Introducing the science behind WeThrive: The 4C Model

Unique to WeThrive, the 4C model makes it easy to understand the causes of stress and anxiety in the workplace and the negative effect they have on motivation, engagement and performance.

A corporate psychology model created by WeThrive

4C is a workplace psychology model that wraps core ideas from motivational theory into a practical tool for managers. Developed by WeThrive Founder and Business Psychologist, Piers Bishop, our model diagnoses the likely causes of upset and underperformance in the workforce, and automatically outputs coaching suggestions to line managers, making it easier for them to know what their teams need to be happy and work well as well as intervening in ways that will produce real improvements.

Our employee survey questions fall into four main areas of working life, these are:

1. Cognitive – What the team have in their heads

2. Capability – Perception on support and resources

3. Connection – The subconscious invisible ‘human stuff’

4. Confidence – The conscious ‘feelings’ about work

These 4Cs underpin all of the WeThrive tools, which is why we are able to dig deeper and get to the route of conscious and subconscious factors impacting employee engagement. If you want to find out more just click and dropdown the in depth descriptions of how each ‘C’ in the 4C model works:

1. Cognitive: what the team have in their heads

Without good scores in this area your team are in the dark, will act inconsistently, do things that don’t work and then lose motivation.

The cognitive area is all about how well people know what they’re up to at work. People can fall behind and become frustrated if communications are poor, wrong assumptions have been made or vital understanding is missing for some other reason.

In this area WeThrive examines the clarity of communication and collaboration, the thread of cognitive connection between the team, their performance specifications, their colleagues and your customers. Low scores point to a need for improved communications – and the system will tell you where to focus and how to start.
These are the four key indicators in the Cognitive area – what the team have in their heads:

  • Their understanding of the company mission and the needs of the customer or end users.
  • Understanding of their personal performance specification – in clear, unambiguous terms with no gaps or ‘what-ifs’.
  • Understanding of the roles and aims of fellow team members.
  • The degree to which team members can collaborate and share problem-solving, increasing the available brain-power.

2. Capability: perception on support and resources

Some staff make these gaps understood to managers straight away but others keep quiet and ‘manage’ – every gap is an opportunity to improve capability, productivity, job satisfaction and staff engagement.

Although a person was employed because they are capable as new products, customers, techniques, regulations emerge gaps in knowledge, skills or other resources may build up. Uncovering any hidden deficit here represents an opportunity for staff development, greater productivity, more job satisfaction and enhanced retention of key staff.

These are the three key indicators in the Capability area – do employees have what they need to do the job?

  • How far do team members feel they have the necessary background knowledge, training and understanding of your products, culture, values, regulations etc?
  • How well do they feel their skills are sufficient to achieve well at work?
  • How well resourced they feel they are, in terms of equipment, backup, time, finance etc

3. Connection: the subconscious invisible ‘human’ stuff

Deficits with how connected employees feel to your organisation can cause obvious problems, but the causes can be well hidden. Improvement will come from communication and training, and the data here shows you what they need.

The workplace is a team: a group of human beings. We are a social species and a whole string of unseen social mechanisms affect our ability to get on with colleagues and perform well.

A good score here contributes to a contented, focussed team. This is not just a nice-to-have: people who don’t feel part of the team get sick, take more time in the smoking shelter and don’t perform to their ability, so you need WeThrive to spot the opportunities for improvement.

Connection area – the invisible ‘human stuff’ that makes or breaks a team:

  • How well attention, the social ‘glue’ is shared between team members so they can communicate and be part of something bigger than themselves
  • Whether staff get the buzz that comes from being socially connected into a real, functioning team
  • How well the management and social structures provide for staff to feel they have an authentic status in the group as a result of their achievements

This touchy-feely, ‘people’ stuff is behind much of the hard-to-diagnose problems at work. The unseen social mechanisms have a profound effect on people’s happiness and well-being at work – promoting openness, intelligent performance, health, loyalty and staff retention when things are right. Workplaces don’t generally talk about these things, but they should – and WeThrive is the ideal way to open the conversation that leads to improvement.

4. Confidence: the conscious ‘feelings’ about work

How do you spot the warning signs that mean an individual or team is in need of help, especially when they may not have worked out what’s up and could just think they’re just “a bit stressed at the moment”?

This area of WeThrive charts five key indicators that tell you where to focus your management effort. Low scores in this area don’t just point to one specific problem – they will be related to the problems that exist in the other three areas, but they show how well people are coping. They also show how resilient and engaged your team will be, and indicate your risk of problems connected with health, engagement, staff retention and so on.

Five things managers should monitor the following factors:

  • How secure do staff feel at work? – without security they will make more mistakes, be less creative and flexible, and take more days off sick
  • Do team members have a degree of autonomy and control over the way they work?
  • Is there enough mental headspace and time built into their work routines to prevent mistakes and demotivation from fatigue?
  • How often are staff sufficiently free from worry in order to work well?
  • What kind of meaning does the work have for the team – is it stimulating them and generating a sense of purpose, so they really want to go to work because of what they get out of it?

Low scores here suggest urgent investigation is needed to prevent lost work, staff or customers. WeThrive clients use this data to start conversations, to sort out the underlying problems so the team begin to score well. This way they will do their best work for you, and they will grow, progress, and want to stay with you.

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