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Experts View

People Sustainability – A Key Component in Solving the Workforce Challenges

Melody Lopez, Director & Chief of Staff, Crayon Software Experts India

In the past three years, the world has witnessed a pandemic, followed by economic fluctuations and war. One of the biggest impacts of these social, environmental and economic crises is employee satisfaction and retention. When we delve deeper, in most cases the fundamental reason for problems arising turns out to be – people sustainability. But what does this term mean? In general, people sustainability also known as social sustainability, refers to the concept of maintaining and enhancing the well-being, health and quality of life of individuals within a society over the long term. It emphasizes the importance of meeting the needs of current generations while ensuring the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In the business environment, however, people sustainability has a slightly different context. People sustainability in businesses refers to the commitment of organizations to prioritize the well-being and development of their employees while fostering a positive and inclusive work environment for all future purposes.

Four primary criteria need to be taken into consideration when focusing on people sustainability.

Sociological: Aligned with the idea of DEI policies, it is a managerial process for creating and building comprehensive and inclusive work environments in which participation is encouraged and diversity is considered as an advantage.

Psychological: It refers to the well-being of employees in a healthy as well as supportive work environment that not only provides security but strengthens and helps develop loyalty and productivity.

Strategy: Part of the sustainability strategy is about building a talent roadmap that helps the organization find the right people or collaborations, thereby gaining an almost permanent competitive advantage.

Environmental: This is also known as green HR management. The interdependence of social and environmental sustainability is very well portrayed through the development of a talent program that aims to attract environmentally responsible people. This includes education, training and making sustainability part of daily employee practices.

Having a strong people sustainability outlook will help organizations in battling workforce challenges. This means companies and HR teams need to focus on policies and experiences of the workforce to make them feel inclusive, heard and comfortable to put their best foot forward. Prioritizing people sustainability is crucial for long-term success as it leads to increased employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.

Some key components that need to be considered by businesses for people sustainability:

  • Fair Employment Practices
  • Employee Engagement
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Health and Safety
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Learning and Development
  • Employee Benefits and Support
  • Ethical Practices

The success of people practice is due to – employee engagement and productivity, talent attraction and retention, employee development and growth, and diversity and inclusion. By investing in employee well-being, engagement, development, diversity and ethical practices, organizations can create a positive work environment and help in employee retention and satisfaction.

Challenges should not be forgotten in the process:

What organizations need to also consider before jumping into planning and introducing people sustainability are the challenges these policies create. Necessary metrics need to be put in place to measure the effectiveness of the policies. This means a big and meticulously working team and system needs to be in place. This in turn leads to a necessity for increased investment in terms of money and people, and this is an undertaking not all companies are capable of. If the policies and protocols are set in place for mechanical purposes then the entire reason for achieving people sustainability is lost. If this hope is given to the workforce, then it would lead to a healthy and stable business environment. More than anything, what companies need for their people is human touch and people sustainability.

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