to, but there are some threats and some risks, there are barriers to organizations having a net thriving culture that if you don’t take care of those, you’re going to have some issues.

But one of the things is that it’s really important for organizations to think about those five elements of wellbeing that we listed. They’re all science-based. We know we can rely on them. If we work on those and improve them, we can make a big difference in people’s lives, and they’re all changeable to some extent. They’re areas everybody can work on.

But I would argue, the organizations need an organizational structure so that everything that they’re offering employees, they are aligning with at least one of those five elements or more so it makes sense to people, so people know why it exists and why it was developed by the organization. Too often, people might have programs, policies, perks that are offered by an organization, they either are unaware of it, or they don’t know why it exists, or just doesn’t come top of mind to them until there’s a crisis or something. So, the organizational structure is important.

It’s also important that the CEO is highly involved in building a net thriving culture. The reason for that is anytime we look at culture change, it’s owned from the top of the organization, not just stated but actually owned and an important value that the organization holds close. And we’re going to see more and more of that, I think, going forward with all the pressure on ESG, the Environmental, Social and Governance standards that are kind of finally coming to a head, I think, in terms of some more official standards. And at Gallup, we’ve been working on the people component of that, the social part you could say.

I think another thing that’s really important from a practice standpoint is to equip managers to move from a boss mentality to a coaching mentality, and equip them to have the right kinds of wellbeing conversations that don’t feel forced but rather are more natural. So, for them to have those natural conversations, there’s a progression that has to happen in terms of how they become upskilled.

I think, also, what organizations can do is develop a network of wellbeing coaches. And what I mean by that are people who’ve become experts in particular areas and gather best practices and share best practices. Part of that is peer to peer, I think, is really important. In the wellbeing space, people learn a lot from their peers because, “These are people like me. They’re not somebody who’s making a lot more money or whatever,” trying to tell them how to have higher wellbeing. It doesn’t have as high a credibility for them.

So, “Learning from people like me and getting ideas from people like me,” but collecting best practices and having some experts internally. An example would be there’s so much information out there about nutrition. You can look all over the place and you see little tiny studies that say something, and in the next month they say something else. I think organizations need someone who integrates the best science and teaches it back to employees so they know what they can rely on.

And then the other thing, I think, is important from a practice standpoint is to go through an audit how you’re doing things right now, your rules, your guidelines, how you communicate, your facilities, your incentive systems, how you recognize people, the different events and developmental opportunities you have available. Those can all be audited through the lens of, “Does this improve an individual wellbeing?” You can do it statistically, you can do it qualitatively, but just to go through and hold yourself accountable for everything that you’re doing right now and whether it’s really one utilized into, related to higher levels of wellbeing for people.

So, you can go to that level of detail on this but most organizations just want to start somewhere. And to start somewhere, you need to get some good measures in place and you need to see where you have variance, where you have some highs and lows, and start digging into what’s going on, and study some best practices inside your own organization. But, above all, equip your managers to have the right kinds of conversations to move on that boss to coach journey.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Well, when we think about some of the particular practices that the coaches are learning and sharing, could you maybe give us one or two inside each of the five elements of wellbeing that really make a world of difference for a relatively small amount of effort?

Jim Harter
Well, we’ll just go down the list. Career wellbeing, probably the simplest and most efficient practice you can get really good at is through strengths. So, Gallup has a tool. It’s called CliftonStrengths and it’s a scientific assessment that will list off your strengths, your 34 strengths and there’s all kinds of combinations that anybody could get, but the key is to understand what your strengths are individually.

And when I’m talking about strengths, I’m talking about innate kind of characteristic that are not likely to change significantly once we become adults. We still change and evolve but they’re less likely to change and evolve than something like how we view our workplace or skills. It’s more innate. So, leveraging your own strengths, knowing about them, and leveraging them. It just leads for more efficient activities inside organizations where people don’t try to be something that they’re not and they develop through who they are in unique ways.

So, that’s probably the most direct one on career wellbeing. When people are using their strengths, we’d measure these in the moment, they report much higher levels of energy when they can do what they do best. So, continually figuring that out and refining it, but that tool I’ve mentioned can give people a big head start there.

Social wellbeing, it starts with onboarding, I think, in organizations. We have to make it a priority during onboarding where people get to know other people right away. And I think that became a challenge for organizations that were doing onboarding during COVID. There wasn’t a lot of hiring going on but, going forward, I think organizations are going to have to have strategies for how they do that because the advantage on the social wellbeing front is there for people who already knew each other in working from home and remotely. That’s not difficult to connect on Zoom and to have conversations if you already know somebody and have worked with them for a long time, but it’s really the newer people where I think there’s a big gap there that needs to be filled.

But social wellbeing, we have a question we ask on our engagement survey called…it’s worded “I have a best friend at work.” It’s kind of controversial because not everybody thinks that that’s important in the workplace but it links to all kinds of outcomes so we kept it in there. That’s a social wellbeing component. And people ask me, “How do you change that? How do you effect that?” I would argue it’s the easiest of the engagement elements to act on because it requires creating situations where people have a chance to get to know one another and kind of getting out of the way and letting human nature take over. We’re human beings. We’re social. We tend to connect naturally if we know something about someone else. So, it’s not one you have to try to force or anything like that, but just a couple of thoughts there on social.

On financial, the financial wellbeing is about two things if we’re going to boil it down. It’s about reducing stress. It can be related to money, of course, but it’s not completely about the amount of money you make. It’s also about how you manage that money to reduce stress, daily stress, and increase longer-term security.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. How should I be spending my money to do that?

Jim Harter
Well, one thing is we have so much automation now, we don’t have to think about paying bills as much anymore, which helps a lot to reduce stress.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, when I have to write a check and I’m kind of irritated.

Jim Harter
Yeah, it is the activity of writing that check. So, automation can help. The other thing is once you take care of your basic needs, reduce stress, spending money on experiences, we’ve seen, other people seen, and the academic literature, spending on experiences less.

You develop stories, the stories might even evolve that you had during those experiences but they live on. Whereas, the physical purchases, while they’re nice for a short period of time, it kind of fades a bit. We’ve all kind of experienced that. But spending money on the right kinds of things so you’re building those stories and experiences with people, I think, is a really kind of creative way of prioritizing the extra money that you might blow on something else. So, I think that money management is a big factor, of course, but then kind of aiming it at, “How do I create more really good experiences with other people with the money?” Sometimes it’s your own individual experience but, in many cases, it’s experiences with other people.

Physical wellbeing. You might immediately think of physical wellbeing as disease burden or the lack of disease burden, and that’s certainly a part of it. Imagine your life in such a way where you reduce that. That became so apparent during COVID where the people who had less disease burden or just more resilient to the virus. And so, we had some of our researchers develop a model around that and it’s amazingly accurate at predicting mortality rates.

Pete Mockaitis
Now, when you say disease burden, does that just mean I have a lot of diseases or how do we think about that?

Jim Harter
Well, it can range anywhere from obesity to heart disease, to preexisting condition, cancer. Hypertension, so even depression anxiety falls into disease burden but those are more psychological. But the point we try to make about physical wellbeing is that the end goal should be…because some of our disease burden, we can’t do anything about, it’s genetic, right?

So, the goal under the physical wellbeing umbrella should be that we manage our life, in whatever situation we’re in, to increase energy so that we can get things done that we want to get done. And the things that we can influence involve what we eat, involve the quality of sleep that we get, and the movement, our movement. We call this exercise now. The people that we studied, George Gallup did a study of, he called them the oldsters but they lived to be 95 plus. And one thing that they had in common was that they kept working, by the way, until their, many of them, 70s and 80s. They just kept working but they had jobs that required them to move around a lot, not just all farming jobs either. There are all kinds of different jobs but they moved a lot.

They also ate smaller meals. They had jobs that they loved. They loved their work. Their spare time was spent with family and friends. So, you can kind of see those five elements coming out. They lived in a variety of different types of communities, some urban, some rural, some suburban so the type of community wasn’t a differentiator. But I just thought that was interesting that a lot of what he learned back then studying these people who lived long lives, even though their practices weren’t identical to what we can do now. They had some of the same themes that stuck out.

Pete Mockaitis
And while we’re talking physical, so move more, that’s good. Any quick best practices associated with the sleeping better and the eating better?

Jim Harter
Well, one is both too much sleep and too little are both bad, that’s what all the research is showing. But it’s really the quality of the sleep that’s the key, if you wake up feeling well-rested, refreshed. I’m a big fan of the short power nap, going conscious for 10 minutes, that’s very refreshing. I reviewed some research that I found very interesting that said, that showed, actually there’s a YouTube on as well that shows visually there’s a fact with sleep that it’s the only organ in our body, apparently, where the waste cells only leave, only get drained out or cleaned out when we sleep. The rest of our body is continuously getting rid of wastes.

Pete Mockaitis
So, the brain is the only organ?

Jim Harter
Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, yeah.

Jim Harter
And you can kind of feel that when you take a nap or wake up feeling well rested. I use sleep in my writing, not that I’m writing when I’m sleeping. I just kind of learned this trick where day one, I’ll kind of try to get my head all the information I can around the topic I’m writing on, and in the next morning, after I sleep on it, it somehow kind of gets integrated better, and it comes out a lot more smoothly where I’m kind of struggling day one to even write good sentences. But I think sleep is a really good one to just kind of think about how you do it and when you do it and how you manage that effectively.

On diet, to me, and again there’s all kinds of advice on diet, but to me, from what I’ve read, the two takeaways are try to reduce processed food and eat smaller amounts. The calorie thing is still a thing. It still means something. There’s been so much emphasis on what you eat but the amounts still matters, and that’s the hardest thing to manage, I think.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. That’s physical. And how about community?

Jim Harter
Community, at a basic level, is about making sure you live in a safe area, having a safe place to live, and having housing that’s adequate for you and your family. And at a higher level, community wellbeing is about giving back, giving in a way that makes sense for you. And the giving part can vary by person. It can vary by stage of life, but organizations can really set people up for that by just sharing opportunities for giving, connecting people who have similar passions and interests together, and just providing a wide range of opportunities, and giving as an organization first.

So, “Here’s what we’re doing as an organization to contribute to our community and to society in general.” And many, probably most cases, organizations can do that through what they do in their work, their business, but outside of the work that they do, they can do it so many other ways as well. So, that’s an important one.

Neuroscientists found that the part of our brain that lights up when we get something, lights up even more when we give, so sort of the helper’s high. And so, again, I think organizations can play a huge role there and on all these elements by putting some defaults in place that make it easy for people to do what’s in their best intentions.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Well, so we got some principles in terms of how organizations and leaders can facilitate some more good stuff happening and some specific practices for individuals. Can you share with us a cool story or example or a case study of a team or organization that went from, you know, not so much wellbeing to boatloads of wellbeing and how that unfolded?

Jim Harter
Well, those areas I listed off are the ones that I have seen leveraged the best. I think there’s still long ways to go for most organizations in the wellbeing front. So, for instance, on the career wellbeing component, we’ve seen people move from the bottom of our database over time all the way to the top decile of our database, top 10%. And they did that by being persistent, that’s one thing. But there’s kind of four patterns we saw in organizations that create change.

And one of them is, and I mentioned this earlier, it’s got to start strategically with the CEO and the board thinking about why they’re trying to create a net thriving culture or a highly engaged culture and articulate that and explain it to people so they know why it’s happening, that it’s not just a flavor of the month kind of thing, and it’s really a part of who we’re going to be as an organization.

Second, they had excellent communication. They just continuously communicated best practices and they continuously communicated “What we’re doing and why,” and it’s almost like over-communication so people know the why. And then all the way from when they’re fielding a survey to what they‘re going to do after it and how they’re going to create action plans and train managers.

The third is that manager piece. It’s upskilling managers from boss to coach is really important. And then the fourth pattern we saw was accountability. They make it clear that’s part of the manager’s job to engage their workers and to improve the lives of their workers. So, those are kind of some general patterns we saw but, yeah, we’ve seen organizations move from the bottom all the way to the top of the database. So, I know this stuff is changeable.

I think wellbeing is more difficult to change than engagement but you got to get the engagement part right first because that’s what I think as the nuts and bolts of managing. If you want to help individuals in your organization improve their lives, you’ve got to start by taking care of the work part of it because that builds trust where people aren’t second-guessing your intentions, and it builds more comfortable conversations so that managers and the individuals they’re managing can have open dialogue. And not everybody is going to want to talk about their whole life, and that’s fine, but it opens the door.

And, at minimum, managers can direct people to the right resources and help them know what’s there from the organization. But, at maximum, managers become coaches that actually help people improve their lives, give them some advice, and connect them to the right other people who might be on the same path as them.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Thank you. Well, Jim, tell me, anything else you want to make sure to mention before we hear about some of your favorite things?

Jim Harter
I talked earlier about some barriers or risks to improving a culture from maybe struggling to what we would call net thriving, where people in the organization not only have very positive views of their present life but also think the next five years will be even better. Those five elements I listed lead to that. But there are some barriers and they can kind of trick people, I think, a little bit.

Well, one of them, in particular, I’ll just list off a couple of them. One of them that I think maybe most commonly becomes a barrier are to assume that, “Our policies, programs, and perks will change your culture.” If that were the case, a lot of organizations wouldn’t have culture problems. I think policies, programs, and perks are very important but they won’t necessarily change your culture. What you need to change your culture are managers who are well skilled to lead other people because they’re, again, the ones closest to the lives in their organization.

And so, having poorly skilled managers is another big risk. And so, upskilling managers to move from boss to coach, I think, is really important. And that involves integrating several things that are kind of disparate in organizations right now. Over here, you might have a wellness program that’s offered to people. Over here, you might have employee engagement survey and program. Over here, you might have performance management. And over here, you might have learning and development. That boss-to- coach journey needs to bring all those things together so it makes sense to managers and so that it also leverages the strengths of each person. It’s a strengths-based journey where you’re starting off with who you are as an individual and building on top of that instead of trying to make everybody the same or trying to get people to become someone who they’re not.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Thank you. Well, now could you share a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Jim Harter
One of my favorite quotes is one that was attributed to the great Albert Einstein, but I actually looked it up, he actually said this in a more complex way, but, “Make everything as simple as possible but not too simple.” I’m a researcher, and the complexity is already there so, to me, one of the things I learned along the way is, “We’ve got to make sure that the research is A-accurate but also not too simple, but also applicable and useful to people.” So, I really like that quote.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And how about a favorite study or experiment or bit of research?

Jim Harter
I’ve often referenced the Whitehall studies, the particular part of the Whitehall studies, were done over in Europe, where they tracked people longitudinally. And one subpart of those studies where they looked at mortality and heart disease and other future health issues. One subpart of that big study looked at workplaces, and they found that workplaces with better environments, they call it organizational justice, but workplaces with better environments, the concepts overlap with what we call engagement. Those better environments had lower risks of coronary heart disease and lower mortality rates, and they controlled for all sorts of things. So, I reference that a lot and I think it’s a really important research.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite book?

Jim Harter
I like Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. I think it just does an excellent job of bringing together two parts of wellbeing, the remembering self and experiencing self, which we talked about in wellbeing at work as well. I think it’s important to think about those two parts of how we experience life.

Pete Mockaitis
And a favorite tool, something you use to be awesome at your job?

Jim Harter
This is kind of geeky but I leverage a lot Google Scholar and PubMed because they’re just great sources for finding things quickly and searching.

Pete Mockaitis
And a favorite habit?

Jim Harter
I think that 10-minute power nap. I try to get it as many days as I can. It’s really important to kind of have a refreshing afternoon.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. And is there a particular nugget you share that really seems to connect and resonate with folks; they quote it back to you frequently?

Jim Harter
Probably the one that I see quoted the most is “70% of the variance in team engagement is influenced by the manager.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Jim Harter
You could go to Gallup.com and we have a whole series of new articles and findings coming out all the time, reports, or I’m on LinkedIn as well. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn, that’s another place.

Pete Mockaitis
And do you have a final challenge or call to action for folks looking to be awesome at their jobs?

Jim Harter
I would say make sure you know your strengths and have them clearly in mind, and the strengths of your coworkers. And one thing to build on that is you got to direct your strength at something. Make sure you have a minimum of one meaningful conversation per week.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Jim, this has been fun. Thanks so much and much luck to you with all your good work on wellbeing.

Jim Harter
Thank you, Pete. Appreciate the invitation.

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