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What’s New with Humu—February 2019 Edition

Written by Meghan Casserly

We get it—for some folks out there, the “little bit of love” in our mission statement is a bit of a head-scratcher. What’s love got to do with a technology company, or human resources, or even behavioral change?

At Humu, though, that little bit of love is everything. It’s a reminder that each employee we partner with is a sister, a brother, a mother, a coach or a friend who is loved and who loves in return. It’s a reminder to treat them as such, and to keep our commitment to working for them—and with them—in a way that is thoughtful, privacy-focused, and empathetic of the real-life complexities and competing priorities of showing up at work every day.

As we work this month to move Humu’s partnerships forward, we’re focused on the love.

What we’re doing—what is love?

What we’re learning—love hurts.
In my efforts to be a great manager, I work hard to create close relationships with employees, but new research from the Journal of Applied Psychology is a timely reminder that this bonding approach could backfire. In an experiment, when managers were generous in interactions with employees, employees in general would feel obligated to “repay” them by putting in more work effort and contributing more. But when employees reported having a close relationship with their manager—the experiment showed they actually felt less obligated to return the favor, and as a result took longer to complete tasks and assignments.

Moral of the story? According to the researchers, cutting love out of the equation isn’t necessary—but in order to stay close with team members without the downside, managers should be explicit about expectations with all employees. Meeting deadlines shouldn’t be a favor, after all.

What we’re loving—puppy love.
In 2017, the US Department of Defense funded research to help couples separated by deployment fend off broken hearts—which in and of itself made my day to learn about. But the findings are even more swoon-worthy: looking at photos of cute animals was proven effective in rekindling lost romantic sparks between couples. How? Participants who were exposed to positive images (puppies! bunnies!) paired with their partner’s face showed more positive automatic reactions to their partner over time.

Warm fuzzies all around, but it got me thinking: would watching cute animal videos together with your boss have a similarly positive effect? I’ll report back in future months 🙂

What we’re reading—a love of learning.
If your brother, mentor, or grandmother hasn’t already recommended you read Tara Westover’s Educated, let me be the first to say it’s worth picking up. If they have, let me gladly join the choir. Westover’s memoir—of growing up in a Mormon fundamentalist family, and her determination to leave home in search of a formal education—is nothing short of remarkable. For those of us who can’t quite comprehend an upbringing like hers, it’s a window into a new world, but to those who consider themselves lifelong learners, her love of books and information feels intimately familiar.

As always, friends, I am here to talk books… Are you reading Educated? Is there something I should pick up? My inbox is open.

Tell someone you love them today.

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