‘Human-friendly’ organizations will thrive in the digital age

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Automation and intelligent machines are an increasing presence in the workplace, yet organizations still need humans as much as ever to engage with customers, make business decisions, manage supply chains, do community outreach, and more.

Indeed, there is a growing awareness in the enterprise world that successful organizations must strive to be as “human-friendly” as possible, and not just in case the whole machine thing doesn’t work out. Rather, it benefits enterprises when humans can work effectively with machines. Thus it makes sense for organizations to focus on improving what workplace culture expert Bruce Daisley, a vice president at Twitter, calls the “human experience.”

As Ashleigh Webber writes in Personnel Today, Daisley, while at an employee benefits conference in London, offered several ways to bring “joy” back into employees’ work.

“When we’re thinking about the future of work, we need to think about how we bring the humanity back into our jobs,” Daisley said. “If we treat improving work as an exercise in improving humanity, the human experience, I think we’re probably more likely to achieve a great outcome.”

Daisley suggested enterprise leaders should be more aware of fatigue and mental burnout when scheduling workdays. Back-to-back meetings, for example, can be counter-productive. He also advised enterprises to make an effort to stay connected on a human and work level with remote workers, who are particularly vulnerable to feeling isolated.

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University also has given some thought to making workplaces human-friendly. In an interview with writer Samantha Eyler-Driscoll, Adam Waytz, an assistant professor of management and organizations at Kellogg, urges companies to ensure workers find their jobs stimulating and meaningful.

One way to do this is by expanding “the array of tasks people do and the skills they are encouraged to flex,” Eyler-Driscoll writes. “Another human quality worth doubling down on is sociability, or fostering connections among people.”

As Waytz tells her, “Robots have not caught up with us yet on social intelligence, empathy, or the ability and willingness of people to interact and understand each other.”

The lesson here is that enterprises will continue to rely on humans to get things done, so it’s best to create an environment in which workers feel motivated, appreciated, and gratified. In return, they’re likely to get loyal, hard-working, and productive team members.

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