Many companies have embraced the concept of sustainability as a mechanism for creating shared value in which both the company and various stakeholders achieve mutual benefit. Declaring oneself as a sustainable company is not just a simple discourse that involves choosing certain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but looking from within and taking measures to achieve them. Allen Woo, an expert in people and behavioral management needed for better development, explains why human talent is essential to carry out a sustainable agenda in organizations.
Human talent has become a key factor in driving each organization’s sustainable agenda, based on commitment and providing the right tools and workspaces for positive impact. It is of utmost importance to embrace and adopt sustainability with conviction. This starts by linking it with purpose.
Many companies choose to inspire confidence, to drive change. It continues with incorporating sustainability into the strategy and core business processes and not only in activities that, although positive, are complementary to the business or are only used to generate an image. In this sense, the commitment of the leaders of the organizations is vital. Therefore, it is necessary for them to be consistent between their speech, their decisions, and the actions they take.
“It is important for leaders to be consistent with their stated purpose, both in their work and personal performance. It is in the most difficult and challenging moments that the strength of the leadership that strengthens a ‘powerful’ culture is tested. Employees feel engaged and choose to embrace the organizational culture that embraces them when they feel represented and listened to with openness, trust, respect, and transparency, even naiveté,” says Woo.
For the expert, it is necessary to achieve an understanding of the concept of sustainability that is linked to the company’s purpose, which allows all collaborators to identify with the leadership team and can see that their work really contributes to it.
“Sustainability must be established as a transversal objective of the company that translates into concrete goals and indicators reflected in the objectives of our collaborators,” Woo clarifies. “To achieve the expected result, the various areas of the company must meet specific goals linked, for example, to issues of responsible investment, talent management, and development, environmental impact monitoring, supplier management, corporate governance, financial education, customer relations, among others.”
In short, sustainable culture is achieved when sustainability is seen as a management model. It is a way of acting that allows companies to grow in the long term hand in hand with their different stakeholders, including the employees themselves.
However, achieving a team committed to sustainable management is not an automatic process. Various tools are required, including training, recognition, and even the provision of space and work flexibility that will motivate employees to meet the goals set by the company.
Many of these tools are part of the work climate or employer branding programs of the companies. Different companies have a benefits program focused on achieving a work-life balance, including flexible schedules, home office, casual dress, among others.
Development programs are aimed at all levels of the organization, from leaders to young talent. Many of its corporate cultures are flexible, adaptable, and innovative. It focuses on people and seeks to build trust with a long-term vision. This, in turn, is based on four principles (responsibility, equity, respect, and transparency) and oriented towards sustainability.
“All this, added to the positive impact generated in society, both from the core of the business and from these different programs, contributes to the feeling of pride in belonging to the organization and to generating a deeper bond between the company and its employees,” explains Woo.
For this specialist, lifelong learning is a good way to live the organizational experience. A culture where learning occurs naturally in the face of day-to-day challenges attracts and retains employees regardless of their age, role, and gender. This, coupled with open spaces to work, flexible hierarchical structures, and direct communication, allows all employees to be in constant interaction and motivated.