In-company training courses for employees are well-known. In the past years, it has become apparent that it is not enough to only train and expand professional skills. Conditions such as the growing rate of illness, dissatisfaction in the workplace and a lack of social competencies are topics that urgently require action.
Sustainable Quality Management means above all that employees must increasingly rely on self-initiative. However, measures are necessary that will help employees learn how to do this – to be able to develop this ability and be asked to do so; to develop trust so that even with a tight schedule, they can still be in control of their health and their own motivation, and so experience more self-satisfaction and joy of being.
Meditation seminars do exactly that.
Trends in the labor market – ‘Sustainability’ will soon be the slogan for a company’s future
In the postmodern age of information, long-term employment in various positions within one company is becoming more and more seldom. Do you know what we mean? You invest time and money in training and continuing education courses for an employee – and the minute they are ready to take on a higher position in the firm, you lose them to a customer or a competitor.
In Germany, through the drastic drop in birth rates since the reunification, there will hardly be enough qualified skilled workers on the labor market in the next five years that are at an age that they can still be groomed for the company’s future. The number of 19 to 25 year-olds will decrease by 50% by the year 2016. Source: SPIEGEL ONLINE – Demographic Studies (Bertelsmann)
What does this mean for german companies? They are going to have to calculate with higher personnel costs in order to keep an employee long-term. And not only that – the continually growing demands on a long-term employee have caused an increase in mental health illnesses, which in turn has drastically increased the number of workers out sick. According to the DAK Health Report 2010, the number of sick days will increase 13.5% from last year’s statistics – and most of these cases are psychological illnesses like Burn Out Syndrome and depression. Burn out and psychological illnesses became a global human problem.
It has been proven that firms that take these trends seriously and react with adequate measures were able to greatly reduce costs and at the same time, keep their employees in the company because of a high to very high level of work satisfaction. Illness rates also sunk in double digit percentages and the work environment improved about 87%.
(Source: Patricia Aburdene, Megatrends 2020, Kamphausen-Verlag).
What measures are companies undertaking in order to support employee sustainability?
There are different approaches. During the last 15 years, employees have been offered Wellness-Weekends that have had the short-term effects of relaxation and temporarily fostering team spirit, etc. However, there are no parameters that can measure whether these effects are long-lasting. Actually, the opposite seems to be true: after returning to an everyday work week, many people fall back into the same old rut, into their old dogmas and usual complaints...
Meditation seminars, group and single coaching, self-inquiry groups, and so on deliver a much larger and longer-lasting effect. This is why meditation seminars are offered by many companies today as part of their training programs. The difference is clear – employees are given tools that they can use themselves and of their own initiative to take care of their well-being – both body and soul. The result is that they develop more inner contentment, more serenity and increasing social competence.
Can you imagine having employees that are in a good mood, balanced and concentrated at your place of work?
A large number of scientific studies and research projects have proven that people who cultivate their own personal satisfaction are more able to cope with pressure, work more efficiently and with more concentration. They also are able to release a high amount of creativity, are healthier in body and mind and can follow through on projects. And all this with an above average success rate.
MDuring the last decade, meditation has been used in companies as part of further training programs with growing success. The combination of traditional and modern techniques make for a solid and individually tailored program that gives participants practical tools to deal with everyday problems; tools that they can use anytime with only a small investment of their own time. Effective awareness exercises, exercises to cope with stress, etc., are only a part of it.
Successful Stress Management
For centuries, meditation has been mostly a private thing in the Western Hemisphere. Truth-seekers from all over the world have discovered meditation methods as part of a spiritual practice. This has changed dramatically.
There are around 1,500 recognized studies since the 1930‘s that attest to the effectiveness of meditation as a method to reduce stress. Through innovative technologies, even more measurable results are available that have moved this thousands of years old tradition into a new scientifically proven light.
Today businesses are increasingly offering employees self-awareness raising measures within the framework of stress management. US author Patricia Aburdene has documented this in her international bestseller, Megatrends 2020 (Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., Charlottesville, VA).
A three-year study in an American pharmaceutical company conducted after the introduction of meditation training in the production site has produced the following results:
- the number of days out due to illness fell by 85%
- productivity increased by 120 %
- the work accident rate dropped by 70 %
- turnover increased by 520 %
Source: Patricia Aburdene – Megatrends 2020
What are the benefits of such measures?
Meditation raises an employee’s level of motivation, reduces sick days, fosters better time management, delivers more effective results, promotes a higher level of job satisfaction and cultivates team building.
A study from the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging (BION) in Giessen supports these claims.
Bender Institute of Neuroimaging (Bion), Giessen, Germany
Study with 48 subjects – 16 men and 32 women between the ages of 23 and 69. One part of the group had several years of experience with meditation practices.
Subjects were tested for their individual performance capability, individuality and creativity. The subjects, who also participated in a three-year educational program that trained methods for personality development, were asked to identify what developments in their various professional and everyday contexts they considered to be linked to meditation. The results of the initial study at the end of 2008, and the follow-up study a year later, documented by the end of the initial study that participants had already experienced a marked improvement in their quality of life and self-efficacy as compared to when they did not practice meditation. A majority of the subjects also found that within the first twelve months of regular practice, they were much better able to withstand external pressures, achieve more professionally and find more personal authenticity.
Overview of the most important results:
- Performance ability: 54% felt that they achieved more professionally
- Self-awareness and authenticity: 73% felt more authentic and more like themselves
- Handling pressure: 52% could meet external challenges and withstand pressure better
- Behavior in Crisis Situations: Only 7% still had difficulty keeping a clear head during a crisis
- Dependence on external evaluations: Only 15% still depend on the judgements from others
- More job freedom: 56% could successfully take more freedom in making professional decisions; only 27% still felt that they were limited by the given circumstances in their working environment
- Values in a career context: 71% found that they need to bring their ideals and values into the workplace
These positive changes caused by meditation in the participants’ self-awareness were evaluated through MRI and EEG testing, as well as through a survey. Professor Dr. Dieter Vaitl, the Director of BION conducted the study with Dr. Ulrich Ott. He concluded that, “The initial results show that above all, those who had little prior practice profited the most from meditating. Their ability to concentrate for a longer period of time and reach a state of deep concentration has grown considerably.”
Source: Bender Institute of Neuroimaging (BION), Gießen, Germany
High rate of sick leave – an alarming development worldwidE
According to the 2010 Health Report issued by the DAK (German Employee Health Insurance company), “Mental health issues of the insured have gone up 60% from 1998 to 2009. (87% of these cases have been to due psychological disorders like Burnout, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia). This represents 10.8% of the average sickness rate in Germany. Mental health issues are the 4th biggest type of illness named as the reason for sick leave. In addition, there are a large number of cases that go unreported. Almost one out of ten people suffer from sleep disorders caused mainly by stress and emotional strain.”
It has been clear for a long time that traditional medicine can treat the symptoms of an illness, but it is often not able to cure the cause. Meditation is one of the simplest methods that a person can do on their own to bring themselves back into balance. Meditation is increasingly used in clinics, especially when treating chronic illnesses like depression, cancer, rheumatism, mental disorders, addiction and heart and skin diseases. Many of these illnesses or diseases cause stress reactions in the patient that in turn, negatively influence the progression of the illness/disease. This is because stress weakens the immune system, just as satisfaction and happiness make it stronger. Many studies have decidedly proven this.
The Medical College of Wisconsin in cooperation with the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa presented the results of their study about the effects of meditation on health and psyche. (The length of the study was between 6 and 9 months. The subjects meditated daily for 20 minutes.) They found that:
- Anxiety was greatly or all together reduced in 60% of the patients.
- The risk of heart attack sank by a total of 15 %.
- 75 % of the patients suffering from sleep disorders were able to fall asleep within 20 minutes and were considered healed.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, MD (USA)
invested $3.8 million US dollars in a 9-year study where patients with cardiovascular disease were tested. The study showed that the rates of heart attacks, strokes and death for the subjects that meditated (20 minutes daily meditation practice using various meditation techniques), were reduced by 54%.
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