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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What makes employees work harder?

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What Makes Employees Work Harder: Punishment or Pampering?
Bad news: Monitoring devices -- and, more gruesomely, massive layoffs -- really do seem to make us more productive

You're a boss. You have a bunch of employees you consider under-motivated, unproductive, and, well, sorta lazy. You wonder: How do I make them talk less? Focus more? Try harder? Think more creatively? Just be better?

You turn to social science and economic research and find that much of the conclusions appear to be divided into two strategic approaches. For lack of more officious-sounding terms, I'm going to call them: the Feel-Good strategies vs. the Feel-Bad strategies.

The Feel-Good boss is drawn to the research that suggests that just about every thing you can think of that makes workers feel good about themselves also makes them better workers. Four-day workweeks mean more meaningful work hours. Shorter work days translate into better focus. More vacation time means heightened creativity. More short breaks means sharper attention to detail. More "toys" means more creative, playful employees who are necessary for out-of-the-box thinking.

And then the dismal science comes along and finds that, oh, actually, scaring the bejeezus out of workers turns out to be pretty effective too. The Feel-Bad boss is vindicated.

The Great Recession, a Great Motivator

Let's go back to 2008. The economy tanked. Productivity spiked. Why?

There are two basic explanations: the "weakest link" explanation and the "motivation" explanation. When employers have to let people go, they start with the least productive workers -- the weakest links. That makes the remaining team more productive, right? Theoretically. But also, if you think every day is an audition to keep your job, you might be motivated to work harder.

One explanation dramatically overshadows the other when accounting for our productivity boom in the bust, according to economists Edward P. Lazear Kathryn L. Shaw Christopher Stanton, the authors of a new paper "MAKING DO WITH LESS: WORKING HARDER DURING RECESSIONS." Actually, the answer is right there in the headline. Employers made do with less because people worked harder during the recession. Fully 85% of increase in productivity came from workers' "increased effort."

Some pictures to hammer the point home. Here's their look at productivity per worker between December 2007 and July 2009, the official beginning and end of the Great Recession. The recession visibly increased measured effort...
What Makes Employees Work Harder: Punishment or Pampering? - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Not being a dickhead to your people is a good start.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

It might increase productivity but it would also increase turn over I imagine?
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Little bit of both if necessary

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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Work ethics is overrated.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

This is a fact. The Nazis were able to get the Jews to work harder by threatening them with layoffs (layoffs meaning death). The problem, however, was that the Jews got their revenge by making a shoddier product, such as bombs that didn't blow up.

Now, people, you get a glimpse into the workings of the typical neocon businessman buhrain. And you think we don't need unions?
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

My job used to have feel good bosses. I kicked ass.

They switched up to feel bad bosses recently... Bully techniques and constant monitoring and coaching. Started killing my productivity. Told em stuff it up their ass, i quit.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

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Originally Posted by MineGoesTo11 View Post
Not being a dickhead to your people is a good start.
Turns out that fear of being watched, monitored and measured, is as good a motivator as any other. I prefer to be left alone and independent, but damn If I'm not productive when I'm traveling with my boss.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

I always worker harder for nice bosses.
The key is to hire self starters and people who motivate themselves.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

It depends on the individual, and a great boss understands this and adjusts accordingly. Some employees need the stick some need the carrot. Me? all I need is the occasional twerk and some hooch, well that plus a few coloring books, but sometimes I color outside of the lines cause I gotta be me.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Screw the sticks and carrots......give 'em some

BACON!!!!

I bet productivity and moral would drastically increase.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

In a growing economy, particularly during a boom, employees have more choices in employment and employers are competing for labor, wages rise and perks increase. In a down economy, you have to show enough productivity to make you worth keeping...or at least you think you do.

The full article talks about the effects of video monitoring on productivity in the workplace too.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:47 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Opinion: By being part of a team of hard workers. They will thrive on each other and cover for each other on weaker days.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

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Screw the sticks and carrots......give 'em some

BACON!!!!

I bet productivity and moral would drastically increase.
I think you're onto something there, how many people would still call in sick if they knew they could get bacon at work? Not many... is the answer I was getting at.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

having come from a bad boss to a good boss recently, I do appreciate the good boss.

When it gets busy I don't mind busting my ass to work overtime for the good boss. But I resented doing the same for the old boss.

It also depends on the employee's motivation & values. Its up to a good boss to choose the right employee as well, so that their good nature does not get exploited.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

I worked all Labor Day weekend last year and I will this year. They want me to work hard, I aint going to do shit.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

They should compare crime and suicide rates for those same time periods...just sayin
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:00 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

The most productive work I have ever done in my life, was when I was consulting and working from home. It wasn't anything like walking out the door at 5 and getting in your car to go home, and leaving it all behind your for the day. It was right there in the next room 24 hours a day.

I would wake up at 4 in the morning and start working, along with morning coffee. Then work until around 3 pm, take a nap, then go relax outside, or mow the grass. Then have some dinner and work some more, then pass out in the lazy boy. Then wake up at 4 and do it again. That went on for about three years.

I would make myself drive to town every week or two, to the post office or bank, just to keep the car in running order. A tank of gas could last me a month or two. Now its 50 dollars a pop, at least once or even twice a week.

There is nothing more rewarding, when the wife is gone all day at work, you get the 3 O'clock sleepies, pull the drapes and stretch out on the couch in front of an old black and white movie. Ahhhh, those were the days my friend...
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

5 figure bonuses usually did it for me.

The first time my boss handed me a check for $25k and said "Merry Christmas" I asked him if he'd like me to kill Santa Claus. Told him I could make it a clean job...
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:08 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

When wages, or other desired outcomes, are tied to productivity, productivity will go up. Why work hard if you will make the same amount either way. At the same time, if you are putting in exceptional productivity but are still being pushed to do more, it's easy to feel defeated and wonder why you try so hard.

At least that's when I'm at my best. Bosses that recognize good work and reward it.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:10 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

if you need me looking over your shoulder and or threatening you to work hard, you're not my kind of employee.

I dont micro manage

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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:14 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Satisfaction of production and feeling like they are part of a worthy enterprise.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:15 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

The sharp crack of a whip!
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:18 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

From my experience, I think it all depends on the employee. It's amazing how some people will put their attitudes, egos, and entitlememt complexes before bringing home a paycheck, despite how much you try to satisfy them on both a financial and personal level.

I'm very much a "nice guy" boss, sometimes to my detriment. With some people, you're just in a lose-lose situation from the beginning. Don't give them everything they feel they deserve, you're a money-hungry dick. Give them more than they deserve, then take it away because their performance doesn't justify it, you're a money-hungry dick. When you're dealing with people with an inherent disdain for anybody higher up the chain than them, they might lose their job, but you'll never feel like a better person for it.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:22 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Death Incarnate View Post
I always worker harder for nice bosses.
The key is to hire self starters and people who motivate themselves.
It's a shame there's not more people like you out there. Believe me, there are places you will thrive with that type of attitude. And there are plenty of bosses who acknowledge it.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:22 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Ownership.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:28 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

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Originally Posted by KSG_Standard View Post
Turns out that fear of being watched, monitored and measured, is as good a motivator as any other. I prefer to be left alone and independent, but damn If I'm not productive when I'm traveling with my boss.
I've seen the people who get results by being a tyrant. They eventually implode.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:29 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

they can take their video monitoring and shove it up their corporate asses....


piss tests, psych tests, credit checks, background histories, polygraphs... now video monitoring to increase productivity....

in the past 20 years, the US economy has grown nearly 60 percent. this increase in productivity is partly due to automation, the internet, and other improvements in efficiency..... but it's also the result of americans working harder— without a big boost to their bottom lines. .... meanwhile, corporate profits are up 20 percent.

how does the american worker do this amazing feat...



'the length of a typical workweek hasn't changed much in years. But for many middle-class workers, job obligations are creeping into free time and family time. For low-income workers, hours have declined due to a shrinking job market, causing underemployment.'

Increase in real value of the minimum wage since 1990: 21%


Increase in cost of living since 1990: 67%


One year's earnings at the minimum wage: $15,080


Income required for a single worker to have real economic security: $30,000



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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:32 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

I can count the good managers on one hand and still have enough fingers left over to hold a pen.

The good ones know how to talk to people, not at them. They know how to mentor people without even letting on theyre teaching you something. They instill the kind of respect in you through their actions that makes you not want to let them down.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 11:40 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: What makes employees work harder?

Why weren't the workers as productive prior to the recession as they were at the height of it and now? Were they holding back when they thought times were good? If so, why? What might that say about their wages in relation to their productivity?
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