Human sustainability at the centre of new HR strategies

In the years after the start of the pandemic, companies have experienced great changes with considerable impacts on the labour market and on employability: first of all, there has been an acceleration in the digital transition and, as a consequence, the skill mismatch has increased. The pandemic has also led people to focus more on themselves, an aspect that is linked to the phenomenon of the Great Resignation.

So how has the concept of well-being changed for people and companies? What are the new priorities and what skills have been developed? This was discussed during the Presentation of the results of the Lifeed Work-Life Observatory based on the 2021 Survey and those of the HR Innovation Practice Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano.

The Politecnico research showed that only 9% of workers say they feel good across all three dimensions of well-being (physical, psychological, social) and that engagement has dropped from 20% last year (already a low figure) to 14% today

As Martina Mauri, Director of the HR Innovation Practice Observatory, explains, it is becoming necessary for companies’ HR departments to put a “Connected People Care” strategy into practice aimed at connecting people through digital tools, to promote their empowerment and involvement, valuing them from every perspective and also taking their soft skills into account. In this context, the use of data and digital tools is crucial for decision-making, personalisation of services, communication and involvement of people.

70% of talent is found in personal roles

The study shows, however, that few organisations are aware of the resources and talents they have at their disposal in relation to people’s role skills. Regarding precisely this aspect, the data from the Lifeed Work-Life Observatory presented by Chiara Bacilieri, Lifeed Head of Data, show that most of people’s talents are to be found in their private lives, and therefore outside organisational boundaries: 70% in personal roles, 30% in professional roles.

This suggests to companies that starting by listening and developing people’s awareness, with a data-driven approach, is the right way to help them transfer skills between private and professional life, allowing them to express themselves in a more open way and transforming difficulties into opportunities, both at an individual and organisational level.

A holistic approach to people is needed

On the other hand, as pointed out by Fortunato Costantino, People care, Employees & Unions Relationship Manager at Q8 Kuwait Petroleum Italia, the pandemic has increased the self-awareness of individuals, who now require more attentive listening to their needs, in the professional sphere too. In valuing the multiple identity dimensions of people, Q8 promotes all-inclusive and interdisciplinary training that encourages the exercising of skills built up by individuals in their various life roles.

However, to take advantage of this vision, according to Costantino, a cultural change is first of all needed to create a socially sustainable organisation with a holistic approach to the various dimensions of people’s lives.

This vision also has an impact on the achievement of financial targets and on performance measurement. From the perspective of corporate profit, the key is to create a link between sustainability commitments and financial results, favouring a balance with people’s needs. Regarding the performance of individuals, the shift required on the part of companies is from static and periodic verification of results to a dynamic assessment that looks more to the future than to the past, including through the practice of continuous feedback.

We cannot separate ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills

Today, therefore, it is no longer sustainable to separate the dimensions of private and professional life. Federico Pistillo, Marketing & Communication Strategy of Grenke Italia, is convinced of this. He believes that we cannot even divide ‘soft’ skills from ‘hard’ skills, because the former enable the development of the latter, and both are needed to make the organisation work.

Fostering crossover between the private and working spheres, embracing the sum of everyone’s life transitions in a positive way, provides benefits for everyone involved: Pistillo highlights how, when a person is more satisfied, he or she is more inclined to give more at work as well, and this makes the organisation evolve more effectively.

To achieve this, the company must ensure its actions are consistent with its declarations, through the ‘good example’ of the management.