The Importance of Mindfulness in Human Resources

Topics: Mindfulness

In today’s organization, the human resource department is responsible for many different facets of the company. According to Harvard Business Review, the HR department is responsible for attracting and developing talent, addressing issues with turnover and morale problems, staying current on laws and regulations, and building corporate culture (Cappelli, 2015). Other responsibilities include training and development, compensation, and performance management. Almost all of these functions are people-centered which could benefit from incorporating mindfulness training for human resource personnel.

Mindfulness. Research in Psychology

Mindfulness is described as non-judgmentally and purposely paying attention in the present moment, which, in turn, helps develop a “present moment awareness” (Kabat-Zin, 2011, p.

283) The practice of MBSR, mindful based stress reduction, began in the psychological field as a way to reduce stress. It is based on the teachings of the dharma, which “can be understood primarily as signifying both the teachings of the Buddha and the lawfulness of things in relationship to suffering and the nature of the mind” (Kabat-Zin, 2011, p. 291).

Daphne Davis and Jeffrey Hayes conducted research about the benefits of mindfulness in 2011. They concluded that mindfulness is a state of “moment-by-moment awareness” (Hayes, 2011, p. 198). According to this research, there are many empirically supported benefits of mindfulness. Those benefits include decreased reactivity and increased response flexibility, enhanced working memory capacity, more positive emotions and less negative emotions, effective emotion regulation during periods of stress, increased information processing speed, increased focus and attention, ability to manage distractions and be present to others, and increased empathy and compassion (Hayes, 2011).

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Mindfulness

5 (339)

“ KarrieWrites did such a phenomenal job on this assignment! He completed it prior to its deadline and was thorough and informative. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Organizational Research

Over the past few years, mindfulness research and training have been gaining popularity in organizational and leadership studies. A training program called WMT, workplace mindfulness training or “WorkingMind”, is based on the Buddhist philosophy and was “tailored to meet the needs and demands of employees and leaders in a workplace environment” (Rupprecht, et al., 2019, p. 4). Participants, managers, and supervisors that voluntarily participated, were required to attend two training days and eight sessions that lasted 2.5 hours. During the training, a variety of meditation practices were taught, informal and formal. These meditations included mindfulness, walking, pausing, body scan, and compassion meditations. Participants were asked to practice mindfulness in work conversations, team meetings, e-mail, and daily journaling (Rupprecht, et al., 2019). The objective of the program was to “transform leader capabilities by providing insights and practical tools to increase self-awareness (view), understand and work with the contents of mind (practice), and engage with followers and teams (action)” (Rupprecht, et al., 2019, p. 4).

As a result of the WMT training, participants increased their effectiveness and performance in many ways. They acknowledged being able to regulate attention, manage distractions, and practice greater self-care and self-reflection. Other impacts of the mindfulness skills that were learned include mindful listening, being able to listen attentively and staying “present” in the conversation, becoming emotionally responsive as opposed to emotionally reactive, less judgmental, increased awareness of the followers’ needs, accepting of change, and in an increase in focus on solutions (Rupprecht, et al., 2019).

Research by Arendt, Verdorfer, and Kugler focuses more on the effects of mindful communication between leaders and followers. “Mindfulness in communication consists of three facets: (a) being present and paying attention in conversations, (b) an open, non-judging attitude, and (c) a calm, non-impulsive manner” (Arendt, Verdorfer, & and Kugler, 2019, p. 4). The first assumption requires leaders to be able to focus on the now without being distracted by other thoughts. Improved listening skills can increase leader-follower commitment and are associated with transformational leadership (Arendt, Verdorfer, & and Kugler, 2019). Having a non-judgmental, open attitude helps leaders expand their minds to consider other opinions and perspectives. Rash evaluations and interpretations are avoided by paying attention and retaining information. The third facet refers to effective emotion regulation. This enables leaders to effectively maintain composure in tense situations instead of becoming overcome by emotions (Arendt, Verdorfer, & and Kugler, 2019).

Mindfulness and Trust

Yvonne Stedham and Theresa B. Skaar expanded mindful research to include leadership effectiveness and trust (Skaar, 2019). They “propose that mindfulness facilitates a person’s ability to engage in behaviors that create trusting relationships and by that enhance leader effectiveness” (Skaar, 2019, p. 1). Trust producing leadership behaviors include wisdom, encouragement of diverse perspectives, willingness to debate issues of differing opinions, good listener, promoting responsibility, and positive response to staff members when there is not agreement. Of these behaviors, the most important action a leader can do to build trust is to listen (Thompson, 2018). Stedham and Skaar propose that mindfulness has a “direct impact on trust and leader effectiveness” (Skaar, 2019, p. 6). They list the characteristics of effective leadership as empathy, competence, authenticity, integrity, and transparency, which are all enhanced by the practice of mindfulness (Skaar, 2019). Such leaders are able to be non-judgmental and authentic, open to new ideas, possess integrity, express empathy and humility, and are concerned with the needs and well-being of followers. Followers are inspired and motivated by leaders they can trust (Skaar, 2019).

Ways to Incorporate Mindful Techniques in the HR Department.


  1. Arendt, J., Verdorfer, A. P., & and Kugler, K. G. (2019). Mindfulness and Leadership: Communication as a Behavioral Correlate of Leader Mindfulness and Its Effect on Follower Satisfaction. Frontiers in Psychology.
  2. Cappelli, P. (2015, July – August). Why We Love to Hate HR…and What HR Can Do About It. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review:
  3. Hayes, D. M. (2011). What are the Benefits of Mindfulness? A Practice Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research. Psychotherapy.
  4. Kabat-Zin, J. (2011). Some Reflections on the Origins of MBSR. Contemporary Buddism, 283.
  5. Rupprecht, S., Falke, P., Kohls, N., Tamjidi, C., Wittmann, M., & and Kersemaekers, W. (2019). Mindful Leader Development: How Leaders Experience the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Leader Capabilities. Frontiers in Psychology.
  6. Skaar, T. B. (2019). Mindfulness, Trust, and Leader Effectiveness: A Conceptual Framework. Frontiers in Psychology.
  7. Thompson, C. S. (2018). Leadership Behaviours that Nurture Organizational Trust: Re-examining the Fundamentals. Journal of Human Resource Management.

Cite this page

The Importance of Mindfulness in Human Resources. (2022, May 10). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7