December 10 is Human Rights Day.
This is a huge deal and might be bigger than you can really imagine for your workplace. Even so, I’m going to ask you to take a few minutes and reflect on how Human Rights shows up every day at work.
At C-Change Learning & Development, we believe this looks like creating human centric workplaces that encourage employees to create, succeed, and thrive. These workplaces value and respect the individuality of their people, and support employees through effective communication, nurturing individual expression and team cohesion, and above all else, recognize their employees as humans; unique, creative, and valued.
Well, that’s all very grand, isn’t it? And how does it look in real life?
Exercising RESPECT for those people you work with encompasses 7 different aspects:
Relationships—Success in business begins with success in the employee-manager relationship, which begins with communication. One of the best ways to improve communication in your workplace is with regular, frequent, and consistent one-on-one conversations between manager and report.
Empathy—Companies and their managers may think they care, they may even advertise how they care in job postings, etc., but their actions belie their words. Companies care a great deal about profit and revenue growth, but not so much about employees. To be empathetic, managers must look beyond their tasks and deadlines and see the bigger workplace picture, which is filled with humans at work.
Support—Leaders need to support their people and be a role model for supportive behaviour and civility. In a world full of problems borne from lack of empathy (racism, misogyny, discrimination, distrust, intolerance), employees are craving the support of those for whom they work.
Promotion—Helping employees develop their skills and move forward in their careers is an important part of being a manager. It’s also an important part of being human. It’s natural for employees to want to learn, grow, and advance in their careers. And it’s a real shame if they have to leave their organizations to get these opportunities.
Empowerment—Managers tell me the reason they don’t coach or have regular one on one conversations is time. But the very best way to gain some time is to draw on the talents of the people on the team who are, in fact, hired to do that work. Empowerment is the practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems. In other words, to make the lives of their managers easier.
Consideration—People are more likely to put in their best efforts for managers when they act positively toward them, including being considerate. Considerate people take time to understand the people they work with and to value what they bring to the table.
Trust—People want to be trusted by their managers, and they want to be able to trust their managers. In a high trust environment, great work can be done. In a low-trust environment, people watch their backs and hesitate to take risks and be creative. In an environment of trust, employees and their managers can thrive, feel free to be themselves, and do their best work.
If you were to reflect on these 7 traits, you can imagine how they would impact the more macro world view of human rights. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, points out the threats to humanity in today’s global social, political, and environmental climates and challenges us to put human rights at the centre of what we do.
We can make a huge impact by making our workplaces supportive, inclusive, peaceful, fair, and great places to be. The ripple effect could be enormous!
The end of the year provides us with the chance to reflect on what went well, and what we could improve on over the last 12 months. As you go into the new year, keep the lessons you’ve learned close and consider the power you have to improve human rights at your workplace. It all begins with RESPECT.
Laura Sukorokoff is the owner of C-Change Learning and Development. She is also passionate about bringing humanity to the workplace, and knows managers are the best route to making this happen.
Speak to Laura about soft skills training for your management team.