As humans, creating connections and building relationships is wired into our DNA. The companies encouraging this in the workplace are the ones that retain the best talent and rise to the top.
So what can we do in the workplace to foster the things that make us most human? Erica Keswin, author of “Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World”, joined me to talk about her best-selling book and touch on just a few of the ways that leaders and HR professionals can bring more humanity into the workplace.
Know and communicate your values
By defining and clearly communicating your values, you give your company and your people a north star-a way to act, a path forward, something to measure decisions against. Keswin says, "You need to not only know your values, but align everything you do to those values and empower your employees to live them." But don't go overboard, she cautions. Three to six is the sweet spot. More than that and there are too many to drive specific behaviors (not to mention remember). She cites Lyft and their practice of sharing stories of employees living the company values, as a company that's doing it right. Not only do they uplift their people, but they have a way to show their values in action.
Leading with Sustainability
For Keswin, sustainability is about playing the long game and focusing on inclusivity, diversity, and what she calls, "intentional work practices." With millennials on their way to making up a large portion of the workforce, companies have to look ahead to stay competitive. Keswin explained to me, "The companies that don't think about and create programs and policies around flexible work, parental leave, bereavement leave, there's no way they will be able to attract and retain a diverse workforce." By thinking about humans and what they need at work, companies can create an environment where everyone thrives.
Finding the Sweet Spot with Technology
While Keswin is the first to admit there's no balance with technology, she's not here to demonize it. "We need to think about leveraging technology but then also putting it in its place." She recommends being intentional and creating organizational protocols around how, when, and where we're using technology to benefit us. She cites JetBlue and the way they use technology to automate repetitive tasks to allow employees more opportunities to be more human and interact with guests. It's protocol like this that equips people to do what they do best-make the human connections that retain employees and bring customers back for more.