Unleashing The Power of Humanity in Business
Throughout my professional journey, I have had the privilege of collaborating with numerous business leaders who have cared deeply for those who reported to them, worked with them or bought from them. Humanity was at the center of their core beliefs as leaders. The people around them were highly engaged, stayed longer in their jobs and at the company and produced better-quality work and business outcomes.
When I have been involved in teams that were unfortunate enough to have leaders who cared only about their numbers, engagement and retention were low, work quality was poor and business results declined.
The desire to feel cared for in our professional and personal lives is basic to us as humans. Such care is most often rewarded with loyalty and hard work.
Cultures authentically grounded in strong values and focused on the personal care and support of others are inspiring, enlightening and transformational. They also produce extraordinary business results.
A Human-Centered Business
A “human-centered” business is one that puts people at the center of its business model. There is 360-degree care for the well-being of people—in both their professional and personal lives. This focus encompasses physical, psychological, intellectual, spiritual and financial well-being. Businesses that position humanity first speak to the hearts and minds of people, help fulfill their hopes and dreams and ultimately foster meaningful human connections. These companies sincerely believe that if they help people be the best version of themselves, the business will be the best version of itself. Nearly four decades of engagement research conducted by the Gallup organization and others supports the idea that people who feel genuinely listened to and who feel important, respected and cared for stay longer at employers, work harder, produce higher-quality outcomes and products and are happier and more fulfilled in their jobs. Customers who feel this kind of engagement buy more, refer more and are more loyal when things go wrong.
Accelerating Humanity at The Workplace
While free drinks, snacks or meals, pool tables or basketball hoops are enjoyable, they don’t count for much when it comes to creating fulfilling lives for people. Few employees will work harder, stay at an organization or be happier in life as a result of such superficial perks. Even good compensation is a relatively small element of what drives engagement, retention and most importantly, fulfillment and happiness. A human-centered workplace goes much deeper to the heart of what people want and care about most.
When people are at the center of a business model, humanity becomes a guiding light for leaders. Such enlightened leaders grow their businesses by growing and improving the lives of their people and customers.
Supporting a 360-degree workplace culture of care can also include employing life, health, career and college coaches, on-site day care and gyms, Zen or quiet rooms, new mother rooms, remote and flexible working opportunities, educational reimbursement and an employee assistance program.
Humanity Beyond the Workplace
When the people who work for you feel humanity is important to your business, they will not only treat others in your organization with more care, they will do the same for your customers. With such a human-centered focus, they will feel empowered to deliver extraordinary customer service, internally and externally.
As intense customer loyalty rests more on meaningful human exchanges than on well-executed transactions, a human-centered approach to customer care can create Ambassadors for your business.
Humanity Towards Society
The human-centred culture in organizations impacts the society and communities in general. One big manifestation of humanity in business is CSR, as a part of compliance or generally being supportive of social causes. I have observed, in my network many companies contributing to the cause of NGOs that include education, healthcare, skill development and the Girl Child.
When companies participate (and engage their respective teams) in the social cause, the teams also become the possibilities of contribution to a larger cause. And I believe that is the biggest outcome of a humanity-centric business.
Embracing the Human Element at Work
Nurturing an Engaging Company Culture
The core of any workplace is rooted in our shared humanity, encompassing the values we hold the talents we bring and the diverse perspectives that enrich our work. Humanity, in the workplace goes beyond buzzwords; it’s a living force that addresses the human needs driving our professional lives.
It revolves around creating an environment where we prioritize the following aspects:
- Purpose: Providing employees with a sense of direction and a meaningful reason to contribute towards achieving goals.A workplace becomes an arena for meaningful contributions when employees connect with a sense of purpose. It’s the gravitational force that draws them towards aligning their personal values with the organization’s mission.
- Growth: Valuing personal and professional development opportunities that ignite motivation and foster continuous improvement.The seeds of human potential sprout and flourish when nurtured with opportunities for growth. Professional development isn’t just a checkbox; it’s the cornerstone of a workforce that’s constantly evolving, adapting, and improving.
- Acceptance: Embracing differences, quirks and backgrounds to create an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and belonging.An atmosphere that embraces individuality and diversity acknowledges that each employee is a tapestry of unique experiences, ideas, and perspectives. When these differences are celebrated rather than suppressed, a sense of belonging takes root.
- Camaraderie: Building connections and relationships as the foundation of a work environment that encourages collaboration and mutual support.Relationships are the emotional infrastructure of any workplace. Human connections foster collaboration, mutual support, and a shared determination to overcome challenges.
- Recognition: Acknowledging employees. Achievements to fuel their motivation and reinforce their importance, within the organization.The human spirit thrives when its efforts are acknowledged. Recognition isn’t a mere formality; it’s a potent tool that fuels motivation, loyalty, and a sense of pride in one’s work.
- Fairness: Cultivating a work environment that fosters trust and upholds ethical practices.Equity and justice form the pillars of a workplace where trust and ethical behaviour can flourish. When employees perceive fairness in treatment, their commitment to the organization deepens.
- Safety: Both physical and psychological safety are essential, allowing employees to express themselves without fear of repercussions.A holistic sense of safety, both physical and psychological, allows employees to express their ideas, concerns, and doubts freely. In such an environment, innovation and collaboration flourish without the shadows of apprehension.
- Work-Life Balance: Finding a balance, between work and personal life is essential, for our well-being and job satisfaction.The delicate equilibrium between professional and personal spheres is vital for sustaining employee well-being and overall job satisfaction. It acknowledges the multidimensional nature of human lives.
It must be observed that amidst the rise of Artificial Intelligence and the potential toxicity of corporate cultures, nurturing humanity in the workplace has become more crucial than ever.