By Sarah Liverance

At the second annual Employee Recommended Workplace Awards conference hosted by The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell, I heard a lot about the importance of listening, caring, understanding, empathy, connections, and relationships. These are essentially the fundamentals of humanity. For a while there, they seemed to be forgotten in the workplace. There’s even data showing that, to some extent, they’ve been lost in our society. That’s why it was so refreshing to hear these concepts mentioned repeatedly by so many of the speakers.

Before The Globe and Mail announced the winners of each of the categories, I was honoured to participate in a panel of ERW award winners. Very quickly, I’ve come to admire these people:

Dave spoke about the power of listening to employees – listening deliberately. Carl talked about empowerment as a core principle Nestle endorses. And Nicolas emphasized the importance of offering employees flexibility around where and when they work. These basic needs – to be heard and to have control and choice in the workplace – aren’t rocket science. They’re fundamental to the human condition. Because most of our workplaces are still powered by humans – not the generic “employees” we hear so much about. We need to keep this top of mind each and every day.

Wishing success to all the Daves, Carls, and Nicolas’ out there who work hard every day to create positive, inspiring workplaces. Whatever your titles may be, I’ll call you humanitarians, maybe even rocket scientists!