Do you want your employees to feel comfortable, accepted, and included in their workplace? If you do, you should know that human-centric cultures aim to create a better workplace, increase employee engagement and reduce attrition.
A human-centric approach results in a continuous effort to deploy people-focused initiatives. These should include all demographics and span all areas of your business.
When discussing strategies focused on people’s development and well-being, leaders must understand that there is no one-size-fits-all. These should include all demographics and span all areas of your business.
When discussing strategies focused on people’s development and well-being, leaders must understand that there is no one-size-fits-all.
Our experience has taught us that one key element for people to stay in the same organization and thrive in their work is developing a people-focused culture. Creating a people-first culture requires continuous effort and concerted intention.
Adopting this approach will allow you to focus on humans instead of demographics. Unique backgrounds and experiences influence employees’ perceptions of acceptance and inclusion within their workplace.
Asking employees throughout your organization to contribute to achieving the company’s vision and goals will yield more diverse, rich results.
Check out the following strategies to embrace a human-centric culture and achieve high employee engagement.
1. Be approachable and embrace the diversity of thought
When leaders model valuable human-centric cultures principles, employees tend to follow. They perceive those behaviors as part of the company’s DNA. To be perceived as more approachable, leaders must sharpen their ability to receive and apply feedback.
Leaders should also model providing thoughtful, constructive, and actionable feedback. To embrace diversity of thought, leaders must make an effort to seek input from a varied pool of people.
Embracing diversity of thought, though beneficial, will often require more effort. In my job as a consultant, I work hard to consider who will be affected by my work internally (within the organization) and externally.
I must structure space and time to gather feedback from people with different personalities, backgrounds, and perspectives. In most cases, incorporating feedback makes our output way more interesting than our original concept. This also helps to address potential problems and pitfalls.
2. A human-centered culture requires developing and embracing emotional intelligence
Nurturing a human-centric environment at work requires a non-negotiable skill: emotional intelligence.
Not all employees are comfortable providing feedback.
When we apply social awareness – one of the pillars of emotional intelligence – we can better understand an individual, team, and organization’s comfort levels regarding feedback.
This understanding helps us provide psychologically safe environments and spaces for these exchanges to occur.
Self-awareness and self-management skills help leaders build the trust that is key to developing healthy workplaces and organizational cultures.
My result-driven mindset is not always compatible with psychological safety. I have had to work on strengthening my self-awareness and self-management abilities.
Sometimes I get stressed and turn into my “driver-mode” personality. My driver-mode personality is a coping mechanism that helps me deal with stressful situations, such as missing a deadline or facing a problem. Though helpful, it can also put me at risk of missing important topics, questions, or feedback from my team members.
That’s when emotional intelligence comes in handy. I have learned to use self-awareness to identify stress and anxiety and to use self-management to refocus my behavior.
3. To Get a Human-Centric Culture, Make It a Habit
Feedback is a gift, and practice makes perfect. Do not wait until a crisis is near to ask for feedback and ideas.
Start developing a people-focused company culture today and make feedback part of everyday activities. Employee feedback and ideas can result in game-changing improvements that impact all areas of your business, from profitability to employee engagement.
Google, for example, has developed employee enablement programs with baked-in tactics to provide psychological safety. Programs like “Go/Say Something” are an avenue for any googler to anonymously. share things that they have heard other colleagues say.
They also developed a program called “GThanks”. This program is a peer-to-peer award and recognition system that is not based on success or failure but on what was learned while trying.
Last but not least important, Google created the “20% project,” which allows employees to submit ideas to a committee for funding.
The idea does not have to be associated with your current role; if you get funded, you can dedicate up to 20% of your time to executing the project. Relying on self-will and great leaders is a proven tactic, but adding programs and structure to the equation is an excellent way for structured, proactive, continuous improvement and innovation.
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all. Define specific dates, times, and places to gather feedback. Praise individuals for providing feedback and help them become better at it.
A genuinely human-centered culture creates a space for all employees to contribute to creating better workplaces (that embrace diversity, equity & inclusion) and building better companies.
For a human-centric culture to be successful, leaders and team members must invest time in developing their emotional intelligence. A 1-hour training on “human-centric values and behaviors” or “foundations on emotional intelligence” is not enough, but it can be a good starting point.
Leaders and team members need to apply human-centric behaviors continuously. Software and programs that force these behaviors are a great way to support leadership in their goal of creating human-centric cultures.
Our team continuously researches topics related to creating a better workplace.
We invite you to share your thoughts, ideas, and interests with us as we identify our topics for ongoing experimentation and development to help our clients build better businesses and workplaces!