The era of altruistic companies

The pandemic has accelerated the evolution of corporate organizational models. Organizations have changed in three ways: digitalization, sustainability and consumer power relating to company choices and actions. During this period of change, ‘new’ dimensions have come into the spotlight. Dimensions such as wellbeing, trust, collaboration, respect, diffused leadership and shared objectives. All of which follow the Olivetti business model.

In fact, it was Adriano Olivetti that believed that people’s lives should come onto the factory floor. “Today we’re still living with a paradox in the world of work. It sees people as being divided between their private and professional lives. But we have the opportunity to extend the corporate map. We can understand the lives of those within the business”, explained Riccarda Zezza Lifeed CEO at Organizations for people or people for organizations? an event for the 50th Aidp National Congress. At the event, she spoke with Isaac Getz, professor at ESCP Business School, expert on the global corporate liberation movement.

It shouldn’t feel so strange to talk about altruistic companies in the current age. But before remote working became the norm, people’s lives had been left out of the offices. “The complexity in our lives was already there before. But now, it is now much more visible”, highlighted Riccarda Zezza. “In the past, it seemed normal to have to ‘balance’ work and life. But looking after others is a part of our human nature. It’s a primal instinct for our race that reveals responsibilities. It makes us agents for change”.

‘Egoistic’ companies leave this concept at the picket line. But people’s resources are already very present within our companies. “To reframe the situation, we don’t need to add new forms from the top down. Rather we need to make space for people’s identity dimensions. By bringing life to work, we can build an altruistic economy and society”.

Caring for the business ecosystem

So, how can companies translate this into their practices today? According to Isaac Getz, altruistic companies have three main characteristics. “They care for all members of the business ecosystem. They work unconditionally throughout all of their processes and core business. That’s how we can grow our bottom lines”. With their ethical actions in relation to stakeholders, focusing on sustainability and human values, these businesses achieve positive results.

On the other hand, 87% of Millennials believe that business success can not be measured in revenue alone. 89% of consumers would be ready to stop buying from a brand in order to favour another with a key social focus.

Focusing on social value is key. “People, clients, suppliers, communities. The mix of all these ‘ingredients’ really adds the finishing touches to a business: financial results that emerge from a caring business ecosystem“.

According to Getz, managers and HR directors are called to change organizations. They need to abandon the idea of top-down leadership and leaving their egos at the door. Instead, it’s time to move towards an altruistic vision, with core business processes that offer social value for their clients, suppliers and communities. It’s all about improving the lives of those that ‘live’ in the ecosystem.