Bettering the Human Condition of Employees
A colleague recently posted a meme on social media titled: A New Way of Thinking. She depicted wellness leading into wellbeing which leads into human-being. In a comment, I challenged her step like progression.
The difference between wellness and wellbeing is truly a semantics game. There is no published model of either wellness or wellbeing which supports the argument that there is any appreciable difference between the two. If you can convince me otherwise, I will gladly buy you a Maine lobster dinner.
The debate around what it means to be a human-being has probably existed since the beginning of the homosapiens era of human development. We see it played out in the debates around nature — nurture, in the debates around humanism — existentialism — phenomenology and finally in the debate between being human versus the human as a machine. So there really is no new evolution in thinking towards the nature of what it means to be a human-being.
But I think she is onto something in the sense that the pendulum in the workplace is swinging back towards the human-being side of the equation. A refocus on humanity appears to be taking place today, especially in workplaces.
The challenge becomes how does an employer optimize this refocus on humanity? My suggestion is for employers to focus on improving the human condition of employees.
To accomplish this, I would recommend employers focus on a three component model I have adapted from the field of positive psychology. The three components are:
- Providing employees with positive, subjective workplace experiences;
- Developing and supporting the positive individual traits of employees;
- Creating and maintaining positive and supportive workplaces and work focused organizations.
As humans, mental models and their associated frameworks for implementation help us to optimize our thinking and behaviors. For mental models or paradigms such as the three component model above, to be of optimal value, the models must be tested or in other words implemented or applied.
The frameworks for scaffolding each of the model’s components remain a work in progress. What we have learned so far is that the effective and successful implementation of anyone framework fits but one organization due to the uniqueness of the organization’s culture and the uniqueness of the demographic and psychographic characteristics of the employees who work there.