What is Human Development?

Human development? Don’t all companies call it Human Resource management? Are we confused or onto something?

Posted in: Human Development
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At Lightswitch we don’t have a typical HR department. We believe that ‘humans are not resources.’ Instead, we believe in HD (Human Development) – where the focus is on ‘keeping the humans happy.’ You may find it strange that a company our size has such a dedicated focus on HD, but from day one we have been investing in and caring for our people (even when we only had 4 employees!)

“People want to know they matter and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new talent contract.” - Pamela Stroko

One of the things that makes Lightswitch and our HD unique is the way that we hire people, because we do it rather differently to the norm.   We would rather hire the right person (who will fit in best with our office culture) over someone who has more experience.  We sometimes even hire people that we know are a good fit – regardless of whether we have work for them right away.  

Cultivating a fun, effective and productive office environment is very important to us and our HD is fundamental in making sure we achieve this.  One of our HD events is First Fridays – which happens on the first Friday of every month.  We all get together at the end of a busy week and have a few drinks, snacks and maybe play a game or two (office speed dating is a favourite).  If someone has started working for us in the past month they’re asked to perform a short rap/poem/interpretive dance for the office during on a First Friday.

“Your number one customers are your people. Look after employees first and then customers last.” - Ian Hutchinson

More than just making sure that everyone is equipped and ready to do the job they’re employed to do, HD looks after the emotional and physical wellbeing of all employees.  We have fresh fruit delivered to the office once a week, provide various cereals for breakfast and encourage people to get outside and have walking meetings whenever possible. Vitamin D and sunshine are important.  Because we are a people based organisation, we treat our employees like family - we genuinely care for them.  For that reason, we like to know if they’re okay or if there’s something bothering them.  Every few weeks employees have the opportunity to sit down with HD and chat about how they are doing in their team, what they are enjoying and any issues or concerns that they might have.  This allows us to keep our ‘finger on the pulse’ and ensure that we are always thriving and growing.  Our employees are also free to chat with HD at any time during the day/week if they need to do so.

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” - Anne M. Mulcahy

HD is also responsible for making sure that the team is growing and developing – as a whole and on an individual level.  To learn more about training and development at Lightswitch read our article: ‘How do we do T&D at Lightswitch?’

Lightswitch IS the people.  Without the people, we wouldn’t be where we are today.  That is why we will continue to invest in our most precious asset – people.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

About the author

Rachel Kleinsmith
Rachel Kleinsmith

Rachel runs human development at Lightswitch

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