“Think of yourself as a machine within a machine.”
A piece of management advice from Ray Dalio, one of the most successful Hedge Fund Managers, it makes sense that a Hedge Fund manager would love an algorithm approach.  Dan Lyons, author of ‘Lab Rats – Why Modern Work Makes Us Miserable’  used this quote in a recent talk, to highlight, what he thinks big businesses are getting wrong about the workplace experience for employees.
In the age of the internet and AI, Lyons feels that many companies are panicking about what the future might hold and are rushing to ‘copy the disrupter’ and make their companies more automated and machine like in experience for their employees, in the hope that it will improve efficiency and productivity. In effect, trying to run humans with algorithms.  Lyons also quotes research by Executive Recruitment firm Stoneferry, when they asked 800 CEO’s of large companies to list their 5 most valuable assets that will help their companies succeed in the future ‘humans didn’t make the list’  – scary stuff!

Does thinking you’re a machine, within a machine motivate you?
Or make you want to run for the hills?!

As Lyons points out, this attitude dehumanises work, makes it unsurprising that worldwide employee engagement levels remain low, and he thinks, could have serious social consequences.
Humans can’t be programmed or re-programmed like machines. His cry is for work to become more human – and we agree! He cites examples where companies, are getting it right; Founders thinking about their companies in terms of ‘somewhere they would want to work’ and another having the mission to ‘make the world a better place for employees.’

Another great example this week is a message from an MD to his employees that went viral on LinkedIn.  In the post, Ian Sohn, President of Wunderman, talks about trusting employees to make the right choices and “never feeling horrible for being a human being.”

#beyourselfatwork is all about being human at work and bringing the best out in others.  Being self-aware, relatable to and approachable.

We know from our work and research that when you decide to #beyourselfatwork, others follow suit.  You feel happier, are generally more positive and when you are your natural self, you have the power to make a career, and even life changing impact on those working for and with you.

Research by BreatheHR, (HRMag) headlines that ”bad company culture costs UK economy alone £23.6 billion”, but also reveals the benefits of positive workplace cultures, including improved morale and relationships (cited by 44%), better customer service and satisfaction (43%), and reduced employee turnover (35%).  Research shows that training programs that address emotional well-being have a positive impact on employee health and increase workplace productivity.

Why wouldn’t any business want all this?

What about you?

What actions can you take to improve your workplace?