The much sought-after road to success isn’t without its bumps, but those setbacks may be a company’s biggest opportunity to inspire confidence in its workforce, says a new study released today by Tupperware Brands Corporation.
The Hard Value of Soft Skills report, conducted in partnership with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, found that confidence drives business and professional success and can be systematically cultivated among workers, regardless of geography. The two-year study surveyed 4,000 employed adults in Brazil, South Africa and the United States.
For decades, Tupperware Brands has seen the economic impact of cultivating confidence among its workforce, a proven link between increased confidence and earning potential. Uniting with Georgetown University, a fellow UN Women IMPACT 10x10x10 Champion, Tupperware Brands sought to discover if positive confidence cycles had the same impact in the broader business world.
Regardless of demographic or business model, as confidence increases, so does business success. Tupperware found confidence to be a dependable predictor of success. Specifically, more confident workers yield:
- An average of 27% more recruits or new business leads
- An average of 22% higher sales
“A billion women will enter the workforce in the next decade. Think about how important confidence will be to their success,” said Dr. Catherine H. Tinsley, the Raffini Professor of Management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and Academic Director of the Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute. “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.”
Support Through Setbacks Reboots The Confidence Cycle
Often, one of the greatest challenges with confidence is how to bounce back when confidence is lost. The key is developing a supportive and empowering culture that allows employees to learn from their mistakes. However, the research found that to be most effective, this message must be embedded in the organization’s culture, rather than come from a direct supervisor.
“For years, I’ve seen firsthand the value of non-cognitive skills, like confidence and resilience, within our workforce,” said Tupperware Brands Corporation Chairman and CEO, Rick Goings. “These findings show that no matter where you work, confidence is good for business. 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.”
Workers who felt they had permission to fail reported increased confidence, increased productivity and an improved ability to overcome challenges.
- Workers’ confidence increases up to 30% when organizations treat failure as a signal of effort and not a lack of worker competence
- More confident workers are 45% more optimistic about their life and future
- More confident workers are 24% more likely to overcome challenges encountered at work
Additionally, research shows that the link between confidence and success is universal, within Tupperware Brands and beyond, and across countries, gender, and enterprise types. The confidence-success link exists regardless of total work experience or experience in one’s current job, suggesting that confidence exists separately from on-the-job experience.
The research team was led by Tinsley, with collaboration from Jason Schloetzer, the William and Karen Sonneborn Term Associate Professor of Business Administration at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and Matthew Cronin, associate professor of management at George Mason University School of Business.
The study was conducted in two phases, seeking to identify the tangible drivers of confidence, pinpoint the concrete economic impact of women’s confidence regardless of market or demographic and quantify the role that confidence plays in women’s economic empowerment. This research was conducted among 3,500 current Tupperware Sales Force members and 500 non-Tupperware affiliated, employed adults in Brazil, South Africa and the U.S.
Researchers began Phase I by analyzing when workers feel most and least confident. Revisiting the confidence cycle, the three-part, cyclical relationship between confidence and success, they heard that workers struggle to “reboot” their confidence upon encountering a challenge or failure. Although the confidence cycle can be rebooted several ways, from incentives to recognition programs, the researchers isolated “permissible failure” as a factor for further analysis. In this context, permissible failure means creating an organizational culture where workers are told that setbacks and challenges are positive byproducts of hard work.
In Phase II, researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial experiment within Tupperware across Brazil, South Africa and the U.S. First, all participants were surveyed on their perceived levels of confidence. Next, over a six-week period, workers viewed one of two pre-recorded videos: a “test” message, that failure is part of the road to success, or a neutral motivational message. After each group viewed their respective video multiple times, participants were surveyed on their confidence a second time. In addition, researchers analyzed sales and recruitment data at the beginning and end of the six-week period. Outside of Tupperware, employed adults were surveyed to test the generality of the psychological process which affects confidence, failure and success, using the well-validated MacArthur scale of subjective social status.
About Tupperware Brands Corporation
Through an independent sales force of 3.1 million, Tupperware Brands Corporation is the leading global marketer of innovative, premium products across multiple brands utilizing social selling. Product brands and categories include design-centric preparation, storage and serving solutions for the kitchen and home through the Tupperware brand and beauty and personal care products through the Avroy Shlain, BeautiControl, Fuller, NaturCare, Nutrimetics, and Nuvo brands.