In a time when businesses run on performance statistics and data mining, Peter Hart—work recognition specialist—proposes a radically different management approach: put humans at the heart of the business.
There is a talent crisis,” Hart declares, not only is it harder to hire and retain personnel in Quebec, but also all over Canada and the United States.”
According to a survey by the WorldatWork organization, thirty-seven percent of business executives deem recruitment a major problem in the future. This might be why reward programs are popular among employees.
Hart, nevertheless, believes an employee’s desire to commit is not bought with bonuses or performance incentives. “A work culture that attracts and retains the best workers is a necessity.”
Hart wants a more humane business culture based on his co-authored book Artistes de l’humain, written with David Zinger who also advises on engaging employees.
Hart's proposed cultural change does not require a complete organizational refit. It needs to start with a change in attitude, “It could be as simple as greeting your employees when you pass by each other in the hallway. Take the time to smile and greet them.”
The book, like the title indicates, invites bosses to be inspired to open their senses through an artist’s approach—according to the five pillars: seeing, listening, talking, giving, and being kind—and to get in touch with their employees
Some of Hart's examples are watching employees progress, listening to criticism on personal management, speaking transparently about the corporate balance sheet, giving your time, caring for your employees, and so on and so forth.
“The point is to acknowledge employees not only for what they do, but also for who they are,” explains Hart, “Calling them by their names and recognizing their existence.”
The book invites people to surpass themselves as humans. Bosses are called to forge closer work relationships to “...better manage their employees and bring out the best in others.”
Confusing the icing with the cake
Hart is not proposing the elimination of reward programs implanted at the heart of corporations, far from it. He nevertheless understands that it must be taken for what it is, a cherry on the sundae or icing on the cake.
“The recognition—cake, as it were—that we communicate with employees, through gestures and words, should be an essential element in our effort. Financial rewards, such as bonuses or gift certificates, come after as the icing.”
In the eyes of Peter Hart, this is what a more humane organization resembles.