By: Vic Thorpe

What’s in a name?

Have you spoken with your ‘Resources’ Today?

“What’s in a name?” cried Shakepeare’s Juliet. Well, quite a lot, it would appear.

According to recent research across eight countries by a group of scientists at Jerusalem University, people are most likely to reflect in their face and in their behaviour the characteristics commonly associated with the name they have been given. So predictable are we that a computer with a database of 100,000 names was able to match the correct name to a random series of faces well over 50 per cent of the time. A Tomasina, Dick, or Harriet actually looked like a ‘typical’ Tomasina, Dick or Harriet!

What’s all that got to do with the world of work? We believe that it’s high time managers stopped objectifying workers as ‘Human Resources’ and learned to engage more meaningfully with the real people that are at the heart of production. What if, instead of being viewed as a ‘resource’ to the all-devouring aims of the organisation, people in the workplace would be seen as energetic beings, pooling their human energy for a shared social purpose?

This is what we call ‘Human Energistics’ – a name with quite a different motivation in our view, that opens a whole new world of dynamic engagement.

The latest Gallup survey on the ‘State of the Global Workplace’ (2017) again demonstrates the appalling situation in most factories worldwide, where fully 85 per cent of those at work were either passively or actively dis-engaged from their work functions – “sleepwalking through their day” as the report puts it.

If workers are classified as no more than ‘resources’, no wonder that managers pay so little heed to the basic human emotional drivers – the need for social integration and comradeship, for recognition, for encouragement. If workers see their worth only as ‘resources’ to the production machine, it makes sense for them to keep their best selves for when they feel most valued – outside the alienating factory environment.

Workers bring their vital energy to work with them every day. What a waste of potential that so many of them feel they have to check it in at the factory door.

Just Solutions’ new website www.just-solutions.net sets out some of the ways in which we have tried to change this dynamic for factories, brands and workers around the world. Despite our demonstrable successes, there’s a way still to go before our approach is considered mainstream; but a change in name would certainly be a good place to start.

Think not of ‘Human Resources’; Think ‘Human Energistics’.