As HR professionals, we play a critical role in shaping the work experiences of employees and building cultures that foster success and well-being. One approach that can help us in this mission is to focus on human-centered work.
What is human-centered work, and why is it important?
At its core, human-centered work is work that puts the needs and well-being of people at the center of its focus. It recognizes that work is not just a means of income generation, but also a means for personal growth, self-expression, and enjoyment. It understands that work can provide opportunities for learning, perspective, self-affirmation, and making a positive impact on the world.
Being human-centered work is about more than just personal growth
It also recognizes the importance of productivity and efficiency, but understands that traditional ways we work may not always be the most effective or sustainable. For example, the traditional model of working long hours and sacrificing personal time that could be enjoyed with our families for the sake of productivity is not sustainable in the long term, and can lead to burnout and reduced productivity. Instead, human-centered work seeks to find ways to increase productivity while also supporting the well-being and happiness of employees.
Adopt human-centered methods and technologies
One way to do this is by adopting new productivity methods and technologies. Technology gives us unprecedented leverage, but it is only useful if it is surrounded by the right rules, mental models, policies and procedures, habits, and paradigms. Adopting new technologies can be challenging, as it requires change and can evoke fear, anxiety, overwhelm, and resistance.
However, with the right guidance and support, employees can learn to embrace change and find new ways of working that are more efficient and effective. Take, for example, AI tools like ChatGPT which has been trending since it came out last month. It uses technologies trained on a vast amount of knowledge, and is able to have a dialogue with you and even act as your personal assistant, editor, writer, and can be used to improve your own productivity as an extension of your own capabilities, done right. The following is an example prompt and response:
Overall, in this example of using AI and technology to boost productivity, ChatGPT can help the HR manager streamline their internal communications about the benefits change and reduce the time they spend answering questions and sending updates. This will allow them to be more productive and focus on other important tasks.
Meaningful Work Matters
As HR professionals, it is our responsibility to help employees understand themselves, their values, and their goals, and to guide them in finding work that is meaningful and fulfilling for them. This requires building cultures that support personal growth and development, and providing employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed. It also requires creating a sense of community and connection among employees, and fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration.
Being Human-Centered Applies to both Employees & Customers
In addition to these internal factors, HR professionals also need to consider the external context in which work takes place. This includes understanding the needs and expectations of customers and clients, as well as the impact of work on the broader community and society. By taking a holistic approach to work, HR professionals can help employees find purpose and meaning in their work, and contribute to the greater good.
In conclusion, human-centered work is a vital concept for HR professionals to consider as we strive to create cultures that support the success and well-being of employees. By focusing on personal growth, productivity, and a holistic approach to work, we can help employees find meaning and fulfillment in their work and contribute to a more peaceful and just society. So, it is very important for HR professionals to understand the concept of human-centered work and how to implement it in their organization.