If you are an employer today, you need to more than just your business. The modern employee is an aware person, who demands awareness and action on today’s issues from the employer.
According to research by Atlassian Corporation and PwC India, an overwhelming majority (97%) of knowledge workers expect action from businesses on issues related to the environment, health & wellbeing, the economy, technology, human rights and equality, and 82% believe businesses should be just as concerned with their social impact as they are with their financial performance.
Speaking up and acting on social and environmental issues is non-negotiable. It’s no longer a decision on whether to act, it’s a matter of howJessica Hyman, Head of Sustainability, Atlassian
Jessica Hyman, Head of Sustainability, Atlassian, said, “Our inaugural Return on Action research in India sends a clear message to businesses that speaking up and acting on social and environmental issues is non-negotiable. It’s no longer a decision on whether to act, it’s a matter of how.”
This time, in the G20, there was a huge focus on digital transformation, sustainability and equitable growth for all, and these themes are mirrored in the Return on Action findings.
You Could Lose Staff
Crucially, there are high risks if an employer’s actions don’t align with the values held by their employees. Half (50%) of knowledge workers would go so far as quit their job or start looking for employment elsewhere as a result of value misalignment, this increases to 51% amongst Millennials, the core workforce, and 53% of women knowledge workers who are also more likely to admit feeling pressure from their employer to support causes they don’t believe in.
Non-aligned Values Can Cause Losses
As well as losing staff, there is a danger of a negative impact on workplace culture, performance, and organizational reputation if employer and employees’ values do not align. Nearly half (49%) would discuss discontent with their colleagues and over one-third (34%) with people outside of their organisation, while 43% would be “disengaged” at work. Discontent manifests differently across genders, with men more likely to discuss their grievances with colleagues, while women are more likely to consider an alternative job role with lower pay and fewer benefits, despite the current challenging economic environment.
Adopt Technology Responsibly
Companies looking to compete in technologies like AI, Machine Learning and cloud have a big opportunity to prove they are adopting these technologies responsibly. Almost one-third (31%) of respondents agree that businesses have the primary responsibility for addressing issues related to technology pertaining to digital privacy, responsible use of technology and data and digital infrastructure, even more so than the government (18%).
When asked the top issues businesses should act on, technology issues topped the list across all age demographics – specifically, digital privacy for Gen Z (86%) and Millennials (84%), responsible use of data for Gen X (88%) and digital infrastructure for Baby Boomers (91%).
According to the 2022 World Air Quality Report, India was eighth globally in its rankings of PM2.5 concentration, i.e. harmful air pollutants, and 12 of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia are in India. Atlassian’s study found environmental pollution placed at the highest relative importance by respondents. 89% agree businesses need to do more in addressing waste and pollution, and 87% agree they should take full responsibility for their environmental impact e.g. renewable energy and zero waste.
Over half (56%) of knowledge workers believe issues related to the economy, such as unemployment, corruption, and poverty, are more important now compared to the past 12 months, and 43% believe businesses need to do more to address these issues. In the current economic environment, unemployment ranked fourth in relative importance of social issues overall.
The days when youth went out looking for just a job are slowly receding. And it’s a good thing. If today’s generation wants to work for a cause rather than just money, the future of the workplace will be a better place.