A human workplace prioritizes the universal need for employees to be recognized and appreciated for their workplace value. Rather than operating through a system of ego and fear, a human workplace is open, collaborative, and inclusive. It is employee-centric and encourages individuals to have a secure and robust sense of identity at work.
Why is creating a more human workplace important? Well, research shows that companies with happy employees outperform the contention by 20%. Of course, this doesn't happen by chance. Employees tend to feel happier in a workplace environment designed to promote curiosity and creativity, where individuals know that it is okay to take risks, make mistakes, and be human. When you make an effort to prioritize and humanize the employee experience, your organization thrives. With this in mind, let's consider five practical ways to create a more human workplace.
Provide a Sense of Purpose
In a human workplace, employees should find a sense of fulfillment in their work beyond pay. That's where the human element comes in - because meaningful work can guide employees on the path to fulfilling their need for self-actualization.
Both employees and organizational leaders have critical roles in fostering a sense of purpose. On the one hand, the organization should make an effort to connect what the employee does to their impact in the workplace. Additionally, leaders should encourage employees to define and embrace their values. But employees should also follow through by showing up with an open mind and willingness to contribute. When this sense of purpose is present, employees can increase their productivity and effectiveness at work.
Encourage Communication and Contribution
A common reason why many businesses fail to cultivate a human workplace is that they don't allow their employees to voice their opinions and share their ideas. A healthy workplace culture promotes open communication about who we are, what we think, and what we need. When employees can talk to managers and colleagues about things that are on their minds, everyone benefits. Employees gain a sense of satisfaction from expressing their viewpoints, and the organization receives feedback necessary for improvement.
Of course, it is expected that not all ideas and concerns will be able to be implemented or resolved, but they should, at the very least, be investigated. Studies show that psychological safety, or creating an environment where employees feel safe to speak up and try new things, is a contributing factor behind high-performing teams.
Facilitate Training and Development
By investing in training and professional development opportunities for their people, organizations show that they care about employee goals and aspirations. Employees care about their advancement and generally seek to align themselves with organizations that allow them to learn, grow, and develop as an individual. Training initiatives send employees a signal that they are valued and respected in the workplace. A recent LinkedIn study found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if invested in their careers.
For employee development initiatives to succeed, managers should undergo training to help them become better coaches. By understanding their employees' unique strengths, motivations, and challenges, managers can take away roadblocks that slow them down and guide them on the path to success. It's a positive feedback loop because employees who actively engage in learning become more confident and feel more prepared to fulfill their workplace responsibilities.
Provide Greater Autonomy
Successful organizations know how to energize employees by giving them the ability to make decisions that affect their work. People value having control over their activities. Micromanaging your team can stifle creativity and cause employees to conclude a lack of trust in the workplace. Conversely, autonomy promotes trust, respectability and integrity. Human workplaces allow employees to shape their work environment to perform to the best of their ability.
Organizations can boost employee autonomy by letting employees design their process and set their schedules within reasonable limits. Even previously, traditional workplaces have begun experimenting with small changes, such as allowing employees to work at home one day per week. In an autonomous organization, it's what gets done that matters, with less concern for how it gets done. Such flexibility generally leads to increased employee engagement and job satisfaction.
Boost Employee Well-Being
When organizations actively support employee well-being, they demonstrate that they genuinely care for the welfare of individual employees, viewing them as much more than robots. Exercise, nutrition, and sleep are factors that have a significant impact on the well-being and physical energy levels of employees. When employees adequately meet these needs, they often experience substantial improvements in concentration, interpersonal relationships, and performance at work.
Organizations can encourage exercise by providing access to gyms and fitness classes, including subsidies for memberships. They can promote healthy eating by upgrading vending machines and kitchens to include healthy options. Additionally, they can set up spaces where employees can sit and sip their coffee, recharge, and even take a quick nap. Such measures contribute to creating a workplace that recognizes and addresses employees' innately human needs.
By taking the above steps to create a more human workplace, you can transform your organizational culture to one that's incredibly attractive to both potential and current employees. At the end of the day, people want to be part of an organization that acknowledges their limitations, creates a sense of belonging and motivates them to reach their full potential. When employees and management collaborate to bring a greater sense of empathy, creativity, and innovation to the workplace, both parties benefit and move closer toward their goals.
Author’s Bio- Roli Edema is an entrepreneur and personal development author. She is passionate about continuous learning, psychology, and practicing the 80/20 principle to see greater results in life. Through her work, Roli provides individuals with useful tools to enable them to reach their personal, career, and business goals.