Non-Traditional Performance Strategies
In the 21st century, some HR managers and leaders believe that non-traditional strategies have the potential to enhance engagement, increase productivity, and improve performance levels in many organizations. For example, it is essential to consider the significance of employees receiving the right amount of sleep each night—which has a direct result on job performance. At the most basic level, prolonged sleep deprivation has a negative impact on our health” and that sleep deprivation is the “equivalent to being legally intoxicated. Many researchers emphasize the value of employees being well-rested as well as the usefulness of taking afternoon naps. What if managers allowed employees to take a nap after their lunch breaks? Sleep is an important contributor to creative problem solving. Could this strategy potentially help boost creativity and performance levels? Perhaps no single daytime renewal behavior more reliably influences performance-and is less common in the workplace-than taking a nap” (Schwartz, et al., 2010, p. 72).
Many researchers understand the correlation between being well-rested and higher performance levels and they also point out the significance of taking time off from work to relax. As a matter of fact, Americans are sleeping less as well as taking less time off from work. “On average, Americans now fail to use 439 million paid vacations days a year. In 2008, one third of Americans said they intended to take no vacation at all” (Schwartz, et al., 2010, p. 75). In contrast, Europeans continue to enjoy far more vacation time than Americans do, which relates to having a higher quality of work and home life. From an organizational behavior perspective, employees are usually overwhelmed with work and feel that they cannot take any quality time off to relax. The dilemma is that most employees will never feel as if they are all caught up and can truly enjoy a vacation. The long-term implications of always being overwhelmed at work and never taking time off can result in disengagement and counterproductive activities. Organizations need healthy employees who are able to innovate, synergize, and work collectively with their peers.
It is important also to mention that diet influences performance levels. Many organizations are notorious for spending thousands of dollars each month on purchasing unhealthy snacks for employees to encourage them to come to meetings or work extra hours. The fast pace of today’s work world has caused changes in people’s eating patterns as well. Instead of eating meals jointly with family members, friends, and colleagues, many families and individuals have been conditioned to eat in between work or other activities. As a result, many American employees are overweight, lethargic, and have lower performance levels. “Between 1960 and 2000, the average weight of American men between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-nine jumped from 163 to 191 pounds. During the same period, the average women went from 140 to 164” pounds (Schwartz, et al., 2010, p. 91). Most organizations have several vending machines full of unhealthy snacks available for their employees. “The staple foods in most vending machines and at most off-sites are candy, cookies, and chips, filled with sugar, salt, and fat. These foods provide a quick and short-lived buzz when people’s energy is flagging, but they take a toll on their health and productivity over time” (Schwartz, et al., 2010, p. 117). Organizations need to pay close attention to the food they offer in their vending machines and cafeterias. Managing stress means managing one’s food intake and having a regular exercise program. Some organizations have devoted significant resources to food and snacks that are offered at work. This non-traditional type of strategic human resource management is commendable and has many benefits for recruiting and retention.
Reference: Schwartz, T., Jones, J., & McCarty, C. (2010). The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. New York, NY: Free Press. (This book is not required).