On average, we spend around 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, according to this article in Psychology Today. That’s more than 10 years.
And because we spend so much time at work, maintaining a sense of well-being while there is important – not only for individual employees, but also for the organization’s bottom line. High morale is linked to higher performance levels and lower absenteeism and turnover. Given the many benefits, it’s not surprising that organizations would design programs to promote employee well-being. A few recent research studies illustrate the role the training organization can play in improving well-being.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence provides guidelines for promoting mental wellbeing at work. These include providing opportunities for development and ensuring that employees are fully equipped with the skills and tools that they need to meet job requirements. Indeed, research indicates that simply providing opportunities for training and development can lead to increases in employee well-being. By equipping employees with the knowledge and skills that they need to do their jobs, the organization can remove potentially frustrating obstacles to their success. In addition, these opportunities signal the potential for personal development and career advancement which can also boost morale.
Further, training and development programs specifically aimed at improving employees’ experienced meaningfulness, coping skills, and attribution styles can also promote well-being. For example, in a recent study, physicians participated in a nine-month training program to improve their coping skills. Results showed training led to improvements in empowerment, engagement, and their experienced meaningfulness of work. Further, physicians participating in the program reported reduced levels of burnout and emotional exhaustion.
Another study investigating the effects of cognitive-behavioral training on attribution style revealed improvements in the work related attitudes and behaviors of financial services sales agents. At the conclusion of the 13 week program, trainees reported lower levels of psychological strain and higher levels of job satisfaction and professional self-esteem. Further, trainees were less likely to turnover and more likely to exhibit above average performance.
Finally, recent research summarized by Dan Ariely in this TED talk, points to our overarching desire to find meaning in the work we do. Training programs can utilize this desire to increase well-being by linking employee roles to the organization’s mission in order to provide meaning and context for their work.
Thus, the training organization has a role to play in promoting meaning and well-being at work and in so doing, can also increase other important metrics.