You could say a “pro-human” workplace is about employee engagement, employee experience, morale, spirit, vitality or any other similar buzzword of the day. Organizations create programs around these topics. They provide structure and consistency. And yet, that’s not the whole story.
To me, what I call a “pro-human” workplace is embodied on a daily basis, human to human in routine interactions. All organization members understand that to address human needs like appreciation, belonging, and the need to make a meaningful contribution creates a thriving and sustainable culture and business outcomes. It’s a tone, a belief, that infuses all interactions.
Intention and commitment at the leadership level are imperative. This is as important as any structured program.
Long before I became an HR professional, I sent out an email at the request of an employee. She was off work for a prolonged period of time, having experienced a serious accident. She asked me to give her co-workers an update on her condition. An HR generalist was on the list. He called me immediately and told me to never do that again. I was not respecting the employee’s privacy.
There are many reasons why I shouldn’t have sent that email. HIPAA was just entering the scene. I get it. Yet what bothered me the most is that the HR rep was not sensitive in delivering that message to me. He was correct in his assessment of the situation. It was his job. He had the right to give me feedback. I won’t say he enjoyed the embarrassment I felt, but he was indifferent to it, which is almost as bad. I didn’t feel like he treated me like a human being that day.
This is the level of attention to one-on-one interaction that I’m talking about.
You’ve probably heard this from many companies, “Our employees are our most valuable asset.”
Many companies have “respect for people” on their list of company values. Others conduct employee surveys to gauge the level of employee satisfaction, motivation, and morale. Some claim employees are one of their major stakeholders. What would it take to be consistent to ensure the human beings who happen to be employees are feeling valued... and benefit by that?
Studies show that organizations that display empathy, among other human-related attributes, are more successful. In the book Firms of Endearment author Raj Sisodia et al. state the “firms of endearment” that are publicly held returned 1,026 percent for investors over the 10 years ending June 30, 2006. Compare that with 122 percent for the S&P 500.
I talk to my clients a lot about how they can work with others, and maintain their dignity at the same time. What I mean is maintaining the dignity of my client and those they are working with.
I don’t suggest being insincere or giving away the store. There are ways to run an organization and humanize the workplace and work culture at the same time.
Here are some specific examples you can work from and start with today.
It’s both a leadership thing and an individual thing. You can start today.
Undoubtedly leaders at the top need to model this behavior. And you, no matter what your title can make a difference. Let’s talk about what we can do together about this together, today.
Image credit: Pixabay/geralt
I work with you via training and one-on-one coaching to help you learn the skills to handle those conversations you need to have but tend to avoid, in a way that reduces conflict and maintains everyone's dignity.
We work together to help you build teams of people who are resourceful and self-starters because you have unleashed the potential of those amazing human beings who happen to be employees.
Through my digital products, you get materials and tools to improve your day-to-day conversations with employees so that everyone’s regularly all on the same page, and thriving.