Tara Kidd, Founder of Tara Rose Salons
People sustainability means taking a responsible, holistic approach to how you treat staff and stakeholders. It is about putting people first throughout your value chain. The World Economic Forum calls it “the intersection of employee engagement and corporate responsibility,” with the potential to “increase environmental, social and governance metrics, drive business outcomes and improve people’s lives.”
We know attitudes and expectations around work have changed significantly. While much of this shift was due to Covid, other influences were already affecting the status quo, e.g. growing digitisation and the demand for a better work-life balance. Together these factors have put the social component of ESG front and centre. For businesses to thrive, implementing an effective people sustainability strategy that focuses on well-being, personal development, and engagement is essential.
Creating a people sustainability strategy for your business
It’s important to consider the specific needs of your sector and employees. For example, many service jobs require long hours with only a single day off per week. This can lead to burnout. Having a people-centric approach at Tara Rose Salons, has helped our staff avoid excessive stress and stay motivated as they build a lifelong career.
Whatever industry you’re in, here some key areas to focus on:
- Physical and mental health
How we feel at work has a direct impact on our overall health and well-being. When people are happy and fulfilled in their jobs they tend to be happier outside of work, and vice versa. Consider how your working environment contributes to people’s physical health. Are there any areas for improvement? If you’re in an office environment, do staff have enough opportunities for movement throughout the day? Are there any ergonomic factors that need to be addressed? Also, offering mental health provision or personal development coaching is just as important to support your team and empower them to grow by becoming more self-aware.
A 2022 study by the research firm Workplace Intelligence in partnership with Amazon found that 74% of millennial and Gen Z employees are likely to quit within the next year due to a lack of skills development opportunities. Investing in your team’s continuous professional development is crucial for motivation and retention. Look at what each individual really needs, and what’s holding them back. You can also take it further by exploring ways to nurture newcomers to your industry as a whole, in addition to your own employees.
- Choosing partners and suppliers
Caring about the people and communities we work with has been central to the Tara Rose Salons brand from the start. Consequently, we devote our efforts to developing both, partnering with stakeholders who take the same approach. It’s more important than ever to understand how the people you collaborate with operate so that your values are reflected across the supply chain by everyone who represents you.
- A culture of trust
All good relationships require trust, including workplace relationships. Establishing a culture of trust is a mark of respect and encourages staff to take ownership.
Research by the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies shows that employees in high-trust organisations are happier, more productive and stay longer in their jobs. They report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 76% more engagement, and 40% less burnout. Does the way your organisation works show you trust your staff? Likewise, are you an approachable boss they trust to discuss any issues?
Reaping the benefits
People sustainability has many benefits for businesses economically and socially, including:
- Enhanced commitment, motivation and performance.
- Better retention, lower staff turnover, and reduced absenteeism.
- A positive reputation in the marketplace.
- Increased profits and investor appeal.
- Driving your industry forward.
- Positively impacting the wider community.
SMEs setting standards
SMEs are incredibly powerful when it comes to affecting change. If we set the standards for people sustainability, then larger entities will have to follow suit to compete and be seen as an attractive place to work. People are the biggest contributing factor in any business’s performance, but even more so for smaller companies. Your brand is your people; therefore, putting them at the centre makes sense for sustainable social and economic success.