Tom Rath on “Being Fully Charged in the Workplace”

Tom Rath, 2016 NC State SHRM Conference Keynote Speaker (photo from NC SHRM Conference website)

Tom Rath, 2016 NC State SHRM Conference Keynote Speaker (photo from NC SHRM Conference website)

In addition to the outstanding kick-off keynote from leading transgender activist Janet Mock (see link to last week’s blog), the North Carolina SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) team scheduled another great keynote for the second day of the conference. Tom Rath, a multiple-time New York Times Best Seller list author spoke about how to be fully charged in the workplace. As employee engagement continues to decline, this is a key issue that companies must address.

Tom started with a very disturbing statistic – that 49% of people surveyed felt that they were not spending time doing impactful work in their daily vocational activities vs. the mere 22% who answered that question positively. (Remainder were neutral or provided no anwer.)

Some of Tom’s key points:

• We need to really increase this 22% who feel they do meaningful work. Some tactics include realizing that small wins generate meaningful progress, and when people see meaning in their work, they create more.

• Three key components of increasing meaningful work include having interest in what you do, focusing on skills you are good at, and meeting the needs of others.

• Top performers are not often well-rounded, but great teams are.

• In daily interactions, most people need five positive interactions for every negative one. It is therefore important at work to lead with the positive and acknowledge people for their good work.

• When listing the top good and the bottom bad interactions during a typical day, interactions with friends and family where at the top, and two very worst were co-workers and bosses.

• Only 11% of people answered positively to “I had a great deal of energy yesterday.” Small changes in proper eating, fitness and sleeping can lead to big changes in energy. Scary Fact: going 6 days in row with less than 6 hours a sleep per night is the same as operating at a .08 blood alcohol level (DUI level in most states)

• Social networks and social structures can have a tremendous impact on encouraging positive healthy behaviors. Example: smoking in our culture.

Tom then closed with three challenges to us as HR leaders in how we can lead as examples:

1. What changes will I make in my daily routines to model to others that I am putting my health first?

2. What steps will I take to add more positive interactions with others in my environment?

3. What will I do with my colleagues to help them connect their daily efforts to the meaning it creates?

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From the NC SHRM Conference web page including links: Tom Rath is an author and researcher who studies the role of human behavior in business, health, and well-being. He has been described by business leaders and the media as one of the greatest thinkers and nonfiction writers of his generation. Tom has written six New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers over the past decade, starting with the #1 New York Times bestseller How Full Is Your Bucket? His book StrengthsFinder 2.0 was the top-selling book of 2013 and 2014.