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I Dare You to Make Work More Human

by Traci Pesch

Recognize This! – Regardless of role or level, we are all responsible for making work more human for ourselves and our colleagues.

"We make work more human.”

What’s your reaction to that statement? Do you cheer along in belief we can and are doing just that? Or do you scoff, saying to yourself, “This is business. We’re here to make money, not happy employees.”?

My position is simple. Not only can we make work more human, we must make work more human. In honor of the life that was legend, Muhammad Ali, I support his statement, “Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare.”

To those who say human workplaces are an impossibility, I say, “I take that dare.” Even better, in the words of my son, “I double-dog dare you to make work more human.” Because we all own the responsibility of working human. Regardless of the level or role we play in a workplace, each of us can make the choice to be kinder instead of impatient, to be more appreciative instead of more demanding, to lend a hand instead of demanding help, to pass the praise instead of passing the buck.

That’s the goal of the WorkHuman movement. To collaborate to ferret out the incivility and inhumanity that’s become common in work today and replace it with an acknowledgment that we are all human. We are not cogs in a machine. We all have more of our human selves we could offer if only our entire humanity was welcome at work.

How do we start? Leaders certainly bear significant responsibility. In fact, research shows that when employees believe their leaders care about creating a more human workplace, they are more motivated to work hard for the organization and colleagues and they are able to find a solution for any challenge. Managers of people are responsible for ensuring their employees feel as though work-life balance isn’t something to be achieved, but a natural blending. (Of course going to your child’s soccer game is important!) Individual contributors are responsible for caring for the humanity of their peers and colleagues, for looking out for each other, encouraging each other, helping each other. Everyone is responsible for recognizing and rewarding the work achievements of those around them. Let’s do it the Muhammad Ali way: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

How can you make your work more human? What can you try today?