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Making Work More Human in 2018

Photo by rawpixel (570904) on Unsplash

Last week, I had a nice conversation with my one-over leader about the hot topic of human-centered work cultures and how it relates to our roles in Talent Management. What is a “human-centered” work culture you ask? In simple terms, it’s a place where people bring their whole self to work and not separate “work” from “personal” life.

In today’s world of business, we are expected to achieve more, be accessible on and off the clock, and produce constantly. Therefore, if we spend a great deal of time and mental energy around work activities, shouldn’t it be more than just a place where we get stuff done?

Forward thinking organizations are utilizing their HR departments to shift the focus from managing people and policies to redesigning an energizing environment where individuals come together to create, catalyze, and share to reach both professional and personal goals. Rethinking culture as a place to share time and space to celebrate life events at work. Say ‘bye-bye’ to the days of work-life balance and ‘hello’ to work-life integration.

So ipso facto, human-centered work culture is a shift from people and policy management to culture redesign where all aspects of an organization’s culture is being revamped to propel greater business results while generating more humanity to people’s experience at work.

What makes a workplace human?

I’ve read a ton of research reports and the big recurring themes that drive a human-centered experience at work are engagement, empowerment, and fulfillment. I have plenty to say about this but we’ll come back to these themes another day.

After my initial feelings of anxiety of my team being the culprits of this tall order, my thoughts went to the difficulty in cultivating a human-centered culture in my organization because I think there is a major component missing. The department where I work, Talent Management, is housed under the HR umbrella and a cultural shift doesn’t happen in HR. Maybe it does in other places, but my organization is top-down therefore major shifts must start at the top. Ideally, we need a function that is separately housed outside of HR with a Chief Learning Officer (CLO) who has a seat at the table with our executive team. To accomplish and achieve what we would like in Talent Management and to change the culture of learning, development, performance, and life for over 18,000 employees, we need a Chief who is sitting at the table with the big dogs advocating for these thoughts, ideas, and strategies and can help shape them into action.

In April, I am attending the WorkHuman Conference in Austin, Texas powered by Globoforce, a social recognition company. I got hooked up with two representatives from Globoforce while researching and downloading white papers around engagement a year ago. After continuing communication, I learned about the conference and was able to get my CHRO and our two AVPS of Talent Management on board and I was also invited to attend. I am thrilled at the lineup of speakers and topics. To name a few Brene Brown, Dr. David Rock of the Neuroleadership Institute, Simon Sinek, the Mike Elliott of Jetblue, Amal Clooney, and Ashley Judd. See the full list of speakers here.

I know my brain will be exploding with ideas to bring back to the organization after the conference. I am hopeful that there will be plenty of insight around designing a more human-centered workforce that can help steer companies like the one I work for in the direction that will help us grow and retain.

What are your thoughts on human-centered cultures?

In what ways are you making your workplace more human-centered?

What are your organizational challenges or barriers in making work more human?

Please share!