Welcome to the Love in Action Podcast, and we’re launching today with someone I deeply admire: Erica Keswin, the author of “Bring Your Human to Work.” Join us as we talk about the book, and dive deep into real-life examples of designing workplaces that are good for people, great for business, and just might change the world.
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The Big Idea
When people ask Erica what it means to bring your human to work, she boils it down to this one phrase: honoring relationships. So, the big idea behind the book is that we need to be intentional in honoring these relationships — with our colleagues, with our boss, with ourselves — otherwise, it’s not going to happen. When we invest time to make connections, the science shows that it’s good for us as people, it’s good for business, and it’s good for the world.
Erica shares stories of what inspired her to write the book, which drove her to say: I want to look at this in a deeper way and provide a roadmap for leaders. We need strategies and protocols to create a more human workplace for ourselves and for our team.
Be Real: Speak in a Human Voice
If you’re going to start anywhere, Erica recommends starting with Chapter 1, which is the first chapter for a reason. Chapter 1 is divided into three sections: 1) Know your values. 2) Think about communication on a continuum from instant messaging on one end, to picking up the phone, to connecting with people face to face. 3) Empowering people to live the values.
Living the values: Jet Gray
During their employee orientation, JetBlue tells their new hires: Life is not always black and white. It’s often gray, especially when you’re 37,000 feet above ground. They put the idea of Jet Gray into their employee handbook, saying that they trust and are empowering their employees to live the values.
Living the values: Lyft
One of Lyft’s values is to “uplift others.” Erica shares the story of a Lyft driver who, on Valentine’s Day, pulled the car over to console a weeping passenger for fifteen minutes. A few weeks later, the CEO of Lyft received an email saying that that driver potentially saved her friend’s life because she was depressed and contemplating suicide, but connecting with her in that way kept her alive.
Once a month, Lyft shares stories like these to all its employees at their all-hands meetings, so they have the opportunity to become uplifted.
Living the values: Away
The luggage company Away is so focused on culture that they have a Slack channel called #teamlove. They tell people that whenever they see someone living out the values to please share the story in the channel. What that does is create a living repository of all these examples of what it means to live the values and be part of the culture, which is a gold mine for things like hiring and onboarding new people. It’s a very quick way to bring them up to speed on what it looks and feels like — and it costs nothing!
Pause and match your message to the medium. Are you running 10 minutes late for lunch? Great, send a text. But do you have an employee who seems off? Or a client who isn’t returning your calls? A family member where you get the feeling that something is going on? Think about the best ways to move your communication goals forward. Don’t default to the tech end of the spectrum.