Enthusiasm key to healthy job site

November 09, 2005|By CAROL KLEIMAN | CAROL KLEIMAN,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Why is enthusiasm about where you work and the people you work for so important?

"The more enthusiasm a work force has, the higher the performance of a company," said David Sirota, founder of Sirota Survey Intelligence, a group of industrial psychologists based in Purchase, N.Y., who use survey methods to help companies improve managerial skills.

"People come to work wanting to be enthusiastic, and they are - at least in the beginning," said Sirota, who has a doctorate in social psychology and has done behavioral science research for businesses for more than 40 years. The psychologist is co-author of The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want (Wharton School Publishing/Pearson, $26.95).

"Employees who are enthusiastic are helping the company do better. In turn, the company can do more for their employees by offering raises, promotions and job security."

After the first six months, enthusiasm tends to wane, according to a study Sirota's company did of 2.5 million U.S. employees from 1995 to 2004.

"We asked about enthusiasm in all our studies, and after the first six months we found that only 80 percent of employees still were highly interested, excited about their new jobs and learning new skills. It is a significant decline.

"The reason enthusiasm declines is because management appears to be unconcerned, indifferent," he said.

To retain enthusiasm, Sirota said, companies can "first of all, make layoffs a last resort, not a first. Employees don't want to be treated as disposable objects."

Carol Kleiman writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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