Getting Better and Staying Better

At the Work, Stress, and Health conference I talked about the results of our research on CREW (Civility, Respect, and Engagement at Work). Our follow-up research found that most of the gains that were evident immediately after groups completed CREW were still in place a full year after they had finished the six-month program.

An important part of the conversation on this finding is identifying what sustains gains. The primary focus of CREW is increasing the frequency and Part of the answer lies in the things that improved along with civility.

For one, incivility diminished as civility increased. Although reducing incivility was not usually a direct target of CREW activities, it appears that increasing civility pushing away incivility as a welcomed side effect.

Secondly, people participating in CREW improved on the burnout scale. The best improvement was that they felt less cynical than before. That change helps people to be more open to others at work, including both colleagues and service recipients.

Third, people participating in CREW became more satisfied and committed through the experience.

These factors combine to change the fundamental qualities that lead to civility problems in the first place.

  • Improving civility itself sets up a more positive cycle of reciprocity. People will tend to respond in kind to civil, respectful interactions with colleagues.
  • Reducing incivility reduces the opportunity for negative reciprocity loops to become established. If no one treats you badly, you have little motivation to behave disrespectfully towards others.
  • Reduced burnout, especially increased involvement as cynicism decreases, means that people are more engaged with their work and with those around them.
  • Finally, increased commitment and satisfaction give a positive glow to worklife.

These factors together create and sustain a more positive worklife. They support a sense of psychological safety while increasing organizational resilience. They establish momentum for an enhanced workplace community.

In what direct is your workplace community developing?

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