By focusing on six fundamental human needs through work, companies can unlock more of their people’s potential, bolster trust and see an increase in business performance — even in times of crisis or amid weak GDP growth, according to a new research report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
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Workplace Trust: How to elevate people and boost your business (Photo: Business Wire)
Titled “Care to Do Better: Building Trust to Leave Your People and Your Business Net Better Off,” the report is based on surveys of 3,200 C-suite executives (“CXOs”) and more than 15,000 workers spanning 15 industries and 10 countries.
The research introduces a framework called “Net Better Off,” which centers on the six distinct and connected dimensions that leaders must focus on to unlock their people’s potential:
- Emotional & Mental. Feeling positive emotions and maintaining mental wellness (e.g., a sense of accomplishment, compassion, happiness, fulfillment and optimism);
- Relational. Feeling a strong sense of belonging and inclusion and having many strong personal relationships;
- Physical. Being in good physical health and equipped to take on normal daily stresses;
- Financial. Being financially secure without undue economic stress or worry and having equitable opportunity for future economic stability and advancement;
- Purposeful. Feeling that one makes a positive difference to the world and that life has meaning and a greater sense of purpose beyond oneself; and
- Employable. Having marketable, in-demand capabilities and skills that make it easy to obtain good jobs and equitable career-advancement opportunities.
A key finding: Nearly two-thirds (64%) of people’s potential at work, defined as using and developing their skills each day, is influenced by whether or not they feel better off across the six dimensions. Further, while the emotional, relational and purposeful dimensions are the strongest drivers of positive employee behavior, most employers focus their efforts on only the employable and financial dimensions.
“Providing an environment that inspires both trust and people to work to their full potential lifts both the individual and the business — and this is even more true during times of crisis,” said Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer. “Ultimately, the compounding health, economic and social crises will pass; people will remember how they were treated and make choices about who they want to work for and where they’ll do business. Organizations that recognize this now and help their people become Net Better Off, will win in the market of the future.”
The Net Better Off Gap
The research identified a significant gap pre-pandemic regarding where the responsibility for making people Net Better Off at work lies — with workers then far more likely than CXOs (67% vs. 35%) to say that the responsibility lies with the employer.
However, this gap has shrunk during the pandemic — to 78% vs. 50% — indicating that CXOs are moving in the right direction and taking responsibility for making their people Net Better Off, but still have work to do to better align with their people on expectations.
Five “Sweet Spot” practices that deliver for people and the organization
Accenture’s analysis found that organizations that make their people Net Better Off and implement specific organizational practices could achieve incremental revenue growth of as much as 5% even when GDP growth is weak, as it is now.
Using statistical testing, Accenture sorted through more than 20 practices that have the potential to help people become Net Better Off and improve business performance, then identified five “Sweet Spot” practices that deliver the greatest impact in both areas:
- Enable continuous learning to ensure a future-ready workforce can shift at scale.
- Listen to what your people need at the front lines, empowering them with real-time data.
- Use technology to enable flexible work arrangements and more creative work for your workforce that is increasingly dispersed.
- Champion workforce well-being and equality. Safety and relational needs are more important than ever.
- Set and share your people metrics. Set accountability for diversity and equality, be transparent and engage in intentional conversations that matter to your people.
The Modern HR Leader
The report notes that to succeed in this new era, chief human resources officers (CHROs) must change the way they think about their own job, championing the dimensions of Net Better Off and the Sweet Spot practices. Acting as catalysts for growth and culture change, this new type of CHRO — what Accenture refers to as “Modern HR leaders” — moves beyond efficiency and process execution to create experiences grounded in care for people and concern for their communities, while accelerating the performance of the business.
“To ensure that their companies continue to thrive, especially during challenging economic and social times, CHROs must return to their most fundamental mission: caring for workers and unlocking their potential,” said Dr. David Rodriguez, Marriott International’s global CHRO and co-author of the report. “The workplace provides an opportunity for building self-worth and belonging, and the alignment of values and purpose strengthens both the person and the organization.”
TWEET: Companies that bolster #trust and unlock people’s potential can see an increase in business performance – even in times of crisis or amid weak GDP by following new Accenture #NetBetterOff framework. http://accntu.re/ModernHR
About the Research
The report is based on four proprietary Accenture research initiatives: a survey of 15,665 workers across skill levels and generations; a survey of 3,200+ C-level executives, split evenly between HR decision-makers and CXOs; 35 in-depth interviews with CHROs, CEOs and academic experts; and econometric modeling to determine the relationship between Net Better Off and companies’ revenues. Both surveys were conducted in 10 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States); covered 15 industries (aerospace & defense, banking, communications, consumer goods & services, energy (oil and gas), freight & logistics, health, insurance, media, public sector, retail, technology (high tech), travel, U.S. federal government, utilities); and were conducted between October 2019 and July 2020.
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services in strategy and consulting, interactive, technology and operations, with digital capabilities across all of these services. We combine unmatched experience and specialized capabilities across more than 40 industries — powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. With 513,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture brings continuous innovation to help clients improve their performance and create lasting value across their enterprises. Visit us at www.accenture.com.
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