Posts Tagged "humanity at work’

“I don’t see color.” (Maybe you should.)

By Lynette Silva

Recognize This! – Inclusion welcomes all that makes another person fully themselves.

mohamed-nohassi-175530I am deeply proud of my company and our leaders for the stand we have taken for greater diversity, inclusion and belonging – both in our own organization and through the WorkHuman movement. This isn’t about political correctness. This is about creating safe workspaces for people to bring their whole human selves to work, in all of their passionate, creative and sometimes messy human glory.

That said, in the interest of being inclusive, I acknowledge tone deafness at times. How often have you heard the phrases “I don’t see race.” or “I don’t see gender.” This misses the point of inclusion and belonging. In saying “I don’t see an essential part of you” – whether that be your gender, your relationship preference, or the color of your skin – we are also choosing to deny a large part of what makes the other person essentially them.

Each of us is, yes, more than the color of our skin, or who we choose to love, or our gender, or our religion, or our ethnic background. Yet all of those elements are what make me unequivocally me.

See me for who I am and all that I am.

That’s what makes social recognition perceived through the WorkHuman lens so powerful – it’s about recognizing the person for what they do and for who they are. It’s acknowledging that you – uniquely, specifically, beautifully you – and your talents, skills and perspectives that arise from all that it means to be fully you – are what enable you to make important contributions and achieve results for organization success. It’s about recognizing and appreciating the whole human. It’s about truly seeing the entire person in all their humanity.

As Verna Myers said beautifully, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” But how do you do that? She’s also explained, embracing inclusion requires “the institution’s ability to fully integrate its understanding of and appreciation for the diverse cultures and backgrounds of its employees.”

True inclusion sees, welcomes and respects everything that makes each of us, well, us. And when I’m seen for who I am, in all my facets, and welcomed anyway, that’s how I know I belong.

What makes you uniquely you? How do you seek to understand others in their fully unique humanity?

(Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash)

5 Human Truths in the Modern Workplace and How to Address Them

by Derek Irvine

3903889peoplecreatetheheartofthehouseRecognize This! – We are all human. Our workplaces, relationships and interactions need to reflect our humanity to help us all deliver more productively and achieve success together.

I had the pleasure and honor of speaking again this year at SHRM’s 2015 annual conference. My topic – “The Power of Thanks: Bringing Workplace Gratitude to the Next Level” – involved a wide range through the history of humans at work, most of which was hard labor. For the majority of our history at work, we’ve mostly relied on our muscle for hard, physical labor. Only in the last few decades did we begin to rely heavily on our minds as well as the focus at work shifted to the knowledge worker. Now, we are finally moving into a whole body experience at work, involving our hearts, too. I asked the SHRM audience and I’ll ask you, “Can you  ‘heart’ (holding my hands like in the picture) your company?” Most at SHRM could not. And those that can have a significant competitive advantage.

Now, it’s all about the “H” in HR – our humanity. That’s why I call this the “human decade.” And, to that end, why my SHRM talk focused on how the power of thanks, combined with technology, advances human truths. Indeed, there are 5 human truths at work.

Human Truth #1 – We seek meaning, purpose and basic needs.

Looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, compensation only satisfies the most basic of needs. In the average company today, the way people are compensated has very little to do with great performance. The good news is you don’t have to spend more money to get great performance; you just have to redirect some of what you’re currently spending. The social technology revolution – and it’s a genuine revolution – is empowering HR and executives to create and maintain a unique culture.

The revolution, which means a turning around of the status quo – means that humans are no longer going to change to fit business requirements, but instead business is going to prosper by more carefully harnessing human nature. The top two-thirds of Maslow’s Hierarchy are needs that can only be met by authentic human interaction – shared values, shared esteem, recognition and appreciation.

One of the most powerful methods of conveying meaning and purpose is through recognition and appreciation. And yet, a recent Harvard Business Review report showed recognition is the number one issue preventing effective leadership. That’s the power of social recognition to reinforce your company values, broadcast your culture, empower and strengthen relationships, and energize and inspire all employees.

Human Truth #2 – We enjoy telling and hearing our success stories.

Our brains are wired for stories. We remember stories far better than we remember facts and stats. Effective storytelling at work relies on being real, being positive, celebrating each other, and showing growth. Clear, descriptive, detailed messages of appreciation that tell the story of how others contributed, helped and achieved success build deeper relationships and heighten our sense of meaning and purpose.

Human Truth #3 – We want to be inspired at our service anniversaries.

Nearly every company offers some form of acknowledgment of major milestone service anniversaries for employees. Yet 31% rate their years of service programs as fair or poor (according to the recently released 2015 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey). Too many think of these programs as merely “thank you for not quitting programs.” And that’s largely because the most critical element of a celebration such as this missing. That element is the people. Ideally, milestone anniversary celebrations should highlight previous recognition moments and mobilize one’s community of colleagues to celebrate.

Human Truth #4 – We crave a more complete view of our performance.

“I can’t wait until my performance review with my manager,” said no one, ever. Search twitter for “Performance Review” and you’ll get comments like “Feeling completely dejected and destroyed after the performance review I received from the central office. #killmeknow” and “’Errors and Lies’ is trending on Twitter right now which is pretty much what my last job performance review was.”

Performance reviews as traditionally applied fail for several reasons – they are awkward, infrequent, and rely on a single point of failure. “Innovations” in this area in the last decade have largely taken the same process and applied new technology, computerizing and exhaustive form. Crowdsourcing performance through peer recognition gives another level of insight for managers for a far more meaningful, helpful and real appraisal process.

Human Truth #5 – Everyone seeks a more human workplace.  

A fundamental aspect of being a human being is the need for companionship, friendship, relationships – connections with others. For the longest time, we ignored this truth in the workplace, to our detriment.

Our Fall 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker revealed several expectations and needs from employees regarding the nature of relationships at work. 89% of workers say relationships matter to the quality of life. And those with more friends at work are also more likely to love and have pride in their companies, are 2 times more likely to trust leadership, are more engaged, and far less likely to jump ship.

Applying the 5 Human Truths in Your Workplace

So, what can you do to make your workplaces more human? First and foremost, always remember that the opposite of saying “thanks” is to make no acknowledgment of others at all. With that in mind, you can:

  1. Notice and appreciate the great work happening around you every day
  2. Lead by example
  3. Be the catalyst for change at your organization
  4. Be the steward for a more human workplace

You don’t need to be in a position of formal leadership to create a more human workplace. You can begin in your cube, on your manufacturing line, in your vehicle – wherever you work, you can be more human towards others.

Let’s Work Human together.

What aspects of inhumanity or humanity do you see in your workplace?


How to Succeed in the Human Economy

by Lynette Silva

Help someone out - show your humanityRecognize This! – Our work is no longer about what we do or what we make, it’s about who we serve and how we behave.

This week was a week of meetings. Usually that’s a groan-inducing phrase for many employees across the world, but these meetings were with the strategy and consulting team. That means we dealt with the “big picture,” diving into good, meaty discussions that often verge into the philosophical as well as the practical. I enjoy them immensely, primarily because of the people in the meeting. These are the colleagues I have the opportunity to work with most closely day-in and day-out, and that is a rare privilege.

During one of our more philosophical moments, Derek Irvine (our chief blogger here on Recognize This! as well as the head of our strategy and consulting group) began to discuss what truly sets us apart. It’s not just what we offer to the market (social recognition solutions) or the way in which we deliver it (world-leading SaaS technology). No, it’s far more than that. It’s the people across Globoforce who engage deeply with our customer partners, often to the extent our customers refer to our relationship as “family.”

Derek went further to describe this as the human factor. That’s what we bring most – our humanity, our fundamental understanding of the needs of employees as not just workers, but also as friends and colleagues, and as people with rich lives outside the workplace. This brought to mind an article by Dov Seidman I read recently in Harvard Business Review.

“Over the course of the 20th century, the mature economies of the world evolved from being industrial economies to knowledge economies. Now we are at another watershed moment, transitioning to human economies—and the shift has profound implications for management.

“What do I mean by the human economy? Economies get labeled according to the work people predominately do in them. The industrial economy replaced the agrarian economy when people left farms for factories; then the knowledge economy pulled them from factories to office buildings. When that happened, the way workers added value changed, too. Instead of leveraging their brawn, companies capitalized on their brains. No longer hired hands, they were hired heads.

“In the human economy, the most valuable workers will be hired hearts. The know-how and analytic skills that made them indispensable in the knowledge economy no longer give them an advantage over increasingly intelligent machines. But they will still bring to their work essential traits that can’t be and won’t be programmed into software, like creativity, passion, character, and collaborative spirit—their humanity, in other words. The ability to leverage these strengths will be the source of one organization’s superiority over another.”

I believe this to be true. We’re already seeing the human economy at work all around us. So the question becomes, how do I encourage “humanity” among all employees? How do I reinforce these now-primary desired behaviors for humanity? What attributes do I look for in others to contribute well in this new economy?

This is where the fundamentals of humanity come into play:

We owe it to each other – we owe it to ourselves – to truly acknowledge the people around us. In the end, it’s the way we will now measure success.

What other attributes of humanity do you see at play at work or elsewhere around you?