People Sustainability: put the human back at the centre

May 23, 2023



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Sustainability is the driving force behind each impactful company transformation and an essential factor for the success of a responsible and human-centered strategy.

The health crisis was a turning point for the way we look at our employees’ well-being and put the gap between human, economy and environment into perspective.

Today, more and more organisations base their policy upon the ESG criteria. They try to reinvent and improve themselves in a corporate world where social and environmental needs are more and more prioritised and where sustainability has become the key to company transformation.

Sustainability in your DNA

In the past few years it has become clearer and clearer that sustainability is no isolated element or ambition, but is part of a complex responsibility that is created in a company’s DNA.

Sustainability should be the starting point of KPIs, the working conditions and the investment strategies. In this context, the ESG and SDG norms are a good starting point for engagement, but the long-term effectiveness is determined by the daily actions and efforts, based upon a systematic well-being policy.

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ESG policy attracts talent

Recent studies show that HR departments consider attracting and retaining talent and keeping them committed to be one of the most urgent risks after cyber security.. That is why sustainability must be so much more than just environmental responsibility, and should instead manage social considerations as well, by taking care of the mental and physical well-being of people, from the company’s ecosystem to the communities within which it operates.

Translating ESG objectives into employee well-being is no longer considered to be a top-down coordination, but an environment of inclusion, cocreation and transparency that allows to adjust thegoals and human behaviour and thus align with sustainability.

4 x people sustainability in your organisation

Creating engagement and managing a team of people sustainably is, generally speaking, a matter of responsibly working with people. And thus appreciating their talents, combined with decent, human-centred working conditions with attention for mental and physical health, social safety and a supported diversity and inclusion policy.

There are four different domains you need to take into account to tackle people sustainability in your organisation:

Sociological: Management processes that create and build inclusive working environments and that encourage participation and consider diversity to be an asset.

Psychological: Employee well-being in a healthy and supportive working environment that does not only offer security, but also strengthens and helps develop loyalty and productivity.

Environment: The interdependence of social and ecological sustainability is identified by the development of a talent programme focused on attracting eco-conscious people, also referred to green HR management. This entails education, training and makign sustainability part of the daily practice of the employee.

Strategy: Part of the sustainability strategy is building a talent roadmap that helps the organisation find the right people or cocreations, with a nearly permanent competition advantage as a consequence.

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The M factor

It boils down to the fact that people spend a large part of their lives at work. So we should not forget which elements make them human. HR is about that, about managing the human side of companies, and although productivity has been the only rule for too long, the paradigm is shifting quickly with the realisation that there is no productivity in an environment where people that need to be productive do not feel like they belong.

The same applies to sustainability: people want to, or should, consider sustainability to be an intrinsic part of their work, but appealing to people is the main priority; only through the human factor can sustainability be fairly developed and maintained long-term. Simultaneously, all this must be based upon a culture of transparency that facilitates fairness and continuous improvements.

B-Tonic helps

At B-Tonic, we connect people to sustainability and wellbeing through our initiatives that prioritize the long-term health, happiness, and overall wellbeing of individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. Our goal is to create a positive impact by promoting a sustainable approach that not only benefits employees but also contributes to a more resilient and sustainable future for all.

Do you want to know more about the impact of People Sustainability on your organisation?

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maartje vanewijk

Annelies Theunissen
People Sustainability Expert

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