As tasks and job details become more based in technology, it can be challenging to cultivate a genuine human connection and foster an organizational culture that other businesses will try to emulate. Whether you’re a Marketing Agency based in London or a Silicon Valley mogul like Google, having a distinctly human element will set you apart from the rest.
What makes a workplace human and how can someone bring those practices forward to create a work environment that feeds the soul rather than drains it? Here are three ways to create a more human workplace and attract top talent.
Give Your People a Voice
One of the main reasons that so many businesses fail to cultivate a human workplace environment is that they don’t give their employees a voice within the company. Sure, they say they’ll listen to concerns and that employees have a safe place to provide feedback, but in many cases it’s more of a “we must have this” feature than a genuine offering.
People deserve to have their thoughts heard. Not all of their ideas and concerns will be able to be rectified or capitalized upon, but they should at the very least be investigated. If someone has concerns over the scheduling structure, see what you can do to make things work for them. If someone has an idea to go paperless within the office, streamlining processes, cutting costs, and adding a sense of corporate social responsibility, investigate to see if this idea is feasible. Better yet, make it a side project for the person who suggested it.
Work Hard, Play Hard
The organizational cultures that seem to have the most human vibe and web of connectivity are the ones that understand that the work yourself into an early grave mentality is for the birds. These organizations do what they can to create fun opportunities for employees to blow off steam and connect with others at work, rather than watching everyone get caught up in their own tasks.
Think of what your organization can do to help people take breaks and relax throughout the day, making time for conversation with others. Simple gestures like team lunches, company barbeques, an ice cream social, and other similar endeavors can go a long way in helping your people forge a human connection.
To fund these activities, consider starting a social committee within your organization. Collect a dollar or two from everyone each paycheck to pay for the events you wish to incorporate. A word to the wise: either make this fund a mandatory part of employment with a clause in the employee contracts or ensure that those who refuse to pay aren’t taking advantage of the activities.
Create Opportunities for Collaboration
When someone is working on a project that necessitates getting data or help from other departments, they usually send a quick email asking for the information. The other party provides the information, and that’s the end of the exchange. In some departments, like marketing, collaboration is something that happens on a daily basis. In others, people work in their own silos without ever having to interact with their coworkers.
Whenever possible, create cross-functional teams that pull people in from all areas of the business. Empower the teams to handle projects without influence from managers and the executive team, using their diverse skillset to ensure goals are met and the project is completed to fruition. There are usually many people with great potential in an organization. Yet, the way we work– facing a computer with limited face-to-face interaction– makes it so these hidden gems never get a chance to shine.
Being human is a bit of science and a bit of art. Creating a more human workplace will require some critical thinking and follow through, creating a paradigm shift in your organizational culture.