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Research shows that mindfulness helps employees be less negatively affected by others. A brief mindfulness course at a financial institution call center significantly improved the satisfaction level of the employees’ customers and internal clients after only two weeks of listening to two short guided meditation sessions each day. Research on compassion fatigue (lowered empathy and ability to attentively connect with clients) among professionals and volunteers at a traumatic bereavement agency, who had done an intensive mindfulness training, showed that greater levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of compassion fatigue and burnout. Similarly, a separate study found that mindfulness training improved physicians ability to be attentive, listen actively and respond to patients with more empathy.
Researchers found that mindfulness reduced employees' intention to leave their job. This research was on over 100 servers and managers across seven chain restaurants. The researchers found that workplace mindfulness was related to greater job performance and less turnover intention (Sample items included, ‘I am thinking about leaving this organization’ and ‘I am planning to look for a new job’). Another company reduced staff turnover by 46 per cent by increasing employee well-being, the iOpener Institute found. Mindfulness is a powerful and cost-effective way to increase employee well-being across the organisation.
Researchers say that managers’ mindfulness is positively associated with subordinates’ well-being, job satisfaction and work-life balance. Research on managers (upper, middle and first line) in the finance, service, education and manufacturing industries were scored on mindfulness traits. Their subordinates were measured on performance. The more mindful the mangers were, the more productive were their staff.
Mindfulness improves leadership. People are more drawn to those with enhanced emotional intelligence (EQ). People with a high EQ are seen as more trustworthy, charismatic and morale-building. Mindfulness improves leader’s ability to really listen to themselves, staff, customers and community to make good sound decisions.
Mindfulness helps people embrace change. Mindfulness encourages practitioners to watch non-judgementally the constantly shifting and changing world in flux. Meditators find stability in states of mindfulness - an awareness that is always present and unchanging.
Mindful communication brings greater understanding and awareness. Mindfulness improves self-awareness and so the ability to identify and express thoughts and emotions more sensitively. Staff are also more able to reflect on what others are saying and discern the best way of responding.
Mindfulness increases emotional intelligence (EQ). This includes self-awareness, social awareness and social self-management (not reacting mindlessly to others). Mindfulness enhances emotional literacy – the ability ‘read’ others’ emotions while you sensitively manage your own. It increases awareness of habitual thoughts and helps the individual step back and see the situation with reason, clarity and compassion. This helps staff communicate difficulties sooner, enables managers to listen and respond well and improves communication and relationships.
Staff relationships with customers, colleagues, management and leadership. Human conflict is inevitable. It is a skill to be able to work productively with it. Difficult relationships can trigger strong emotional and behavioural reactions. A colleague reacting out of stress, especially if they are in a position of power, can cause distress to another. The resulting worry and distraction can knock this staff member's performance and this can burden the load of others, generating more conflict and stress. This in turn impacts morale and productivity.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) and communication. Distracted staff, working habitually and uncreatively while reacting impulsively and making quick but careless decisions leads to bad people skills. Staff communicate less and working relationships suffer.
Employee turnover. This can cost as much as twice than each leaving employee’s salary. There are recruitment fees, lost staff time, missed business, slowed productivity and costs and time to train and establish the new staff member. Staff morale suffers as colleagues leave and excess work is distributed. Turnover is often a result of change to the organisation, poor relationships with and communication between management and colleagues, low engagement and stress.
Proposed business change. The only constant in life is change. Restructures, mergers, redefining business and reshaping teams give rise to much uncertainty, unpredictability and staff anxiety.
"We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us, that they may see, it may be, their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet."