Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Employees Acting In Their Self-Interest Enhances Corporate Productivity

Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute provides questions and answers in his quest to help HR managers enhance employee productivity.

Q:   Since we live in a country where “Rugged Individualism” is part of the American creed, what are you saying that is different about this idea?

Brown:  Perhaps, I am not saying anything different, but I am building on the concept that “Rugged Individualism” is more prevalent now than ever before. Placing the self-interest of employees in the forefront of corporate operations can be new and innovative, if seen from a Machiavellian or “what’s best for the situation” mindset.  Traditionally, “People First” campaigns were overly idealistic about human nature.  Catering to the self-interest of employees is real and pragmatic when “rose colored glasses” are removed about human nature.

Q:  Corporations have consistently tried to facilitate the needs of employees for greater productivity. Where have companies fallen short?

Brown:  In the last 100 years, we have been inundated with theories surrounding leadership and employee development.  Yet, with all this information available, we do not have an excess of leaders or an abundance of self-motivated, innovative employees. Companies fall short because they rely more on business principles (Marketing, Accounting, Finance, etc.) rather than disciplines from the Liberal Arts like Psychology, Sociology, and History. By looking at human experiences through the Liberal Arts, for example using historical data and biographies, companies can begin using theories that encourage employees to extend past self-limiting beliefs. 

Q: So, companies should rid themselves of traditional business models and assume more Liberal Arts theories?

Brown: It is not an issue of ridding one school of thought over the other, but appreciating the connection of disparate or separate ideas to solve specific problems. At the end of the day, people are not machines. They are psycho-emotional beings looking for self-fulfillment by any means.

Q:  So, if you include both business metrics and human experience into the equation, do you think productivity and profitability rise?

Brown: I believe so, based on the research. Anytime you apply quantitative and qualitative analysis to any situation, you have a better resolution to a problem. Numbers may not lie, but they still need to be articulated and aligned with the realities of human nature.  Qualitative analysis asks and answers the “why” to a problem.  If you do not know why a problem exists and how humans in the past have solved it, numbers will not matter.

For more information on the methods for addressing workforce development, visit:

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