As many as as 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work according to a Gallup poll from 2017. A sense of meaningfulness is destroyed if their values are disconnected from their employer’s values according to research by MIT Sloan (original article [paid]). To put it very simply: employees are disengaged, because their employer ignores what matters to them.
So what does matter to employees? To explore this, let’s look at how organisations have responded to the values of society at large. These values are often summarised with the popular triad of ‘people, planet and profit’ (3P). 3P is a well-known concept that organisations have built policies around for a while now. These policies are often referred to as corporate social responsibility (CSR). 95% of the world’s largest companies have adopted CSR programmes (source).
However, largely underpinning CSR has been the so-called shared value creation concept which expects CSR to be linked to competitive advantage, i.e. profit. Therefore, most organisations essentially put maximising profit or shareholder value over anything else. Maximising profit is a value in and of itself.
The 3P values mentioned above don’t necessarily conflict; they can actually strengthen each other. This is what ‘shared value creation’ is about. However, if they do come into conflict, according to the ‘shared value creation’ principles, organisations cannot be expected to sacrifice profit at the expense of people or planet (as also discussed in this article). This raises the question whether organisations actually intrinsically care for ‘people’ and ‘planet’ or whether they are just ‘greenwashing’ profits.
But are organisations not entitled to being focussed on their own interests first? We don’t coerce private individuals into being ‘socially responsible’, do we?
How come many employees feel torn between their personal values and the interests of the organisation they work for despite that many organisations have made some effort to respond through CSR policies?
A new post to examine that question will be posted soon. In the meanwhile: what are your thoughts?