To become sustainable in a more transparent world we need to become 100 percent Human at work
Social media, and changes in the way we share information, has led to increased transparency in business. This transparency means that consumers and employees (present and future) are more informed than ever before about our business practices. As businesses we are all more exposed in todays light speed information society, and often can be forced to defend our actions or change the way we do business to meet society’s demands. Poor business practices increasingly risk a consumer backlash. After all, as Dr. Mo Ibrahim (founder of Celtel) said, “If we’re all naked, we had better look good.”
Technology is changing the way we do business, but as humanity we are also changing the way people do business.
We are beginning to realise the real value of really caring about the people who work for us, and the communities they are a part of. Organisations are not machines at heart, and in order to become sustainable and effective in today’s transparent world we need to become more Human at work. Leading this 100 percent human at work initiative is the B Team (which includes Virgin’s Richard Branson), a group of global business leaders developing a better way of doing business for people, and planet. They are a collective of people passionate about enabling people to thrive at work.
A few of the insights from the 100 percent human at work initiative include:
- The importance of being Human. Although the world is becoming more connected than ever before, many of us ironically feel more isolated. We are beginning to crave craving human connection, despite having thousands of virtual friends. Organisations are realising that the benefit of treating people like family, rather than just a headcount, is a direct impact on the bottom line (retention, innovation and loyal customers). Work can provide these positive connections we crave and increase retention of talented employees and loyal customers.
- Discovering your purpose and values. The 100 percent human at work movement is discovering the power of purpose in driving results, and values in shaping behaviour. Purpose-driven organisations bring people together to achieving something beyond financial gain. These purpose driven organisations achieve more as they help people align their personal passions and values to those of the organisation. e.g.Virgin Group’s purpose is ‘Changing Business for Good’, and Google’s aim is ‘to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ Employees who believe in your purpose utilise their passion and energy to help make it happen.
“Only businesses with a clear reason for being, or Purpose, will be innovative and truly sustainable in the future” (Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO).
- The importance of human dignity and diversity. Work that is meaningful, and that allows us to contribute, gives us dignity. Multiple perspectives and experiences offer us different and more diverse solutions. Meaningful work can be a tool to lift communities out of poverty and positively impact lives, and organisations are beginning to realise this. One of the ways this is being done is through flexible and part time work giving more people dignity and this also contributes to more creative solutions to work and environmental challenges. Job sharing programmes are one way organisations are helping more people regain their dignity, helping them to contribute to society and a thriving workplace. Meaningful work with purpose helps us feel like what we do matters, helps drive innovation, retention and engagement.
- Equity and balance. We are facing numerous challenges to make our world sustainable and are realising that, although the earth has limited physical resources, our greatest resource exists in abundance. We have a diversity of people that can contribute to the solutions we require as a planet if we will give them the chance. Productivity that increases at the expense of human beings and Mother Nature is not sustainable, specially when it only helps a small percentage of the population. There is a growing movement towards a more equitable, fairer, world of work. The world is becoming less tolerant of exorbitant bonuses and exploitation of employees and resources. With increased technology and automation it is becoming essential to restructure the ecosystem to avoid increasing the divide between the rich and poor. This inequality will lead to conflict and social pressure if not addressed. Shared roles, flexible hours and portfolio working are some of the solutions being explored to produce real change. More equitable profit sharing is also being explored where the remuneration of management is no longer 100 or 1000 times that of the lowest paid employee.
We are moving away from excess consumption. We are beginning to realise that stuff will not bring us the happiness we crave, instead it is connections and experiences with other people that does. Nobody regrets not earning more money or amassing more things o their death bed, instead we regret the moments with family and the experiences lost. We are also becoming more and more aware of the need to take better care of our planet.
What will a 100 percent human at work world be like for you and your business? How can we make work better for people and our planet?
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