Olivia, a global consulting firm that specializes in organizational transformation, has stated the importance of businesses aiming towards strategic sustainability management as an alternative to reduce the risk that emerges from an increasing phenomena in the labor market known as “The Great Resignation.”

This concept refers to the voluntary departure of employers due to the loss of meaning behind their jobs that has increased significantly after the COVID-19 crisis. From 2020 until today, over 50 million people in the United States have quit their jobs as a result of what experts call a lack of “alignment” between their individual motivation and that of their organization. According to one of the latest surveys from Gallup, the American analytics and advisory company, only one in five employees of the world feels committed to their job.

Juan Parodi, Partner and Global Director of Sustainability & Impact at Olivia stated, “A significant disarrangement has occurred between people and organizations after the global health emergency.” Parodi led the “Engagement for Sustainability” conference that brought together executives, experts and change agents in Latin America. 

The Great Resignation serves as proof of the reality behind what’s occurring in job positions: employees are searching for a sense of meaning. Business and personal motivations are unaligned. Leaders of sustainability in businesses are facing extremely complex challenges. The meeting tackled these challenges and placed sustainability at the center of business, breaking barriers in order to reach the collective commitment required for transformation to persist through time. “Leaders in sustainability are being called to challenge the status quo, mediate conflict, lead and carry out transformation and monitor the fulfillment of goals,” said Parodi. 

The numbers reported by Olivia after the convention showed that seven of every ten professionals considers sustainability as an important pillar, but 62% observes a poor level of commitment and nearly 80% admits that their positions lack the necessary tools to carry out progress.

Gustavo Gomez, Associate Director of Sustainability and Impact at Olivia for Latin America, expressed that “challenging the business of sustainability could serve as the drive for new communication and input from this starting point to the business conditions of the future. Businesses can anticipate their triple impact and how these measurements can create a positive framework to generate cost-effectiveness.”

This could potentially impact corporate identity, talent retention and new market conditioning, among other factors, added Gomez. A solid transformation strategy held by leaders in sustainability is built on three levels: adapting the organization in its regular compliance, generating an internal transformation that is carried out transversally and integrating lasting change in management and the way of work within the organization. 

Parodi, author of a recent post that integrates innovation opportunities that arise from sustainability as “a new frontier for knowledge,” insisted that participation from diverse work teams is fundamental in order to consolidate “profitable sustainability and sustainable profit within business.” “Sustainability must be integrated in business culture and the way it operates in each organization. This is a complex yet effective task.”

Engagement strategies

The best strategies for engagement (the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work) combine two complementary ideas. The first involves the strategies implemented from directive roles, or those that establish formal mechanisms such as a sustainability committee (integrated by different areas), cross-sectoral organization in sustainability or models for decision making. 

Parodi has stated that the transversal aspect of these formal mechanisms could serve as an inspiration for an organization’s sustainability agenda. “Today, over 500 of the most important companies in the U.S. use cost-effective metrics linked to compensation for their executives.”

The second idea involves voluntary initiatives with strategies and tactics that are also defined by management, but aim for a more “spontaneous” and less vertical model of progression. This level implements actions such as work through challenges and “gamification”, community development, sponsorship and its quality, group work and reports. 

“We must steer away from engagement being considered a matter of sustainability. It should be taken on by all leaders, fomented by managers and include all employees. Connecting our business’ agenda with its sustainability agenda is crucial in order to achieve this. The more strategic it comes across, the better,” concluded Gomez.

By Juan Parodi, Partner and Global Director of Sustainability & Impact at Olivia and Gustavo

Gomez, Associate Director at Olivia and expert in matters of triple impact. 

Full article published by America Retail here

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