During industrialization era about 80-100 years back, workplaces were pretty harsh because of predominantly industrial landscape and chances of employees getting injured were pretty high. To mitigate such risks, frameworks like OSHA were conceptualized i.e. Occupation Safety & Health Administration. That framework served its purpose reasonably well those days by ensuring workplaces were safe & employees were healthy. The framework had emphasis on adequate preventive as well as reactive measures to ensure employees stay healthy or is attended well in case of workplace injuries or accidents. Those days the department administering occupation safety & health was called as general administration or personnel department.
As the industry evolved, workplaces become better, organizations got subjected to competitive pressure whereby machine/technology made major inroads and human workforce become integral. Gradually personnel management got rebranded as human resource (HR) management as employees occupied center-stage. By now HR has became first interface for any employee and is one of the most important organizational function, which every employee is aware of and is connected to. With gig economy all around, HR has occupied more center-stage to keep human resources engaged. But unfortunately HR is read as human resource and thus the underlying connotation it could carry is that human is another resource like other organization resources i.e. office, building, hardware/software, products or services etc. That has possibly also lead to prevalent mindset that human as a resource can be augmented/replaced/retired on-the-fly, basis organizational financial health or future goals from time-to-time. This mindset has possibly taken a toll on employees health as by and large 60-80% of all modern diseases are directly or indirectly acquired at workplace or because of the workplace environment.
Since the advent of HR, we are now in 21st century that too with almost 20% of the century behind our back, practically everything has changed big-time i.e. workplace is mostly cosy/air-conditioned, work output is mostly digital, postures are sedentary, surroundings are full of gadgets/devices with some or other side-effects, work timings are flexible/stretched, commuting is common & stressful, environment/pollution of surroundings is way different, food/water we consume is different from the past and so on. As a consequence, we see that diseases or health hazards of today are way different than those of 50-60 years back . So if everything has transformed around us then shouldn’t the framework for employee safety/wellness also transform? Time has come for employers to undertake a paradigm shift in their strategy towards employee wellness whereby it is designed/contextualized & delivered for today. Maybe the first step in that direction could be to start reading HR as not Human Resource but Healthy/Happy Resource!Follow us