Last week I had the distinct pleasure of attending WorkHuman 2016, hosted by Globoforce in Orlando, FL. The conference – in its second year – was action-packed, engaging, and fun. While it was the first year for me, I certainly could tell the event has already become a well-recognized conference, drawing in industry experts, HR practitioners, non-HR contributors, outside guests, and participation from everyone involved. While there were many exciting, fun activities, speeches, and breakout sessions, I would be remiss if I didn’t address my favorite part: experiencing Michael J. Fox.
I am sure this is something that resonated with almost everyone in attendance. Fox has an aura about him that’s hard to describe until you see him present in-person. Fox is upbeat, funny, and eloquent, seemingly unfazed by the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Granted, every day with PD is different. But on that day, he was incredible. I am truly thankful I had the opportunity to hear him speak. My favorite line came near the end of his time on stage: “allow others to support you,” he said.
While almost everything he talked about, including that sentence, could apply to multiple facets of HR, work, and life, it certainly resonated with a theme I noticed throughout the event: you first. You need to be the one that let’s others in to help you with whatever is going on at that time. You need to be able realize when things are amiss or awry. You need to be able to ask for help accordingly.
I’m not talking about being selfish or ignoring others, though. I’m talking about trying to think about your emotions, personal and professional preferences, and individual needs and how they relate to the ongoing success of yourself, your team, and your company. By recognizing and explaining your needs to others — namely management, your team, and the company as a whole — you’ll have a greater chance of being successful within the business. Indeed, successful companies understand that individuals are, at their core, humans before they are employees. They are humans with emotions, and they need to be put front and center by both individuals and the employers that hire and retain them.
To help with that, companies should reframe how they perceive and address employees. They are humans and individuals first and foremost. Once your priorities have been recognized, organizations can do a lot to put the human experience front and center, from offering wellness and well-being resources, recognizing employee excellence, listening to employees’ voices and opinions, training and developing professional and personal skills, and more. Ultimately, happy, contented, and appreciated employees can do wonders for the organization, and it all starts with you.