By Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Innovates (www.epinnovates.com)
Every day, business becomes more and more transactional. In a world plagued by rising cases of mental illness, lack of trust in leadership and declining workplace cultures, there is a need for businesses to refocus on some of the wider social issues at stake today and to embrace the need for a more personalised approach. We are after all, only human. The corporate world tends to focus on service delivery, great support and of course, bottom line profit. But the work environment issues run deeper than that and are far more complex.
Personalised interaction makes the difference whether that is with employees or customers. Demand for great service is at an all time high, but so is the expectation of a positive working environment, one that is socially aware and gives something back to the community. People want to feel good about themselves and their surroundings so businesses are veering towards greater levels of social compassion and general human care. Part of this is about the environment being sustainable but also promoting health and wellbeing, whether that is taking measure to address work life balance, quality of food and nutritional balance or managing team culture and embracing inclusion and diversity.
For the younger generations, it is vital that businesses start to capitalise on the plethora of talent and ambition out there. This means we need to stop ‘badging’ the millennial generation as a ‘challenge’ and start dealing with the core issues businesses now face with productivity, mental health and of course, retention and loss of employees. Employee engagement continues to dwindle while loneliness in the workplace continues to rise with many people citing that they do not have a single strong friendship at work. This in turn, impacts productivity and commitment to the employer and company.
When did people stop being people? Building friendships at work are instrumental in finding contentment and happiness in the workplace. It was the key ingredient to a happy successful workforce 20 years ago and it’s the key ingredient today. Relationships also help people to become part of stronger, more diverse cultures where they feel connected to others, part of something bigger and valued individually for their contribution. Far too many people feel disjointed or isolated from their working environment and that is not healthy on a personal level or from a working and productivity perspective.
Basic human courtesy
In a world where online, virtual conversations are becoming the norm, businesses have a duty of care and responsibility to encourage more person to person conversations because that is the only way humans can truly connect, in the real world, in-situ. It’s not uncommon for people to feel unwell or suffer from increased stress in the workplace today and this also affects sleep, wellbeing and potential mental health issues – all big contributors to loss of productivity.
So how does the workplace need to move forward today? What measures need to be addressed to reinforce the importance of people being at the heart of culture? We have to start from the most basic forms of human courtesy and consideration for others. Genuine care in general is lacking in the corporate world today and this has to change or we risk alienating future talent, who are already rising up against those who don’t have a bigger social agenda.
As human beings we have evolved but still show traits and a historic desire to for a tribal sense of belonging and this has to be replicated in the workplace too. Why? Because people want and need to feel connected to others, friendship, care, respect and a sense of community or team spirit is vital to creating a thriving culture where people can achieve and succeed.
Putting people first
We must start rethinking the way we live and work today. There is a school of thought that argues that as society in general becomes more guarded today, people are far less inclined to take risks, to make mistakes or to show their vulnerability particularly if those around them are not regarded as true friends.
Arguably, the knock-on effect for future life is that they will not enjoy intimacy and relationships to a level that past generations have, so there is also a much bigger issue at stake. We need to start putting people first again and we need a much greater emphasis on human touch. There is definitely enough love to go around in the corporate world, we just need to enable people to express themselves more freely in the workplace and to embrace the importance of friendships and relationships the all-important human interaction that connects us all together.
About EPinnovates (www.epinnovates.com)
A shop window for entrepreneurial innovation, EPinnovates has been created to showcase exciting innovations, new products, services, concepts and businesses forlarger companies to discover and explore. Designed to recognise and support the innovation that entrepreneurs and smaller businesses bring to the future economy, EPinnovates tells stories about entrepreneurs; each has a different tale, adventure and overcomes diverse obstacles, but all are looking to improve business and create value. Accessing these ideas and innovations can be difficult forbusinesses to truly discover so EPinnovates acts to bridge that gap and help to engineer the future for the better byintroducinglarger companies to entrepreneurs through the principles of trust, community and relationships.