Nov '12

(How) Can You Sustain Ability?

The second BDO seminar posed a thought provoking question about the role of sustainability in talent acquisition and retention.  Is it leadership, as Simon Bailey suggests, or best in class internal communications to engage employees as Sam Lizars suggests, or a thorough brief with high values as Debby Lloyd said, and what makes Goldman Sachs the fourth “Best Company to Work For” according to Wayne Clarke’s Best Companies survey?  That seems a surprise, to say the least, but staff love GS!

Though we all like to think we are good employers the reality is that the stresses and strains of business life frequently lead to compromised decisions that can have a dire impact on staff morale, and jobs.  I’m sure that Comet staff will have a very different view of sustainability from DSG staff, and even though Starbucks may source Fair Trade coffee they won’t woo British customers by avoiding paying tax here.  It will be interesting to see if UK consumers punish Amazon and Google too.

Once again the lowest common denominator is doing the same things as before but with a different awareness, a sort of moral compass that the Brundtland Report suggests “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

It looks like us Martians (see previous blog) are entering a new age of ambiguity, we need to change the behaviours of our people to make sure we do the right things the right way.  What better tool is there than Kaplan & Norton’s Balanced Business Scorecard to shape what we do and how we do it?  So, it looks like it’s time to dust off the old slides and develop a new set of Social and Environmental KPIs.

And that brings us back to people; finding the right person with an appropriate skill set and an ability to lead the board through this new, and still largely uncharted, ambiguity is just the first challenge.

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