How, when and where do we learn to humanise the workplace?
In this conversational, interactive seminar Lauren Waldman, chief learning Scientist and founder of Learning Pirate, is joined by Head of Content Partnerships at Go1, David Hastings and Ed Monk CEO of the Learning and Performing Institute (LPI) in an open discussion on how, when and where we can learn to humanise the workplace in a post-pandemic world.
The session is part of a series of engaging webinars, covering a ground-breaking piece of research between Learning Pirate, Go1 and Learning and Performance Institute, which delves deep into the state of the current workplace. Through this research they were able to demonstrate that the current workforce is experiencing emotional strain like never before, and unpick the impact that strain can have on leadership who want to do their best by their teams. In this particular webinar, each panellist shares their experiences from the past two years and what they’ve learned along the way to help humanise the workplace, inviting the audience to do the same.
Each topic of discussion began with a question, inviting listeners to reflect on key factors that could contribute to better working environments, starting with what practical personal adjustments employees may have had to make during the pandemic in order to maintain productivity.
After reading out numerous answers from the chatbox, Ed Monk went on to list key steps the LPI took to humanise their workforce during the pandemic, notably calling out the benefits of implementing mental health first aid training, which created compassion and proximity between co-workers.
Lauren Waldman brought the audience closer into the fold by getting those dialled on to partake in a psychological experiment, ‘The Stroop Color and Word Test’, (SCWT), a neuropsychological test used to assess the ability to inhibit cognitive interference that occurs when you are tasked with something you are not used to - in this case, calling out the ink colour of the words on screen versus what colour the word implies. The task was not as easy as it seemed.
Lauren went on to explain the difference between stress and burnout which was well received by listeners, who pointed out they may not have been able to distinguish them. While stress is noticeable due to its physical manifestation, demonstrating hyperactivity and urgency, it is just the pathway to burnout which appears more subtly through disengagement and helplessness leading to a state of emotional and mental exhaustion.
David Hastings talked of his main learning from working in pandemic times; the importance of empathy. He explained how crucial it is to understand, and accept how others are feeling, even if it might not be how we ourselves might feel in the same situation. To him, this is the key to creating proximity and humanising the workplace.
The panel ended on yet another open question: should employers make time and space for people to learn at work? The answers were mixed with an overall conclusion that yes, employers should provide their workforce with tools to learn and the time to do so, however there should be balance and trust in the operation in order for it to be a proper success.
You may also like to read Lauren Waldman's article on how joining forces with our brains can help us to be more emotionally intelligent and empathetic in the workplace.