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March 10, 2017

U.S. News

New Research Looks at the ROI of Building a Confident Workforce

New research from Tupperware Brands and Georgetown University explores the link between worker confidence and the bottom line.

Many factors contribute to a company’s success, but a supportive, empowering culture might be an undervalued asset, according to a two-year study conducted by the home products company, in partnership with Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. On average, confident workers yield 22 percent higher sales than their counterparts, says “The Hard Value of Soft Skills” report. Moreover, confident individuals were 27 percent more productive in recruiting others or generating new business leads.

The researchers collected data from 4,000 working adults in Brazil, South Africa and the U.S. Of these, 3,500 were Tupperware Consultants, but the remaining 500 had no affiliation with the company. The link between confidence and success proved consistent across demographics and business models.

“Confident people are more likely to solve problems, be more innovative at work and work independently. Therefore, businesses have a real incentive to cultivate worker confidence,” said Dr. Catherine H. Tinsley, the Raffini Professor of Management at the McDonough School of Business and Academic Director of the Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute.

The good news is that confidence can be cultivated, if employers are willing to take a hard look at the culture they are building within their companies. “It’s up to management to build a culture where employees are encouraged to learn and grow, and I encourage CEOs and business leaders to put these findings into practice and cultivate a more confident workforce, given its immense value,” said Rick Goings, Tupperware Brands Chairman and CEO.

In the second phase of the study, researchers zeroed in on a key driver of confidence, described as “permissible failure.” When workers faced challenges or made mistakes that shook their confidence, they were reminded that these setbacks are positive byproducts of hard work. Essentially, they were given permission to fail. Among this group, confidence increased up to 30 percent, and the study found that confident workers are 45 percent more optimistic about their life and future. They are also 24 percent more likely to overcome challenges encountered at work.

Both Tupperware Brands and Georgetown University are IMPACT 10x10x10 Champions, part of the UN Women initiative to advance gender equality. IMPACT 10x10x10 enlists key decision makers in governments, corporations and universities around the world to drive change from the top.