Embed a culture of Humanity in the workplace to improve your triple bottom line
Successful organisations are rediscovering the fundamental truth that people are at the core of their success. Decades of research shows that engaged happy employees are better at innovation and creative problem solving, which drives bottom line financial results in competitive markets. In addition humanity in the workplace helps produce happy engaged employees that are more likely to stay with your organisation. With the cost of replacing skilled employees, estimated at 1.5 x annual salary, it makes sense to put in time and money to create a culture that retains talent, rather than one that ensures they leave. With an increase in social media and transparency in business consumers (and potential future employees) are better informed than ever before about our organisations, and the way we do business. As organisations we are more exposed and when what we do lacks humanity we are often forced to defend our actions, and to change the way we do business to meet society’s demands. More and more, poor business practices that negatively impact employees or put society at risk cause a consumer backlash that damages our brands, and share price. In order to attract and retain customer and talent we need to work at bringing humanity back into our business practices.
What is Humanity in the workplace?
On the most basic level we want to be treated with respect, feel we are valued and that there is meaning and value in the work we do. We want to understand how our efforts help the organisation succeed. On a fundamental psychological level we crave a sense of belonging, meaning and recognition for our contributions to the organisation. A revolution is already happening to bring back “Humanity in the workplace.” Organisations are moving beyond profit at all costs and utilising the power of a Value-Based Corporate Social Responsibility programmes to transform their culture, and make their businesses sustainable. The triple bottom line approach is about building a sustainable business in a global (visible) marketplace in order to engage and retain talent as well as customers.
Organisations that implement these programmes authentically are winning on three levels:
- happier and more engaged employees
- customer loyalty
- contributing to society through a meaningful purpose
This is beyond just good corporate strategy – this is building a sustainable business through embedding an authentic triple bottom line as part of your culture.
Virgin Unite (Richard Branson’s not-for-profit arm of the Virgin Group) are part of this initiative by business leaders who believe in being the catalyst for “a better way to do business for the well-being of people and the planet.” Part of creating more Humanity in the workplace is by listening to the needs of employees and creating an environment that helps them thrive. Organisations already involved in this challenging initiative include: Unilever, Huffington Post, Zappos and The Rockerfeller Foundation. One core concept of this initiative is the idea of being “100% Human at Work”. This means looking at people as more than just a resource that can maximise profit. These trailblazing organisations instead focus on how they can help people reach their highest potential and purpose. They have discovered that this approach positively impacts their bottom line. When we are treated well and a strong sense of purpose that is aligned to the organisation’s vision or values, we are more likely to utilise our discretionary effort to positively impact the success and profitability of the business.
The 5 core values of the “100% Human at Work” vision are:
These organisations are challenging leaders to ask tough questions and rate their organisations against these values. This involves listening to employees and sometimes receiving a “reality check” when it comes to these values. We are witnessing an increasing trend towards business putting people and planet goals alongside their profit goals but it is a work in progress. More and more businesses are realising the value of sincerely caring about the people who work for them and the communities they serve. Businesses that thrive in the new global marketplace are becoming, at their heart, 100% Human supported by technology rather than 100% machines.
From the employee’s perspective, when their organisation contributes to society in a positive way it translates into positive engagement and support. They feel that by contributing to the success of their organisation, they are also contributing to a social mission, and this tends to improve employee morale and productivity. This is particularly evident in the next generation of employees and consumers, millennials want to know where their money is going when they invest in anything. As employees they want a job where they can make an impact.
How do you and your organisation stack up against these Humanity in the workplace values? Are you 100% human at work?
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