Companies should be gauged not only by their profits and productivity, but also by how well they meet their obligations to society and the environment. The world's seven largest industrial nations (the G7) have added a further aspect: that of human-centredness. How this can be implemented in companies is described by the new EN ISO 27500 standard1.
The term human-centred reflects the need for companies to exert their influence upon people and their behaviour such that the companies meet the needs of employees and customers alike. EN ISO 27500 is intended for companies and organizations of any size, and contains recommendations for the shaping of a human-centred organization. Its aim is to raise awareness among managers not just for profitability, but also for the interests of the company's employees. The highlighting of risks resulting from a failure to apply human-centred principles supports this raising of awareness. The standard is not a management system standard, and is thus not intended for certification purposes.
The standard lists seven principles that are characteristic of a human-centred company:
EN ISO 27500 takes account of human beings – whether they are employees or customers of organizations – and does so with reference to relevant international standards. These include ISO 26000, Guidance on social responsibility, and EN ISO 26800, Ergonomics – General approach, principles and concepts. EN ISO 27500 presents the principles of human-centredness in a concise form. It is intended for executive board members; it is supplemented for managers by EN ISO 27501:2017-07, The human-centred organization – Guidance for managers.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also benefit from the approach of human-centredness. Insufficient human resources and a lack of time and expertise are often an obstacle to its implementation, however. DIN offers support on the SME Commission (KOMMIT)2 and SME Helpdesk3 Websites.
Institute for Applied Occupational Ergonomics and Industrial Engineering (ifaa), Employee Efficiency and Workplace Productivity Department
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sascha Stowasser
Director of the Institute for Applied Occupational Ergonomics and Industrial Engineering (ifaa); Chairperson of the DIN Ergonomics Standards Committee (NAErg)
1 EN ISO 27500:2017-05, The human-centred organization – Rationale and general principles
2 SME Commission (KOMMIT) Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN): Support for SMEs and industry bodies: www.din.de/en/about-standards/benefits-for-the-private-sector/sme-commission-kommit
3 SME Helpdesk – Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN):