If you want happy employees, give them important tasks within their range of abilities, according to a study by Cynthia D. Fisher of Bond University, Amirali Minbashian of the University of New South Wales, Nadin Beckmann of Durham University, & Robert E. Wood of the University of Melbourne. More specifically, the results of the study indicated that the importance of a task and the employee’s confidence about completing the task predicted whether an employee would experience positive or negative emotions. If the task was important and the employee felt that she could complete it effectively, she had an increase in positive emotions. On the other hand, if the task was important and the employee felt that she could not complete it effectively, she had an increase in negative emotions.
This result was found on a study of 135 middle managers from airline, banking, broadcasting, insurance, and packaging industries. These employees reported the importance of the task that they were working on (e.g., “How important is it that you complete this task effectively?”), their confidence in being able to effectively complete the task (e.g., “How confident are you that you can complete this task effectively?”), and their current mood fives times per day for three weeks (e.g., happy, content, stressed, frustrated). Though these results are important for any employer to know, they are especially relevant for those in the fields of industrial and organizational psychology, human resource management, organizational development, and organizational management.