Most people who study organizational theory in the workplace will know that great teams are built on two very important ingredients: Trust and a shared sense of Purpose. Without them, high performance is impossible.
But what the neuroeconomic professor Dr Paul Zak has discovered, is that trust and purpose (and a sense of “meaning” etc) is only possible when the brain manufactures certain molecule called Oxytocin.
In organizational culture, and in human relations in general, it seems Oxytocin is the miracle drug. But that’s not what matters to us so much, what matters is that building trust and purpose doesn’t just make your office a nicer place to work, it directly helps the bottom line. Here are Dr Zak’s numbers:
To confirm that these findings apply broadly, in late 2016 I collected a nationally representative sample of 1,105 working adults in the U.S. and queried them about their organizations.
My team found that those working in companies in the highest quartile of trust, compared to those in the lowest quartile, had 106 percent more energy at work, were 76 percent more engaged on the job, and said they were 50 percent more productive.
High-trust companies had one-half the employee turnover of low-trust companies, with employees at these companies telling us that they were 56 percent more satisfied with their jobs.
Trust improved alignment with their organization’s Purpose by 70 percent and reduced sick days by 13 percent; those fortunate enough to work in high-trust organizations were 29 percent more satisfied with their lives outside of work. Trust not only improves work, it improves life.
PS: I met Dr. Zak at Ted Global 2011, in Edinburgh (you can see his TED talk below). Me, Paul and my fellow cartoonist buddy, Sunni Brown hung out for a while. It was fun.