The Human Resource Factor in Setting up Sustainable Organizations
A lot of focus has been put on how sustainability impacts on the physical environment and not enough light is being shed on how the business activities affect the human resource and their social welfare.
A proper definition of sustainability is the effort to preserve natural resources and minimize waste during production processes. When this is achieved, there is a lesser burden on the economic activity on the environment and therefore if this can be done for a prolonged period, then the resources will not be exhausted.
That being said, it is unfortunate to note that even the research done on Google shows that the sustainability focus is on the physical environment with specific searches for Ecological, Environmental, Social and Human sustainability declining in that order. It is not to mean that the other resources should not be focused on, but the human sustainability should be given a fair share of focus and attention.
As companies strive towards having “eco-managers” who will bring the energy bills down to “zero”, it would be interesting to see companies do the same for their human resource. The physical, social and mental health of employees should be monitored. Some of these issues are caused by the core business activities and therefore companies need to be mindful about their employees are affected.
How employee mortality and morbidity is affected by an organization
The level of development in a country as well as societal efficiency is usually based on indicators such as infant mortality and life span.
If you have healthy employees in your company, socially, physically, psychologically, chances are the level of output from your employees is high. The decision making processes as well as the reward systems have a great impact of human resource sustainability.
In the case of offering health insurance, the kind of health insurance scheme a company chooses for their employees can either grant or deny access to proper health facilities. At the same time, having health insurance affects the health status for most people. Those without health insurance are usually not in a position to access preventive screening such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels etc., whereby a physical condition detected in good time can be treated and the employee can resume to work.
Without health insurance, the economic well-being is also affected. Medical bills can be financially draining and if an employee has to pay from their salary or savings, they are at risk of being bankrupt.
One thing that employers can do to enhance the health of their human resource is introducing fitness and wellness programs for them. This investment is likely to have a direct impact on output and profitability.
Layoff is another aspect that affects the human resource. Whether due to economic constrains, restructuring or cost cutting those that are left after a layoff may become unstable which could lead to reduced productivity. Those that are laid off are affected physically, mentally as well as socially.
Family-work conflict and hours spent at work
How long you spend at work is predetermined mostly by your employer. Chances are, if you work for long hours, it may not necessarily translate to higher output and may actually expose you to health issues. Also, your social life, and especially if you are a family person will be affected. There may be conflicts arising from your work versus family responsibilities.
The Impact of Job Design and Stress At Work
How much control one has at work, the demand of the job and the nature of the job (isolated job stations) could also lead to health problems for the employees and this will affect their output.
How much one earns is related to how much education, experience and exposure they have as far as the job is concerned. Studies show that those earning more are more likely to have healthier lifestyles and so are healthier than those earning less. There seems to be a link between inequality and health issues and companies need to find out the root cause and make deliberate efforts to educate employees on this issue.
Brief attention is usually given to human resource sustainability
The employees who are providing the human resource to the company are barely making it on the company’s agenda of sustainability. The firms need to be on the lookout for unexpected costs of hiring and firing. The same attention being given to the environmental sustainability should be given to human sustainability.
If the human resource sustainability was taken seriously, then we would discover that the companies that are not keen on enhancing the well-being of their employees are ‘polluting’ their health and welfare.
At the same time, branding your company as one that attracts and retains employees for a long time, and one that has a low turnover is beneficial to your company.
The more sustainable your human resource is, the more the sustainable the level of output, productivity and profit for your company.