Can mindfulness help companies thrive in times of turmoil?
(continued from last week)
published : 22 Jan 2018 at 11:23
Last week we introduced mindfulness and the benefits of mindfulness training programs that have been offered to employees in corporations in the West. A mindfulness intervention called Meditation Awareness Training (MAT), introduced by Dr. William Van Gordon of the University of Derby (UK) is an example of research-based programs with great impacts on employee performance, productivity, engagement and leadership skills. This week we are providing more research findings of the program, and another example of mindfulness intervention program initiated by Google.
Further Findings of Meditation Awareness Training
Another study using MAT, published in 2017, involved 73 employees from a range of employment backgrounds, including office-workers, customer-facing hospitality workers, factory managers, and senior managers. In addition to improved levels of psychological wellbeing and job satisfaction, the study showed that MAT led to an improvement in work productivity, as demonstrated by an average reduction in working time of four hours per week but without a decline in job performance.
Studies using MAT have also shown that it can increase a person’s willingness to work, as well as their sense of citizenship and community engagement. A further study by Dr William Van Gordon using MAT involved a senior director of a blue-chip technology company whose client account-handling satisfaction ratings increased by 20% following the mindfulness training. The senior director made the decision to offer mindfulness training to all his employees and stated,"meditation centres the mind and helps you see more angles…but it also helps you see the human in people."
Search Inside Yourself
Another mindfulness training program originally offered within Google, called Search Inside Yourself (SIY), aims to increase employees’ attention and focus, self-awareness, emotional intelligence and resilience. Started in 2007 and becoming the most popular in-house training program at the IT company, the program has been offered to other organisations by the separate non-profit Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI) founded in 2012, which has since worked with organisations in more than 100 cities around the world.
The intervention of both MAT and SIY starts with an extensive needs assessment of the organisation, consisting of in-depth interviews and EQ assessments of individuals, to enable effective program customisation. These mindfulness programs typically comprise a two-day onsite workshop and follow-up exercises ranging from weekly virtual webinars, peer-led learning groups, one-on-one coaching to integrate mindfulness skills on the job, and the nomination of internal champions.
SAP, the world’s leading software provider, started offering an SIY program to its employees in 2012 and has continued to spread it throughout its branches in the"SAP Global Mindfulness Practice" program. In a survey taken four weeks after the two-day workshop in 2017, 127 participants from eight countries reported significant improvements in stress and emotional drain due to work (14%); greater ability to focus and prioritize (22%), greater resilience and mental readiness to meet daily challenges (38%); and increased leadership ability to maintain poise in challenging situations (25%). One participant mentioned,"The content covers exactly what I have been looking for to increase my own resilience and creativity." Another feedback was,"SIY allowed me to gain additional clarity and calm which makes me better-performing in the work I do."
Mindfulness benefits personal and family life
In addition to professional benefits at work, people report that mindfulness practice helps them become happier in their personal lives. They also report being calmer and less irritable, as well as noticing improvements in their relationships with family and friends. One SIY participant simply said,"I now see myself and the world through a kinder, more understanding set of eyes."
In the present Thailand context wherein all businesses and organisations are geared toward coping with digital disruptions, mindfulness is a means of fostering sustainable development of management and people skills of all employee levels, as it has proven effective for corporations in the West and around the world. Mindfulness enables one to discern conflicting thoughts and moods in one’s mind, allowing clarity needed for being productive and creative, and achieving better well-being through reduced stress and anxiety. As Steve Jobs, one of the pioneers of this technological era, reaped the benefits of mindfulness for his IT universe, might you be able to do the same?
Author: Bhusaba Taecharoen, Associate Consultant of Latchmere Performance Solutions, a company that helps business develop global leaders and high-performance cultures. Contact: Bhusaba@latchmeresolutions.com, www.latchmeresolutions.com
Series Editor: Christopher F. Bruton is Executive Director of Dataconsult Ltd, Chris@dataconsult.co.th. Dataconsult’s Thailand Regional Forum provides seminars and extensive documentation to update businesses on future trends in Thailand and in the Mekong Region.