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Home » Putting The Human Back Into Human Resources: Mary Schaefer (Transcript) 

Putting The Human Back Into Human Resources: Mary Schaefer (Transcript) 

Here is the full transcript of Mary Schaefer’s talk titled “Putting The Human Back Into Human Resources” at TEDxWilmington conference.

Listen to the audio version here:

TRANSCRIPT:

Who here has heard the term ‘human resources’? Who here has used the term ‘human resources’? Who here thinks they know what the term ‘human resources’ means? Yeah. Many times when we talk about human resources, we’re talking about that function in an organization that handles the “people stuff,” right?

And what I’m here to talk to you about today, in putting the human back into human resources, I’m here to talk to you about infusing more humanity back into the workplace for those human beings who happen to be employees. You’re going to hear me today use the word “humanly” a lot. And when I have conversations with people about this subject, that word often gets fed back to me as “humanely.”

Humanly vs. Humanely

And so, let me be really clear on what I mean by “humanly” versus “humanely.” To me, when employers are treating employees humanely, they’re providing them bathroom breaks and water fountains. To me, for employers to treat employees humanly, it’s to address the very human needs such as the need to be appreciated, the need to belong, and the need to feel like you’re making a meaningful contribution.

And what does that look like? Twenty years ago, I worked at a chemical plant in West Virginia, and I was a project team leader implementing a module of SAP software. Some of you may have heard of it. It was the raw materials module. And many of the people on my team were shop floor employees. That means they were the people on the shop floor handling the chemicals.

And one of them came to me and asked me if I would help him develop so he could advance. He wanted to get promoted. And I was thrilled to hear this. Now, this is interesting because at the same time, at this point in time, shop floor employees were not viewed as people who had hopes and dreams and who wanted to learn and grow.

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