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Faculty Insights

Research That Works in the Workplace: 5 Tips to Boost Your Job Performance

By Betsy Lundgren

May 8, 2019

An illustration depicting an employee and five upward facing arrows
You wake up before your alarm goes off. There are butterflies in your stomach. You’re not sure what to expect out of the next eight hours.
It must be the first day of your new job.
This experience is one that many of the 900+ Wisconsin School of Business students who graduate this spring will soon know well. As they start new jobs—in many cases their first jobs—at companies across the globe, the expertise of WSB faculty can continue to serve them (and all of us) well.
Many WSB professors pursue lines of research that examine how we think and act on the job, making them an ideal source for tips on how to succeed in the workplace.
So, the next time you’re at work, consider putting this research to work for you:
1. Boost your self-confidence. Sure, talent and motivation are important in predicting on-the-job performance, but as it turns out, confidence is just as important a factor. Associate Professor Alex Stajkovic finds that employees need more than sheer skill. They need to believe they’ll succeed. And managers can play an important role in helping build that confidence.
2. Beware of the temptation to surf the internet. According to Professor Sung Kim, cyberloafing can be contagious and habitual. Companies that formally crack down on personal internet use may see employees change their behavior. But either way, make sure you’re aware of the potential risks of your leisurely stroll through the web.
3. Refer a friend. Looking to boost your productivity and job satisfaction? Consider referring a friend to your workplace. Professor Charlie Trevor finds that it’ll likely be a win-win situation for both of you. After all, who doesn’t prefer to work at a place where you have strong social ties with others?
4. Check your biases. In a study by Associate Professor Maria Triana, female supervisors with strong education, tenure, and seniority were assessed more poorly by employees than male supervisors with weaker credentials. In today’s diverse workforce, it’s important to actively challenge personal biases, both for your own benefit and that of your organization.
5. Shake up your routine to increase creativity. If you’re the always-follow-directions type, you might not be taking full advantage of your own creativity. Professor Page Moreau’s research finds that performing defined, repetitive tasks may hamper your ability to handle ambiguous tasks. So do your creativity a favor and challenge yourself to do even simple tasks differently.

For more insights from WSB faculty, visit our Forward Thinking Faculty Blog.