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Gone are the days when the workplace was built around a fairly straightforward structure, consisting of employer, employee, customer. The winds of technological change may be sweeping away traditional models, but ISO 27501 is helping managers build a more sustainable one for the future.

From the advent of the Internet to what is now known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the latest cutting-edge technologies – among them robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things – are fundamentally changing how we live, work and relate to each other. The issue for business in this new era is not so much about the bottom line, or even just corporate social responsibility, it is also about taking a human-centred approach to the future of work and finding the right tools to ensure that organizations are successful and sustainable.

The likes of AI are presenting a great opportunity to help everyone – leaders, policy makers and people from all income groups and countries – to lead more enriching and rewarding lives, but they are also posing challenges for how to harness these technologies to create an inclusive, human-centred future.

ISO 27501:2019, The human-centred organization – Guidance for managers, can help organizations to meet these challenges. In this brave new world, organizations will not only have an impact on their customers but also on other stakeholders, including employees, their families and the wider community.

The standard is based on ISO 27500, which explains to executive board members the values and beliefs that make an organization human-centred. The standard’s requirements and recommendations are intended to be applicable to organizations large or small, and in the public or private sector.

It outlines managers’ responsibilities that range from the organizational strategy to the development of procedures and processes that enable human-centredness, to the implementation of those procedures and processes.

Peter Frener, Chair of the subcommittee that developed the new standard, says: “While not all parts of this International Standard will be of equal use to all types of organizations, all core subjects are relevant to every organization.” He goes on to say that it is the organization’s responsibility to identify which parts are “relevant and significant for the organization to address, through its own considerations and through dialogue with stakeholders”.

ISO 27501:2019 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 159, Ergonomics, subcommittee SC 1, General ergonomics principles. It is available from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

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ISO/TC 159/SC 1
General ergonomics principles

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