Treat your people like human beings, not human resources

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How can we get out of the crisis and move forward?

As many countries are slowly coming out of lockdown, your business needs to prepare for the future. You need to put continuity at the forefront of what you do and people in the centre of how you do it.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been releasing a blog and video series about how to transform your organisation into self-managing teams to be able to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

But there is also a ton of other research out there that will help you get on board of treating your people more like human beings and not human resources.

The 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends reveal some interesting thoughts, for example that it is called ‘Human Capital Trends’, not ‘Human Being Trends’. They also make it clear that “organizations that embrace a new set of attributes anchored in purpose, potential, and perspective can create lasting value for themselves, their workforce, and society at large.”

Human resource employee looking at people data of his company.

Make connections with people

In general, it highlights the importance of making connections with people (at work) and belonging to a bigger cause or purpose. That’s something that has been part of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs since the 1940s. Having a purpose that unites employees with their employer and serves as a moral compass in good and bad times will help your business survive and thrive in changes. Because the relationships with your people are your company’s most important asset.

Having genuine connections with people and a clear purpose engages people and teams more. It helps build a workplace culture that promotes mutual respect, trust and consideration for each other’s needs. Throughout the crisis that so far took over the first half of 2020, many of us needed more than just financial help. It brought to light all the more the importance of well-being and work-life-integration.

People will remember how you treated them during times of stress

At the end of 2019, I was part of a panel of people, HR and future-of-work experts. We tried to predict what the World of Work in 2020 would look like. Of course, none of us predicted a global pandemic. But most of what we mentioned still stands, specifically the needs of future generations of employees. They are more flexible, tech-savvy and independent. They won’t be doing well in an environment where they are micromanaged and pushed to be productive for 8 hours straight between 9am and 5pm. Due to recent events, we took part in a livestream to update our predictions. Now, at least for a little while, employers will have the upper hand in selecting their talent. But, people will remember how companies treated their employees during times of stress. The tables will turn, and we will get to ask future employers why we should work for them.

The human approach to recruit and retain talent

In 2018 and 2019, over 90% of UK companies struggled to retain and recruit talent. They had massive skills gaps they could not fill. These gaps will not be filled unless training is seen as more urgent, important and serious. You need to understand that providing opportunities to develop are a huge factor in deciding whether or not an employee wants to stay with you or not. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on the latest e-Learning craze or lengthy workshops. Most knowledge that your people need already sits with someone in your organisation. You need to set up a system to curate that information and connect people to share it with each other.

The same goes for offering rewards or benefits. Cycle-to-work and subsidised gym memberships are every HR department’s dream, but they are only a quick fix. People also get used to them and rather them being an added benefit, they will simply be expected by new employees. What’s much better is providing your teams with a more human approach to the way you treat them: most importantly that you trust them to do a good job. You employed them for a reason, and most of them studied and trained for the position they are in, so naturally they will strive to deliver good quality work. Give them more flexibility as to where, when and maybe even who they work with. As outlined further up, this will help them with their work-life-integration, boosts well-being and accommodates future workforce generations.

So, hop on and enjoy the ride to the future of work. Don’t miss this opportunity, or the next big thing that comes along might mean more disturbance still.

Find out more how to achieve the human approach.

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