The future of work remains uncertain for many, yet one thing is clear: HR and business leaders must look for ways to create more human workplaces. As we continue to rely on technology to keep operations running smoothly and ensure we remain connected with colleagues, bringing more humanity to the virtual workplace is key.  

Organisations are already doing this in a multitude of ways. For some, this means becoming more cognisant of employee’s individual needs and adapting working conditions as a result, such as allowing working parents to have more flexible working hours. Other organisations are focusing on employee mental and physical wellbeing with exercise classes and mental health days. For other companies, fostering a sense of community even while employees work apart is paramount, and are connecting people through video calls, virtual hangouts and encouraging social recognition amongst peers.

HR leaders are the ones driving this change and they have been essential in adapting to the needs and desires of employees in these challenging times. Indeed, employees are realising that the world of work is evolving, and accordingly, their expectations of what they have the right to at work are changing too. As well as staple rights like the right to fair pay, employees are also starting to demand the right to belong, grow, do meaningful work, be appreciated, have work-life harmony, have privacy, feel safe and respected, and work in a place that strives to protect the environment.

But how can leaders truly prove to employees that they are committed to upholding these rights at work? For Workhuman, it’s by committing to the Charter of Workplace Rights and by becoming Workhuman Certified as a workplace or individual that champions the right for employees to be respected, seen, appreciated, and heard.

Helping to build trust and connections

HR certifications from SHRM to CIPD are invaluable for advancing careers and proving capabilities, yet they don’t always take into consideration the workforce as a whole. Workhuman Certified is different in that is tells employees that their HR leader or their organisation is truly invested in their welfare and rights.

This is no small thing, as recent research found that 88% of employees say they would prefer to work at a company that has a clear policy on employee rights. If HR and business leaders can tangibly demonstrate to employees that they are committed to hearing and acting on their concerns and desires, then trust across all business levels will thrive, leading to better engagement and productivity.

With greater trust also comes stronger connections across an organisation, as employees know that they are being heard. Connectivity is vital in today’s dispersed and virtual workplace, and bringing people together through a common goal is one of the first steps to creating a more human space.

Driving positive change

Of the nine values espoused in the Charter of Workplace rights, research found that the right to be paid fairly ranked first. Following close behind however, were rights that have only begun to gather momentum in recent years. The right to work-life harmony and the right to be appreciated for example, came in second and third in the UK and the survey also found that 82% of UK workers surveyed would prefer to work for an organisation that takes meaningful steps to protect the environment.

Times are certainly changing, and organisations must wake up to the reality that employee expectations are evolving, and in response, must promote positive change. HR and business leaders that can show employees that they are being proactive to their concerns and who aren’t afraid to be positive disruptors in the world of work, are the ones who will help drive change.

Paving the way for more human workplaces

Only 22% of respondents believe their company’s leadership cares about pressing global issues like racial injustice, human rights, and climate change, per Workhuman research. Yet 80% feel their organisation is committed to fair pay, privacy, employee rights, and safety. If leaders are to make a difference and create the human workplaces that are so essential in today’s uncertainty, then they must truly understand how their employees feel and realise that what employees conceive of as workplace rights also extends to global concerns.

Indeed, employees expect the company they work for to take a stance on workplace rights, from pay equity to belonging and sustainability, and programmes like Workhuman Certified can help leaders to demonstrate their commitment to employees that they are taking steps to future-proof their company.

Leaders must act if they are to evoke real change in their organisation. Celebrating progress and recognising changing employee expectations towards their workplace rights is the first step, while not being afraid to act on these evolutions is the next. The human workplace is here to stay, and there’s no time like the present to make that commitment.

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