Insights From Psychology Advances Employee Development

Alexa Thompson, author of “Using Psychological Insights to Further Employee Development,” adds to Scienta’s posts on the value companies can gain by investing in their employees, their development, their health and their overall well-being. Thompson, who writes for an online resource about psychology and psychology careers, which now include organizational or work psychologists, discusses the benefits of companies treating their “human capital” more like an asset and less like an expense.


imageThe role of the average employee in the workforce has changed dramatically over the past several years. Once viewed simply as resources to be assigned to projects at the discretion of management, companies are increasingly realizing the inherent value in an employee who feels respected and recognized as an individual. Research by experts in workplace psychology has found that investing in “human capital,” the economic value of an employee’s skill set, attitude and overall health can bring ample returns for organizations that encourage their employees to grow professionally while enriching their minds and well-being.

The term “human capital” was coined in the 1960s by economist Theodore Schultz, who believed that organizations could invest in their human capital through education, training and enhanced benefits, leading to an improvement in the quality and level of production. For most non-management level employees, the benefits of having an employer acknowledge and utilize each individual’s specific skill set seems obvious, but for many large, rigidly structured companies, the concept has been difficult to embrace. In today’s knowledge-based economy we are seeing an increasing realization that the only assets many companies possess are those that come and go each day and can easily leave to join a competitor.,

The positive effects of focusing on human capital are difficult to ignore. In an APA survey, it was found that 93% of employees who feel valued at work are motivated to do their best at work, while only 33% claimed they were motivated even if they didn’t feel valued. “Successful organizations have learned that high performance and sustainable results require attention to the relationships among employee, organization, customer and community,” says David Ballard, head of APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program.

Business leaders looking to build success through creating a more psychologically gratifying culture for their employees can start in a few simple ways. Asking employees about their own thoughts regarding what they hope to accomplish and the areas in which they can strengthen their skills can inspire an individual to take a more active role in their own development. Employers should strive to be open about where they feel their own deficiencies might be and in what ways they are working toward improvement.

Companies that invest in their own human capital are simply enhancing the resources they already have. Research shows that employees who are satisfied with their work are far less likely to look for a new job, limiting costly hiring and training processes. Additionally, the quality of the work being done will often be markedly improved as employee mindset improves. Businesses with a strong people-sensitive culture and content employees are viewed as desirable places to work among the most intelligent and creative employees, those who are most likely to create innovations that allow their companies to take the lead, investing in success consistent growth and long-term success.

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Scienta Health on August 15th 2012 in Miscellaneous

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