You may have heard of the phrase: bringing your whole self to work. You might find the concept inspiring or you might cringe, but it’s actually a pretty significant concept, especially in a remote work environment. Now that the majority of workforces are remote, employees are stuck behind video screens. The ability for casual conversations and organic interactions has been drastically decreased. So, how can you bring your whole self to work if you only talk to your coworkers in 30min intervals through a screen, maybe two to three times a day? But first, what does bringing your whole self to work actually mean?
What does it mean to bring your whole self to work?
This Atlassian article defines bringing your whole self to work as “a direct challenge to outdated modes of separating your personal and professional lives, of cultivating split personas. It’s permission to be more of your authentic (and multidimensional self), to show more of your personality, your talents, and your skills at work.” It’s all about choice. Having the ability to show up more fully, to be authentic, to be vulnerable, and to choose what you reveal about yourself.
This sounds like a positive idea, but for some it can sound intimidating. Bringing your whole self to work ends up being the latter when there isn’t a culture of psychological safety. According to this Medium article, psychological safety looks like people at your organization sharing “the belief that they will not be exposed to interpersonal or social threats to their self or identity when engaging in learning behaviors such as asking for help, seeking feedback, admitting errors or lack of knowledge, or trying something new.” Without psychological safety that allows for people to be vulnerable, make mistakes, and know that their identities will be respected, “bringing your whole self to work” becomes an empty concept rather than an impactful part of your organizational culture.
Why is it important?
The ability to bring your whole self to work doesn’t only create the kind of workplace where you want to show up to work, but it has a tangible impact on your teams’ performance. According to this Atlassian article, “among high achieving teams, 55% have a culture of sharing who they are and what’s going on outside of work, compared to only 17% of people on low-achieving teams.” Yet, our current workplace reality might be impeding our ability to do just that. This reworked article argues that, “the now ubiquitous digital workplace has become delivery-focused, all about getting stuff done...this has resulted in us largely replicating working practices being those focused on delivering stuff. At the expense of what makes us human: Personality. Trust. Being three-dimensional people who enjoy connecting.”
Now that we’re relying on our digital workplaces to connect, you may think that our in-person interactions have translated directly into a digital world, however, that’s just not the case. We’ve seen through the pandemic that we’ve created structures that allow us to work but they leave no space for spontaneous discovery. We’ve also found that teams who used technology to become closer as a team during lockdown were the ones that thrived. Now more than ever, it’s essential to create opportunities for your remote workforce to bring their authentic selves to work.
One way you can start to build this capability into your organization is by allowing your people to show more of their personality, their talents, and their skills at work. It’s one thing to learn this information by word of mouth, and it’s another thing to have this information readily accessible by anyone in your organization. Sift’s Profiles do just that. Our Profiles serve as a single place to understand your colleagues beyond their job titles. You can see their past experiences, education, skill sets, interests, and more. In a phrase, it allows your people to tell their stories first-hand.
Our deep, customizable profiles paired with our lightning-fast search allows for you to search by anything (skills, education, experience, etc.) and find what you need to get your job done.
By making your peoples’ skills, education, interests, and experiences readily accessible and searchable, you not only allow them to showcase their full selves, it also allows them to discover and connect to one another, and ultimately work better together. This leads to tangible benefits like reskilling, internal mobility and recruiting, and internal networking.