This week, I had the enormous privilege of attending #workhuman. If you’ve never heard of Workhuman, where have you been? Remove yourself from under that comfy rock, and let me share all my learnin’, y’all. (Workhuman was in Nashville this year, and now, my drawl game is strong.)
Workhuman, formerly Globoforce, is a social recognition and continuous performance management platform that can integrate with lots of different HCMs to improve how your people see and interact with each other. Workhuman does a ton of research on the impact of social recognition on inclusion, gender, race, wellness, and performance issues that will make your jaw drop. They’ve come up with ways to inform, but not criticize, how we use language from a gendered and racial perspective when giving recognition or feedback based on the data they have collected from millions of interactions. It is this research informs how they do business. They’ve learned that being human makes workplaces better.
#workhuman is their signature conference, bringing together thousands of concerned humans for the sole purpose of trying to figure out how to make the workplace more human. The conference is all about how do we see, treat, encourage, develop, recognize, thank, and love – yes, I said love, but not in the romantic sense – the people we work with so we can all do better. This is more than just an HR conference, it is a business conference.
Here are a few of my takeaways:
We have to revel in being uncomfortable. Whether it was Brene Brown, Kat Cole, Candi Castleberry Singleton, David Lapin, or any of the other speakers, this was a powerful take away. As a society, we are at a tipping point. Our workplaces are also at this tipping point. We can’t simply put our heads down, our safety googles on, and focus on productivity goals if we’re going to be successful. If we’re going to have people in our workplaces, we need to accept and welcome them as they are. We’re going to have to talk to them about the heavy society concerns from gun safety, policy brutality, offensive tweets, gender and racial inequality, and the fear that prevents us from being our whole selves. Allianz does this, Kat Cole does this, we should all do this.
Recognition makes a difference. Data is the best. Data that shows we can make a dent in the problems that plague our workplaces is even better. The data Workhuman shared on how recognition can improve our connections at work, our engagement at work, and help plug the holes in our leaky buckets is so impressive. I want to know more. Luckily, there’s a resource page devoted to this!
Pobody’s nerfect, but we can all be resilient. If we’re going to have difficult, uncomfortable conversations at work, we’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to hear antiquated language that is now offensive. We will have to tackle our fear with a battering ram. We’re going to have to be brave and vulnerable. We’re going to have to rely on our integrity, strength, and humanity to deal with the mistakes, use them as teachable moments, and move on. I’m not saying that every mistake is just a mistake – some mistakes warrant termination – but as we encourage these conversations, forgiveness and resilience will be powerful to keep us moving forward.
Being human is hard. As a crier, I was moved to tears a couple of times – not gonna lie. It is hard to be vulnerable, willing to fail, learning from our mistakes, and sharing our failures so others can learn from them too. No one promised this life, in general or in business, was going to be easy. So, grab your friends, family, co-workers, and meet these obstacles head on.
I cannot oversell #workhuman. Every attendee self-reflects, does some mental gymnastics, and learned from this conference. Next year, Workhuman is in Denver. I hope to be there. I hope you all are too.