Last week, I presented a survey and asked the question, what would a human centered organization look like? The responses poured in, and with no surprise, they ideas and insights were chillingly powerful. For me, the responses validated that creating meaningful work where people are authentically engaged is actually quite simple. Because we all really want the same things: to be valued, to feel cared for, and to have our humanity honored and included when designing how work can be done.
As I read through the survey results, the relief was palpable in each answer. I could feel the respondents’ joy and inspiration after they imagined a more human work place. Of course, I couldn’t help but think what emotions would be present if these answers weren’t just being imagined, but actually happening.
I’d like to share a few responses that really resonated with me in hopes they’ll spark some curiosity in you!
What rules of business would you like to see disrupted or changed?
“That constant growth is the only measure of success. What if a business was just “big enough?” That all success is ruled by the almighty dollar.”
“The unwillingness to look beyond current practices for “out of the box” solutions, and/or the unwillingness to move out of current practices to meet the needs/requests of staff.”
“Requirements about the when and the where of work.”
“People work best in different ways and different environments. There is no one size fits all. And the whole idea of “work from work” is outdated.”
What would a human centered organization look like to you?
“One that recognizes and embraces the personality differences in their human capital. One that intentionally utilizes employee skills and talents wisely.”
“People truly listening to each other, helping each other see the truth of the moment and the possibilities available, truly connecting and acknowledging the whole of each other…people playing and exploring and creating, and thus getting stuff done, collaboratively…leaders being vulnerable and imperfect and amazing and abundant…”
“Flexibility in schedule, assignments and duties, and deadlines. A comprehensive and affordable benefits package. Competitive pay. And a working environment that allows for coworkers to be friends while still being productive. High levels of trust between all levels of the organization with open communication and allowing employees to do their jobs. Empowering others both in work and private lives.”
“Flexible for family situations. Understanding that sometimes you have off days and need time away without guilt. Autonomy to work when and how you need to.”
What would be possible if more companies were built not just for the bottom line, but for the people who create them?
“Abundance. Beauty. Joy. Connection. Our efforts would be of benefit to all beings. Our actions would make a difference in the world.”
“I can’t even describe it. It would be so beautiful and meaningful and beyond what you ever thought your organization could achieve.”
“Oh my! This would have amazing results. You would have a workforce that feels so valued that their loyalty and work ethic would be out of this world! The bottom line would improve as a result of this, not just because that was the focus of the company. Not only the company, but the community would have kinder, more caring people.”
“Businesses would contribute to wellbeing rather than take it down. We might actually reach a state of abundance rather than being limited by our assumption of scarcity.”
When I reread these, I continue to make connections to leadership and how the foundation of making work more human focused is evolving what leadership looks like. Leadership isn’t a role. It’s an act of courage. It’s challenging the status quo. I look forward to the day when caring for our fellow humans in our organizations doesn’t feel like an act of courage.