It’s been a good week here in the mid-west. I had a great time leading a webinar earlier in the week with Globoforce. The topic was how to make our workplaces more human. Tall order, right? Well, I hope I provided many examples that HR leaders (and other leaders) can use to make small strides in this area. In case you missed it, you can listen HERE.
One of the main points I made in the webinar is that people need a workplace where there is LOVE. Not the romantic kind of love that is the nightmare of every HR pro around, the kind of love that means that you genuinely care and are concerned for your colleagues. We all have so many things going on in our busy lives that sometimes, when things are less than perfect outside of work, we can’t help but let it impact us during work. AND THAT’S NORMAL. For years, we’ve all been brainwashed that we need to leave all our troubles at the door when we come to work. We have to be strong, stay focused and produce, produce, produce. Well, no more!
One reason workplaces quickly become less human and don’t have that love and compassion is that we don’t know many of our colleagues. I was watching CBS Sunday Morning, my favorite news show, and they did a story about Freshbooks and how they are innovating in the way they encourage connection among colleagues. Freshbooks is a Toronto-based company that has instituted voluntary “employee dating” at work. This isn’t romantic dating, it’s setting people up on blind dates with colleagues for purposes of getting to know their co-workers better. You can catch the whole video HERE. Basically, employees volunteer to be matched with someone they don’t know. The woman who makes the matches tries to select people who would never normally cross paths or work on projects together. The two parties then have a “work date”.
While awkward at first, 100% of the employees who participated say they would do it again and it was worth it. They are able to learn more about what other parts of the organization are up to AND they get the benefit of making a new work connection. Think about what would happen if you tried this in your company. Would it lead to greater connection, more collaboration, more innovative ideas? I’d venture to say that it would. That’s what I call #WorkHuman in action.
So, my challenge for you as we go into this next week at work is to view your workplace through a different lens. Is it human? Do you feel real connection there? If you can’t answer yes to those, then find ONE thing you can do differently to start changing the tone. It may just be taking a stranger to lunch. I’d love to hear how it goes in the comments…