The Business Value of the Soft Stuff -- Happiness at Work
As we move into the new millennium, PM’s are faced with an increasingly global workplace with shortfalls of highly skilled and experienced workers. It is important to develop, utilize, and optimize our full workforce capacity. Effective utilization of a diverse workforce from different cultures, customs, values and work habits is a key element of the Positive Workplace, one in which individuals flourish and organizations thrive.
This paper considers the insights offered from positive psychology – the study of how people flourish – relative to workplace diversity within the context of our increasingly competitive, global environment.
The authors (Davis & Cable, 2006) made a strong case for implementing key elements of positive psychology into managerial education and training to yield better business results. Key elements of this case include strengths-based management, solutions-focus, development of psychological capital (hope, resilience, optimism, and confidence), the essential role of emotions both positive and negative, and workplace engagement. Values, bias, and our natural desire for safety influence our ability to fully realize the benefits of the diverse workforce.
The authors share their exploration of how positive psychology may suggest a new pathway to developing and optimizing a truly diverse workplace. They conclude that continuing with current practices – despite the progress they have yielded -- will not result in the optimized diverse workplace in geographically dispersed organizations tasked with meeting global demands for productivity and innovation.
Key Performance Indicators for Federal Facilities Portfolios
Successful public managers are concerned with delivery of services to the public, finances, efficient operations, employee satisfaction, and the needs and wants of the community and its stakeholders. Good public managers have long recognized the need to set goals and standards, identify and capitalize on opportunities, detect and resolve difficulties, understand and improve upon processes, and document the results of public investments in programs and capital improvements.
Throughout the 1990s and continuing today, Congress has enacted legislation, the various presidential administrations have issued executive orders, and agencies have amended regulations, to institutionalize the establishment of goals and objectives and to develop performance measurement systems and processes in the federal government. The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 (P.L. 103-62), for example, provides federal executives and program managers with an institutionalized commitment to (1) establish agency goals and objectives, including annual program goals and objectives; (2) specify how the agency is going to achieve those goals; and (3) demonstrate how agency and program performance in achieving those goals will be measured.
The intent of GPRA and related legislation1 is to make federal departments and agencies more efficient (reduce delivery time), more cost effective, more responsive to the public, and more results driven (outcomes oriented).
Owing to the magnitude of the investment, the management of federally owned and leased facilities is receiving increased scrutiny from the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and from individual departments and agencies. On a government-wide basis federally owned facilities are valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Upwards of $21 billion per year is spent on new facilities and the renovation of existing facilities, and billions more are spent on their operation and maintenance (NRC, 2004).
More than 30 federal departments and agencies with a wide range of missions and programs manage large inventories of facilities, also called portfolios. These portfolios range in size from a few hundred to more than a hundred thousand individual structures, buildings, and their supporting infrastructure. They are diverse in terms of facility types, mix of types, and geographic dispersal. An agency like the General Services Administration (GSA), whose role as a landlord to other agencies is unique, manages individual buildings (primarily offices and courthouses) located in hundreds of municipalities across the United States. The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations of the State Department, in contrast, manages compounds of embassy, housing, and office buildings located in 260 posts around the world. Others, for example, the National Institutes of Health, primarily operate one or two campus-like complexes, while the military services manage hundreds of city-like installations domestically and abroad...
Positive Workplace: Optimizing the People Part of Project Complexity
Project complexity is increasingly an area in project management that is highlighted by the research community as needing attention. Just at the time when projects are increasingly executed in a global virtual environment we find that: the global workforce is stressed; employees are disengaged; senior managers will be retiring in record numbers without obvious replacements available; morale is low; more than half of US workers are passive job seekers; turnover rates are high; turnover is expensive; managers are not effective; and their complexity increases many projects represent significant risks of failure to their corporate sponsors. Improving the performance of individuals and project teams depends upon a new and coherent approach to the workplace. It is important to develop, utilize, and optimize our full workforce capacity. Effective utilization of a diverse workforce from different cultures, customs, values and work habits is a key element of the Positive Workplace, one in which individuals flourish and organizations thrive.
This paper introduces key research results on the power of strengths-focus, engagement, optimism, resilience, hope, positive emotions, and the characteristics of high performance teams to yield real change in the workplace – change that will result in sustainable competitive advantage.
This paper outlines empirically informed methods to improve productivity, sales, profitability, employee and customer satisfaction while reducing safety incidents, theft losses, absenteeism, stress-related illness, and attrition rates.
Additionally, PM’s will learn how and why the shift from a weakness-correction model to a strengths-focused model amplifies employee performance. PM’s will also come to understand the impact of emotion on performance: how the right blend of positive and negative emotions yields high performance project teams and how optimism and resilience can be developed to strengthen individual and project team performance.