According to the World Bank, for more than a decade prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, global productivity growth slowed down. Pre-Covid, the UK were the lowest performers of the G7 countries, a staggering 30 per cent lower than the USA and 35 per cent lower than Germany. Equate this to the number of people your organisation employs, and effectively one out of every three of the UK employees are not creating economic wealth compared to their American or German employees.
The pandemic offers us several productivity-enhancing opportunities for those organisations willing to seize them
Suddenly, when the pandemic hit, the global economy was plunged into its deepest recession since the Second World War. As we enter this current period of recovery, many factors will hamper our productivity recovery including heavy debt burdens, shifts in labour markets, weaker investments, and an empty public purse with lifelong debt.
However, at the same time, the pandemic offers us several productivity-enhancing opportunities for those organisations willing to seize them. Namely, employee wellbeing and organisational purpose.
We believe the pandemic marked a major generational shift in attitudes towards the wellbeing of the individual, the organisation and wider society. Regions of the world like India and the Middle East, with historically poor attitudes to mental health, began to change their views as Governments initiated mental health support for the first time.
Many employees themselves have reevaluated their own attitudes to wellbeing, including a renewed appreciation for work/life integration and balance. Even business owners themselves reveal a marked change in their attitudes towards employee wellbeing, with 63 per cent of business leaders saying they have changed their views on mental health issues.
The United Nations has identified 17 global Sustainable Development Goals that would transform our planet and the societies that we live and work in
A greater focus on purpose
There is also an even bigger picture at stake here, that of global sustainability. The United Nations has identified 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that, if achieved, would transform our planet and the societies that we live and work in. Organisations are becoming more aware of these goals, how they link to their employee’s life purpose and are now considering how they can participate in their achievement as part of their sustainability strategies.
The way that employers promote and support the wellbeing of our people in the workspace, at home or in their premises, will be key to the achievement of these goals. Our personal wellbeing is highly dependent on a healthy environment; therefore, encouraging more exercise and healthier eating are beneficial to the environment too.
Economic security is financial wellbeing, and many companies are encouraging and supporting their people to achieve personal financial wellbeing. Altruism is community wellbeing with green spaces and clean air, directly contributing to higher levels of our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
An opportunity for change
At a time when organisations are emerging out of lockdown and evaluating how best to structure their return to work, there lies an opportunity for leadership teams to reflect on what has been learned from the Covid-19 experience, explore what people-related elements should be retained for the future, and capitalise on those gains at a personal and organisational level that can also have a positive impact on society and the public purse.
Some of the most successful global brands are now openly people centric and integrate social purpose into their brands
Socially responsible employers who care about employee wellbeing perform better than others. Evidence continues to emerge that shows the positive effects a commitment to people, planet and public services has on financial performance, corporate image, and stakeholder satisfaction. Consumers around the world no longer expect brands to just have a functional purpose, but a much higher one.
Consumers are demanding brands look after their people and contribute to a better, well-functioning society. Some of the most successful global brands are now openly people centric and integrate social purpose into their brands. The wealth generation ecosystem is your new model for creating a more engaging, progressive, and productive organisation.