Relationships at work are critical to job satisfaction and career growth, but does everyone reap the same benefits from the time and effort spent fostering social ties?
“Men may be earning a higher return on their social investments at work than women are,” reveals Boston University Questrom School of Business Professor Connie Noonan Hadley, esteemed organizational psychologist and founder and Chief Scientist at The Institute for Life at Work.
In a new MIT Sloan article, “The Unequal Rewards of Peer Support at Work,” Hadley and co-author Nancy Baym of Microsoft Research surveyed over 800 U.S.-based office workers across a variety of roles, industries and company sizes. They uncovered signs of gender inequity in how culture-building is recognized and rewarded. In the study, men reported receiving 11% more promotions, bonuses, and other incentives for providing social support to colleagues than women, even though women reported giving support more frequently.
This indicates that women may face a lower rate of return when they invest in emotional labor at work – which could explain why the men polled were 12% more satisfied in their jobs than women were.
A trusted advisor on strategies for building better team communication, better team management, and psychologically safe workplaces – especially in today’s world of hybrid work – Hadley offers actionable steps for “making the invisible visible” and illuminating employee efforts to create a new mindset where social support is viewed as a shared responsibility to which all team members must contribute.
“Organizations are seeking ways to better retain women and members of underrepresented groups, reduce the isolation associated with remote and hybrid work, and bolster job engagement and satisfaction,” she and Baym conclude. “To do so most effectively, they should reexamine how they define, encourage, identify, and reward socially supportive behaviors at work. Every employee deserves a high return for investing in their workforce community, regardless of their demographic characteristics.”
Organizations that create supportive cultures retain more employees from underrepresented communities, bolster job satisfaction and engagement and reduce the isolation associated with remote work. Stern Strategy Group connects you with renowned thought leaders whose insights, strategies and management frameworks help organizations fuel growth and disruptive innovation to better compete in a constantly changing world. Let us arrange for these esteemed experts to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting sessions, workshops and keynotes.