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How Paying Attention to Employees Can Increase Productivity

In 1924, Elton Mayo, a researcher at Harvard University, led a study in a factory in Hawthorne, New Jersey, in the United States, to explore the relationship between workers' hygiene and their productivity. The objective was simple: to find out how improving working conditions could increase production.

The Hawthorne Experiment: How Attention Can Increase Worker Productivity

One of the first experiments carried out by the Mayo team was to increase the intensity of the factory lights, hoping that this would improve the work environment and increase the productivity of the workers. And indeed, productivity has increased.

But interestingly, when the researchers dimmed the lights again to continue studying other facets of worker hygiene, productivity continued to increase, contrary to expectations.

This phenomenon became known as the "Hawthorne effect". And what does that mean? Simply that the increase in productivity was not related to the intensity of light, but rather to the attention that was being given to people.

The study revealed that workers felt more valued and important when they received special attention from researchers. This attention translated into an increase in motivation and, consequently, in greater productivity.

The Hawthorne experience is a classic example of how small changes in the work environment can have a big impact on workers' performance. And, more than that, it shows that the human factor is crucial for the productivity and success of a company.

The lesson we can take away from the Hawthorne study is that to improve employee productivity, you need to pay attention to your needs and invest in a healthy, positive work environment. This includes giving feedback, recognizing good work, and providing opportunities for development and growth.

By doing so, companies can increase employee motivation and engagement, improve the organizational climate and ultimately achieve better results.


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