Have you noticed that the workplace is changing? The younger generations are changing cultures based on their personal value systems.

A people-centric culture focuses on its employees and leaders as individuals with new perspectives, wisdom and a passion to contribute.  In recruiting discussions across North America, there is a movement toward making a difference. There is an expectation of equality, inclusion, acceptance, diversity, and opportunity.

Today’s employee does not want to be treated as a tool by which a company achieves profit.

Today’s employee is more socially and environmentally aware and they want to work for an organization that is aligned with their values. They come to work with a higher purpose to accomplish something much bigger than themselves.

Organizations who want to continue to be relevant into the future have an opportunity to reinvent themselves in a meaningful way. It’s not just about making money at the expense of their employees and their families. It’s having a genuine interest in social or environmental change.

In its simplest form – it’s re-examining corporate policies and practices on harassment and bullying in the workplace. It’s ensuring true diversity – of gender, background, age, cultural or religious affiliation. It’s being curious to encourage, ask for and act on diversity of thought.

It’s living those policies. It’s immediately shutting down behaviour that is dismissive, judgemental and lacking in sensitivity and compassion for others. It’s encouraging and rewarding people for speaking up. It’s changing the conversation. It’s having a solid purpose that is so compelling that employees want to be a part of it. It’s being intentional about the type of culture they want to develop.

The successful organizations of tomorrow will find ways to better connect with their employees and leaders. They will be more sincere, genuine and heartfelt. They will acknowledge and value contribution and effort – not just results.  They will find creative ways to get work done that meets the needs of families and the workplace. They will celebrate any behaviour or activity that supports their higher purpose.

Organizations need to care more and be willing to take a stand to make meaningful change.

They can even start a movement. In October of 2017, #metoo was a new campaign that was huge and continues to grow.  #metoo refers to women who have been sexually assaulted and harassed in the workplace and have finally broken their silence.

Oprah’s acceptance speech of the Cecil B. DeMille Award at this year’s Golden Globe Awards was an emotional tribute to bringing humanity back to the workplace. I found it a very powerful message.  If you haven’t seen it yet – please take a look:

Golden Globes 2018: Watch Oprah Winfrey speak on future of women

Another incredible message is from Amy Wright who operates a coffee shop that employs dozens of people with disabilities. She won the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year award for her work and received $100,000 to grow her cause. She is an inspiring example:

CNN Hero of the Year reframes how we view disability by Melonyce McAfee

Because I personally believe that everyone matters, I found both of these messages very moving. Now it’s up to each and every one of us, to create change. We can bring humanity back into the workplace one conversation at a time, one act of genuine goodwill, speaking up for injustice and for each other.

We can encourage our workplace leaders to do a better job of becoming more people focused, aligning expectations and behaviours with our organizational purpose and treat our people with dignity and respect. That is what will make our organizations employers of choice, have employees who are more engaged and productive and ultimately attract and retain customers and profitability.