Research Outline

Impact of Employee Encouragement


To support a larger workshop that is focused on helping mid-sized businesses cultivate employee engagement by obtaining 3-5 research studies that provide evidence on the positive impact of regular employee encouragement, specifically related to (1) employee development and (2) company culture. Possible source(s) for this information may include the field of positive psychology and/or the work of Gordon Allport.

Early Findings

Impact of Encouragement

  • The first hour of research suggested that there is very limited information in the public domain that quantitatively establishes the link between regular employee encouragement and either (1) employee development or (1) company culture.
  • Within the time constraints of this initial research period, the research team found that the work products of Gordon Allport as well as Positive Psychology appear to emphasize the larger subject of employee motivation over a more specific focus on employee encouragement. Corroborating this finding, a somewhat dated (2015) report published in SAGE Publications asserted that "encouragement remains an understudied topic in positive psychology."
  • Despite this fact, the research team identified references in the public domain to the relationship between regular employee encouragement and company culture. For example, the Houston Chronicle asserts that "employers, supervisors and managers who provide encouragement and support to employees can make the work atmosphere more enjoyable and influence workers' attitudes."
  • Additionally, the research team located several research studies that established a quantitative link between encouragement and performance:
    • A somewhat dated (2016) study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that individuals who received regular, encouraging emails reported superior adherence to an athletic program than those who received unrelated emails. In particular, those who received "caring" communications were substantially more likely to follow through on the stated task (63%) than those who received encouragement that appealed to the "ego" (41%) or those who received neutral communications (50%).
    • Separately, a more dated report published in the Journal of Sports Sciences determined that "frequent verbal encouragement leads to significantly greater maximum effort in a treadmill test than when no encouragement is given or when the encouragement is infrequent."
    • Meanwhile, a 2020 research study from Young Scientists Journal found that students performed better on scholastic exams "after listening to encouragement."

Summary of Initial Findings

  • The research team leveraged the first hour of research to assess the availability of requested research studies on employee encouragement as well as to provide a synthesis of preliminary findings.
  • Given that a geographic scope was not provided for this research, the research team used a global focus. If a more narrow geographic scope is desired for future research (e.g., United States) this would need to be clearly communicated.
  • Notably, the results of the initial hour of research determined that quantitative information on the link between regular employee encouragement and either employee development or company culture is extremely limited.
  • As such, the research team suggests several alternative strategies to achieve the ultimate objective of this research project:
    • Expand the search to provide any credible statistics and/or research studies that more generally highlight the positive impact of investing in employee encouragement for companies and their employees.
    • Identify credible institutions and/or business leaders that publicly attest to the positive impact of investing in employee encouragement for companies and their employees.
    • Provide case studies of companies that have seen a return from investing in regular communications that offer employees encouragement.
  • These alternative research strategies have been outlined in further detail below for approval, as desired.