In this tough labor market, employers are looking to keep employees and make the most of them. Turnover costs at least 20% of the annual salary of the position. To reduce costs, employers need to create more employee satisfaction, which in turn yields greater retention and productivity.
Neither of these studies includes the gains made to productivity through reduced absenteeism; more satisfied employees show up more often to work.
Since higher employee satisfaction strengthens retention and productivity, employers have long sought ways to improve their employees’ work situation. Many ways that they’ve tried haven’t yielded long-term gains, however. That’s because, as many psychologists have noted, we humans tend to acclimate quickly to positive circumstances.
Think of the last time you made a major purchase, say, a new car. If you were pleased with your purchase, think of how long that satisfaction lasted. A week? A month?
In essence, we move from appreciation to taking things for granted in little time, so changing the working conditions for employees results only in a temporary increase in satisfaction. Employers can add a snack machine to the break room, but that isn’t going to cause employees to feel happier for long.
While external conditions do need to be improved periodically, to achieve a lasting improvement to employee satisfaction, employees need to change internally. In other words, they can experience increased job satisfaction and overall happiness if their attitudes are transformed.
Onsite mindfulness training has been shown to increase job satisfaction. The more it’s practiced, the more mindfulness makes permanent changes to one’s brain, according to studies from Harvard neuroscientists.
In effect, practicing mindfulness allows us to mitigate our negativity bias. Humans have a strong bias in favor of perceiving and thinking about negative things. Mindfulness allows us to perceive the good in our lives more often, allowing us to be happier.
AETNA, the insurance giant, created a mindfulness program for its employees several years ago. Employees who participate have increased their productivity by over 60 minutes per week, and their stress has fallen, as measured by not only their self-reports and but also their heart rates and their cortisol levels.
From cutting turnover and improving productivity to raising happiness, onsite mindfulness training offers value to both employees and employers.