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Work, a social development tool

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Work, a social development tool.

As member of the board of directors of a non-profit organization dealing with social insertion projects, we were discussing on a board meeting about the social dimension of the work of people of the association. Some employees hired by the organization as room maid, are helping seniors not only to clean their home, but also to make shopping, to go to the pharmacy. These people are not providing a material help, but also a social assistance, and this establishes a real human relationship. In this relationship, both parties are winning. For the seniors who are often alone, the social worker is a presence, a contact they can talk with. For the social worker, this relationship brings a real human added value to his work. He has the feeling that he is doing much more than a simple work, and the fact that the beneficiaries appreciate his presences, contributes to his dignity. This relationship contributes on a positive way to the social life and environment of each other.

This fact made me think about the social role of work, not only in a non-profit organization, but also in companies. Each of us, we are spending probably more time with our colleagues than with our family. A positive day at work is not only the result of reached targets or goals, but also the harmonious relationship we have with our colleagues. There are two conditions to develop positive relationships between collaborators. The first one is to have compatibles tempers. In the opposite of our private life, we cannot choose our colleagues, we have to work with them. Too different tempers can sometimes be an obstacle to the development of positive relationships. The second important point is the work environment and atmosphere in the company. A positive atmosphere is a company will contribute to the wellness of the employees, and will contribute to the development of positive collaborations. But as most of us know, the environment is not positive all the time, when for instance the company is facing crisis times, times where the stress is increasing. This increase of stress and decreasing of wellness can be balanced by a good people management and communication. Each of us, we need to have the feeling that we are part of a team, that our work is recognized by our colleagues, by our management. If we see closer, the management is a tool of social development within an organization. When you define objectives for your team, when you are giving instructions to each team member, you have to be aware about the social dimension of the organization you want to build. You assign tasks or processes to your collaborators in function of their responsibilities and capabilities. By doing so, you give them the opportunity to show what they are able to do, to get a positive feeling of themselves, but also to have a recognized role in the social organization of the company.

If I underline the social dimension of work, it is not only the fact that we have a specific function in a company, but it is important to share things with colleagues, and not only in the work area. To speak another language is interesting to start a conversation with a colleague coming from another country. We can learn about the customs of his country in business, but also cultural and social area, to talk about respective hobbies, passions. All these conversations contribute to share ideas, knowledge, point of view, which is a mutual enrichment.

By giving importance to the social dimension of work, you are clearly aware that people are different from the machines. You are not only giving then instructions by pushing on a button and by expecting only outputs and results, but you are waiting also for suggestions, debates, alternative solutions and ideas. By giving importance about such feedbacks, you can create a positive feeling to your collaborators, you are showing respect for them, you are giving them the opportunity to work in dignity and contributing to their social life development. You are developing also the social dimension of your company where human capital should not be considered as a cost but as an asset.

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Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 2, 2010 at 21:51

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