Because it’s all about you: Why humanism will make the success of tomorrow’s organisations?
The success of companies is no longer measured only in terms of profit but also by the impact on their social and natural environment. More and more ethical funds require a certain transparency, and the humanistic dimension of a company defines its qualification even more than the ISO standard in certain sectors.
Humanism is today the essential factor in the success of companies.
So why not get started now?
Humanism a philosophy of bygone days but a necessity today
All the work on generations Y and Z highlights the fact that young employees demand real and lived socio-environmental values from their employers, to give meaning to their work and to put the human being at the centre of the activity. Humanism is therefore a necessity for companies today.
The humanist company vs. empathetic management
The humanist company is an organisation committed to respecting the well-being of its employees and the environment. Although for a long time the notion of employee well-being has focused on material and working conditions, the humanist company is concerned not to forget the relational conditions, particularly the direct hierarchical relationship, but also the values promoted and lived within the organisation and towards the stakeholders in the economic action. This so-called humanist positioning is not opposed to the intrinsic goal of the company, which is to generate profits.
Empathy applies essentially to the character of management, which will mark its organisation by its psychometric profile more than by a transformation of the organisation's relationship with its environment. Having to focus essentially on the manager, we can identify four dimensions of the empathic leader:
1. He/she values the people around him/her: by offering recognition, kindness, trust and loyalty. On a daily basis, he/she shows appreciation, interest, humility, kindness, courage, curiosity and learns from his/her mistakes and those of others. He/she always seeks to maintain a certain harmony in his/her teams.
2. He/she offers a relevant and inspiring mission and the opportunity to be part of it. He/she will ensure that the organisation has, and lives, a relevant and shared mission.
3. He/she projects optimism and confidence by ensuring the achievement of short-term success.
4. Authentic, humble and inspiring, he/she works consciously on him/herself, with coaching if necessary, and shares his/her experience.
Thus, the humanist company sets the organisation in a sustainable culture to which employees at all hierarchical levels are invited to adhere, whereas the empathetic manager will only influence by his behaviour his four dimensions and his environment.
Limits of empathy
Empathy brings people closer together but sometimes, for example when faced with manipulative behaviour, it is necessary to keep or even increase the distance, to protect oneself. The empathic manager's desire or even need for harmony can therefore lead to dysfunctions that are harmful to the organisation.
Empathy is easier towards those we like. The empathic manager will have visible preferences and his/her empathy will be more or less depending on the people he/she is dealing with. This selective empathy can lead in its most exacerbated form to a blockage of the organisation's processes.
Finally, if the empathic manager leaves the company, there is no guarantee that his/her successor will be of the same calibre.
The only way to create a corporate culture that is at peace with its environment lies in its processes and the trust it inspires.
Humanism and trust
Let's be frank: the purpose of humanism in the company is not productivity. If the idea is to make more profit, employees will not be tricked, they will consider the approach as manipulation and will not adhere to the project. On the other hand, if the aim is truly material and relational well-being with the stakeholders, productivity can result, as well as commitment and mobilisation.
Authenticity, sincerity, transparency and fairness are the social fundamentals of humanist enterprise and are the social basis of trust.
Trust can be broken down like a tree whose main branches are character and competence. Starting from the premise that a company in its trade does not need to prove its competence, then the essence of trust is built around character.
On the one hand, the intention which is demonstrated by:
• Caring: to look after the well-being of the employees and the organisation;
• Transparency: being clear about the motivation for all decisions; and
• Openness: accepting and receiving the opinions and ideas of all employees.
On the other hand, the integrity demonstrated by:
• Honesty: being honest and forthright in all interactions;
• Fairness: acting without bias, discrimination or injustice; and
• Authenticity: being consistent and sincere in word and deed.
It is by work on each of the branches of the tree in such a way as to document its action that the company will be able to enhance the trust of each stakeholder and become a humanistic organisation.
Setting up a humanistic organisation
The "why" and the "for what" of the organisation: Mission statement
A mission statement describes who you are as a company - why you exist, what you do, how and where you do it, and who your key customers are. It rarely changes unless your company adds a new business line or fundamentally changes direction.
Writing and publishing a mission statement strategically communicates the company's values to customers, employees, suppliers, vendors and partners.
Taking into account the overall socio-economic environment
• Governance: Corporate governance influences and evaluates the company's mission statement, ethics, accountability and transparency.
• Co-workers: Reflect on your action and how it affects the financial, physical, professional and social well-being of co-workers.
• Community: Try to assess the positive impact of your company on the socio-economic environment in which it operates.
• Environment: The company's overall management of the environment and how it manages general environmental impacts.
• Customers: No sustainable economic activity without taking into account the needs and feelings of customers.
Once this exercise has been carried out and the principles have been formulated, it will be necessary to keep a close eye on the actual application of the text and to formalise its continuous improvement - in the ISO sense of the term - within the organisation.
While empathy is a personal attitude towards others, humanism is a philosophy of conduct applicable to an entire organisation. While empathy can be used as a channel of communication in certain situations, humanism results in coded behaviour that allows the organisation to be transparent, caring and authentic. Humanism is the mother of ethics and the bearer of values essential to the modern organisation.