We need a Human Understanding department

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

At the onset we need to call out a couple of things that have been making us uncomfortable; the word resources and the term CV. Let us elaborate.

Do your parents consider you a resource?

Do your friends consider you a resource?

They consider you an actual person, someone with abilities and flaws. Someone with strengths and weaknesses. Someone with actual emotions.

When you treat people like resources, what you’re telling them is this – you’re not important to us, how much work you can do for us for the least amount of money is what we’re after. People are almost treated like a bargain at a sale.

When you treat people like resources, they are afraid to bring their emotions to work as they are scared of their vulnerabilities being exposed. And if they’re exposed, they lose their place. If they’re having a personal issue, it remains bottled up. If they’re facing a challenge, they don’t ask for help. And when someone else who is cheaper comes along, they are shunned.

Toxic environments are simply a byproduct of how people are treated. It isn’t as if these places are injecting poisonous gases into the office that are choking people.

But what changes when you treat people like people? Well, almost everything.

This is better explained with a short story:

A traveler came upon three men working. He asked the first man what he was doing and the man said he was laying bricks. He asked the second man the same question and he said he was putting up a wall. When he got to the third man and asked him what he was doing he said he was building a cathedral.

They were all doing the same thing. The first man had a job. The second man had a career. The third man had a calling.

Terms like passion and calling are larger than life. And while they have been used to motivate people, frankly, they are a bit esoteric. Not all of us have found our passion. Or our calling. But if we give our best to the work that we are doing, that too counts as passion. A calling isn’t something reserved for a select few, the geniuses and the prodigies.

When you stop treating people like resources, like cogs in a machinery that can be replaced at a moment’s notice, they bring their authentic selves to the table. This means they aren’t scared of sharing their fears or new ideas as they don’t fear being belittled. They have each other’s back as we could all do with a hand over our shoulder from time to time.

But how do we stop hiring resources and start hiring people?

Here’s where we come to the second part of the issue – hiring based on CVs.

A CV is simply this – it tells people where you have studied, your qualifications, your experiences and a sugar coated version of what you are seeking in this new role.

‘I am seeking challenges to grow and expand’

‘I can work with teams to get the best out of them’

Here’s what a CV doesn’t tell people:

a) The times you failed and fell flat on your face
b) The things that you fear
c) Your disappointments
d) Your inter-personal skills

Now you see where the resource mentality comes from? What if you want to explore something new, try something different? What if you want to face a fear? What if dealing with people doesn’t come easily to you?

A CV is important, but for all purposes, it’s history. It tells us where you have been, not where you want to go. It tells us what you have done, not the infinite potential that resides inside of you. It tells us you were a good student, but not if you’re a good learner and observer.

When you understand people, their stories and their aspirations, everything changes. When you don’t treat them as a resource and look at their CV as a stepping stone, not something that is cast in stone, you open the door to help them not just explore their potential, but you will hire someone who elevates your organization and everything around them.

But if you’re comfortable with mediocrity, treat people as resources and hire based on their CVs.

3 comments

  1. Great article. I’ve been working as a software engineer for the past three years. I have often felt the same things you have written here. When you allow people to be real, they give you the best. If you want robots, you get mediocrity.

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