Dina Steiner, Founder and Director of Spirit at Work ATX
“In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they’re about brains, but in the future they’ll be about the heart. —MINOUCHE SHAFIK, director, London School of Economics”
I just learned a new term the other day – “botsourcing”, which means the outsourcing of jobs typically performed by a human to a robot. We’ve already botsourced quite a bit of our muscle jobs, and many of our brain jobs, but there are still categories of employment that require human judgment, communication, empathy and response. And as long as you require humans for a job, you will have to deal with their innate messiness – their humanity and their hearts.
Humans, unlike computers and robots, are a messy combination of ego, emotions, distractions and irrationality. Even the most focused and dedicated employee sometimes has difficulty separating their work from the rest of their life. We have families, pets, hobbies, politics, beliefs and other concerns that we bring with us to work every day. As employers we sometimes get frustrated about the amount of worktime “wasted” by these outside distractions. But, it is just those distractions that make our workers human and it is their very humanity that we value them for.
Focusing on the humanity of our staff, means focusing on their whole person – body, mind, and spirit. Unless our employees are healthy in all three of these areas, their work will never achieve its greatest potential. Spirituality in the workplace helps people deal with their emotions, their fears, and their dreams by connecting them with intangible resources outside of themselves. Greater spirituality in the workplace leads to greater self-knowledge and stronger relationships among co-workers and management. Connecting to the “flow” of life, increases creativity and purpose.
If, like Shafik, we believe that it is our workers’ hearts which bring value to our company and drive our success, then we should be about the business of enriching those hearts, increasing empathy and encouraging workers to bring their whole selves to the job. Otherwise, we might as well be botsourcing. Think about that the next time you have a chat with your barista or get a worrisome diagnosis from your doctor. A little humanity goes a long way.