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Nobody Thrives on Neglect

How to increase employee performance? Easy! Pay attention to them.


But you already know that, right? When somebody is watching, you perform better. When corporate comes down from their ivory tower, you make a fuss and alter your actions and behaviour. When you shout "The boss is coming". When you are watching your kids, and they show you what they are made of by putting on the extra show. When you show up at your partners' football game and all of a sudden, they score!


Scientists know this too. They know about our tendency to perform better when somebody is studying/observing us. The Hawthorn experiment during the 1920s provided us with the greatest lesson. Unfortunately, organisations hardly consider it.


This was the study where everything worked. Everything they did with workers increased productivity. Dimming the light increased productivity as much as increasing the light. Introducing or removing rest time or incentives or positively impacted productivity. Group work and interviewing workers whilst working also boosted productivity. After a positive change returning to the previous level of productivity also met with positive results.


As researchers say, when you don't find anything, you have found something you just need to identify it. Mayo (researcher) concluded that when humans are paid attention to or being observed, they perform better.


If you pay attention, you will notice that too. Even if you know that your ex will be at an event you are also going you will make that extra effort to look great because you know (s)he will study you. Silly, isn't it? But it works.


This is why therapy, shadowing, coaching, and mentoring work. Coupled with praise at the right time, it works better than any incentive or free food.


However, do not expect performance to stay consistent. We have talked about it before.


PS: We need supervision, and when it is not provided, we lose track. We need people around us for everything from sanity to good conduct to performance. People don't do well when they are neglected.


For more tips on how to look at your organisation and people, read more of our blog.




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