Culture

What it means to respect individuality and how it can benefit the workplace

May 19, 2022
·
5
min read

“Individuality” is a term that’s thrown around a lot in the workplace. With the future of work and the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) being at the forefront for many, the individuality of employees in an organization is something that’s top-of-mind. But what does “individuality” really mean? And arguably even more important, how can we ensure that it’s more than just a buzzword in our own workplaces?

At Humi, we’re always striving to recognize the unique experiences of each one of our team members. One of the core values at Humi is to “Respect people’s individuality”, and we try to live it out every day. In this blog, we’ll flesh out what it means to Humigos to truly respect people’s individuality, look at the benefits it has, and offer a few tips to promote it in your own workplace.

Humi's core values

Humi has five core values, with one of them being “Respect people’s individuality - Every person is different. It is our responsibility to acknowledge, encourage, and empower everyone to be themselves.” To dive deeper into what this means, we’ve broken it down into three sections, taken directly from the value itself: Acknowledge, Encourage, and Empower. This is what it means to us at Humi, but these principles can be applied to any workplace.

Acknowledge

Acknowledging the differences between all of our team members is the first step. Each employee at Humi has a unique background and life of experiences that they bring to work; all of these make up the culture at Humi. We strive not only to acknowledge, but respect the differences between our people. We appreciate the value that each member brings to the Humi team through their unique perspectives.

Encourage

At Humi, we encourage our members to be themselves. We’re strengthened by the individuality of our employees and we’ll always support each other when bringing our individual selves to the table. We dare our team to think differently by embracing who they are. We reward our members for being open and using their differences to inspire creativity. 

Empower

The final part of this statement is to empower our team to be themselves. We have an open workplace at Humi – we encourage everyone to abandon the typical “work façade” and just be their true and authentic selves. We trust our people to work in a way that works best for them, understanding that with each members’ individuality comes a unique approach to work.

Benefits of individuality in the workplace?

Celebrating individuality in your workplace will benefit your business. We’re sure of it, because we’ve seen it play out in our own workplace, at Humi. Here are a few ways individuality can benefit your workplace.

1. Creates a stronger team

When individuals on your team are acknowledged for their uniqueness and embraced for being their authentic selves, it actually creates a stronger sense of belonging, as employees feel that their voices are being heard. This strengthens your team as a whole – and a strong workforce is a productive one.

A Humi example: our Slack server is home to dozens of channels that encompass the many unique interests, hobbies, and similarities Humigos connect on, creating a warm sense of community. To name a few, we have channels dedicated to dad jokes, parenting, and Humigo pets! And if there isn’t an existing channel for something, new channels are always welcome.

2. Inspires creativity

Encouraging employees to be themselves enables them to expand their creativity. By bringing their individual experiences to the table, employees can let their unique perspectives drive new ideas and approaches. 

A Humi example: our design team is always encouraged to bring every and any idea to the table, no matter how outrageous, out-of-the-box, unconventional, or risky it may seem. Allowing them to be unrestricted lets their creativity flow, and brings fresh, new ideas to life. (To see an example of our design team in action, check out our latest ebook, A guide to creating an employee handbook!)

3. Develops collaboration

When employees bring their distinct viewpoints to work, it opens up new doors of collaboration. Each individual has their strengths, and seeing where others on the team may have a stronger understanding of something will allow you to go to the right people for different projects to get the job done. 

A Humi example: cross-department work is very common. When Humigos need expert guidance in a specific area, help is a simple Slack message away. For instance, when working on ebooks, articles, and blog posts, the Marketing team collaborates closely with subject matter experts from the People Ops team to bring great resources for HR professionals to life!

4. Boosts employee satisfaction

Allowing your team to leave their work façades at home and come to their roles as their true selves increases employee engagement and satisfaction. Your team will feel that they are truly understood and valued, which encourages them to stay with your company for longer. 

A Humi example: we encourage our team to leave the work mask behind and truly express themselves in different ways, including through their virtual meeting backgrounds. One Humigo personalizes her background to reflect how she feels each day, allowing her true self to shine through. Most notably, she came into a meeting with a green-screened background of Steve Harvey looking shocked!

How to foster individuality on your team

As you’ve probably gathered, fostering individuality in the workplace has invaluable benefits. So, how can you go about promoting individuality in your own workplace? We’ve thought of three easy steps to get you started.

Step 1: Evaluate your current work culture

Does your workplace already have initiatives in place to recognize individuality? How are you working to instill EDI in your team? Take the time to realize where your company has its strengths and gaps.

Step 2: Eliminate the idea of “otherness”

Every team member is comprised of their own unique skill set, life experiences, and backgrounds – this should be recognized and celebrated loudly. Acknowledging that your workplace is composed of individuals with different backgrounds, each with their own unique value, will foster a sense of belonging. 

Step 3: Communicate, communicate, communicate

Keep the whole team in the loop. Get everyone on board and on the same page when it comes to how your company will be approaching individuality. You may go as far as to incorporate it into your values (like we did!). 

Celebrating differences in the workplace allows employees to feel good, and to do good work for the company. Empower your people to be their true and best selves, and you’ll quickly see the benefits. 

Final thoughts

When doing important equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) work, remember that it isn’t enough to speak up occasionally or implement a strategy and assume you’ve done the work. To truly create a workplace that is safe and inclusive, continued learning and evolving is necessary – it only starts with acknowledging and celebrating our differences.

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Hey there 👋 my name is Andrea Bartlett.

I’m the Director of HR at Humi, and I’m obsessed with all things people and human resources. Throughout my time working in a range of industries, I’ve learned that one thing is clear: the world of work is changing and HR professionals are leading the charge. 

I believe that businesses should know their people as well as they know their product. But people are complex, and the solutions aren’t always easy. That’s how Think with Humi will help. 

Written by me, this newsletter is designed to give you insight into the relevant and raw people challenges, and give you the tools to enable you to continuously to shape the future of work. 

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