Want to improve productivity among your employees? Empower them, says research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology (2011; 96 [3], 485–500). The study’s purpose was to study “antecedents and behavioral outcomes of employees’ perceptions of organizational support for development.” Analyzing data gathered from 264 exempt-level employees and their supervisors, the study authors found that participation in training courses, interaction between supervisors and employees, and mentoring were associated with improved perception of employee support. The authors further noted that “development support positively related to job performance, but only when perceived career opportunity within the organization was high.”

Karin Singleton, co-owner of Fitness Personified Ltd. in Raleigh, North Carolina, believes that communication, respect and concrete expectations are essential to creating and maintaining a happy environment among employees. “Employees need to know the framework in which to operate,” she says. “If you want things done in a certain way, say so. But if you give the employee a range of possibilities, do not begin to micromanage when it is done in a different way than you would have done yourself.” Singleton adds that respecting employee insights will help them feel more a part of the team. “Your employees bring their own experience to the table, and this is a resource to tap into. Listen to their suggestions and comments, and act on them as applicable. They are part of a team, and the whole is greater than the sum of all parts.”

To learn more about building a successful working environment, read “Building Corporate Culture,” by Peter Twist, MSc, in the February 2007 issue of IDEA Trainer Success.