The Power of Love in the Workplace

May 19, 2015

Sigal Barsade, professor of management in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, says the secret ingredient to a happy workplace is cheaper than free beer or ping pong tables--it's love.

"In the unit in which there was more affection, caring, compassion and tenderness among employees, we found there was greater employee engagement, better job satisfaction and teamwork, less employee withdrawal, less burnout, and less hard measures on absenteeism."

Barsade makes clear it isn't romantic love, but rather "companionate" love--caring deeply about your coworkers--that makes the difference.  They conducted their study in a long-term care facility and found the effect went beyond the employees to the patients that were being cared for.

"What was really interesting for us is that this rippled out. In fact, in units with a greater culture of companionate love, we saw better patient outcomes, better quality of life, better mood and less unnecessary trips to the emergency room. And it rippled out to their families."

On this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Barsade, Nancy Lyons, CEO of Clockwork Active Media, and Katie Robbins, Head of Happiness at Sculpt in Iowa City.

The Iowa Creativity Summit is happening at the Sussman Theater at Drake University at 5:15 on May 28th. Nancy Lyons will be the keynote speaker.