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Culture Revisited: The Power of Human Factors in Work Culture

By bringing human factors to the forefront of company culture, leaders create a workplace that bolsters employees’ mental health and keeps the organization strong.

A few months ago, we dived into how a healthy work culture supports employees and business strategy. Now, we’re sharing why human factors are critical for culture and how your company can get started

What Are Human Factors?

Human factors refer to people’s psychological and physiological strengths, limitations, and needs and how they interact with the environment, business, equipment, and other job-related factors.

For example, designing an office space with an ergonomic design can help suit the needs of employees and boost their productivity. This could involve adjustable chairs or desks that offer standing or sitting options.

Supporting Company Culture

When developing and maintaining a company culture, it is critical to consider how human factors come into play. Why? Because the relationship between individuals and their work environment affects employees’ well-being.

Workforce Institute and Gallup gathered research across ten countries from 3,400 individuals and discovered that “60% of employees worldwide say their job is the biggest factor influencing their mental health.” Managers affect employees’ health as much as their spouses (69%).

Employees don’t want to come to work? Are they stressed just thinking about their job? Do they lack productivity? These kinds of issues rest on leaders. They must research what’s not working and take responsibility for the current work environment.

Human-focused leaders, on the other hand, improve their coworkers' lives by building trust and creating psychological safety.

Organization Benefits

Stressful, poor work environments aren’t just toxic for workers. They impact the entire company, going against business values and sabotaging goals.

Employees naturally work harder and increase productivity when they feel psychologically safe and appreciated. Here are other ways a human-focused culture helps your organization…

Reduces turnover. Employees who feel valued are less likely to job hunt. Less turnover saves resources, including money. Another Gallup study found focusing on recognizing employee effort and achievement reduced turnover enough to save “an already-engaged 10,000-employee company up to $16.1 million in turnover costs annually.”

Increases employee engagement. Employees are more likely to care about a business if the business cares about them. They will feel more comfortable voicing their ideas and opinions. Also, this kind of workplace aids open, strong communication in and across different departments.

Aligns culture with company values. If stated values don’t match workers’ experiences, the business comes across as disingenuous. That lowers morale and trust. Incorporating human factors into culture helps companies live up to their advertised values, many of which involve integrity, respect, accountability, and initiative.

Fosters leadership. A people-focused work culture causes leaders to develop people-focused skills. Learning how to pay attention to and fulfill the work needs of those they oversee makes managers, department heads, and CEOs better leaders.

Introducing the Human Factor

How can you strengthen human factors in company culture?

1. Lead by example. Leaders often set the stage for maintaining a strong company culture. To incorporate more human factors, leaders should focus on living the company values, prioritizing their mental health, promoting work-life balance, and modeling ideal behavior.

2. Use authentic recognition. Research shows employees who believe they receive the right amount of recognition reduce their chances of experiencing burnout by 31%. They are also 37% less likely to be looking for another job.

Have an employee recognition program for reaching work milestones and personal achievements, such as work anniversaries, completing trainings, promotions, exceeding department or personal work goals, and more. You can include some of the following in your program:

  • Awards Ceremonies

  • Gifts

  • Bonuses

  • Personal Notes

  • Public and Private Praise

Having big and small ways of recognizing individuals ensures you can incorporate recognition into the everyday culture.

3. Provide employee engagement opportunities. A Medical Group Management Association analysis and report found engagement opportunities help relieve burnout and promote well-being at work. There are many ways to do this.

  • Celebrate birthdays, holidays, and seasonal events

  • Hold social activities and games

  • Organize wellness events

  • Hire a motivational speaker

4. Encourage vulnerability and empathy. Leaders who are open and authentic about themselves and the corporation encourage that type of vulnerability from their employees. It also helps to admit mistakes, encourage feedback, and offer empathy.

You can read more about the benefits of vulnerability and empathy and how to bring them into corporate culture in our previous article.

Human-focused leaders can help keep the spark alive in every employee. And that’s powerful.



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