Integrating human sustainability and employee engagement

Human sustainability refers to the extent to which an organization adds value for people. This concept encompasses enhancing individuals’ health and well-being, skill sets, employability, access to good jobs, advancement opportunities, progress towards equity, a sense of belonging, and connections to purpose. Organizations that adopt this perspective have the potential to create a beneficial cycle where improving human outcomes enhances organizational outcomes and vice versa, contributing to a better future for all.

The role of employee engagement

Employee engagement is an indicator of individuals’ commitment and dedication to their organization. However, social metrics often lack clear definitions or standards. For instance, metrics on employee engagement essentially show how much voluntary effort employees are willing to expend for the benefit of their organization. High employee engagement benefits the organization, but whether it benefits the employees is less clear.

The impact of technology

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation significantly affects employees’ experiences in the workplace. AI can automate routine tasks, allowing employees to allocate more time to meaningful work. However, the inability of AI to mimic human creativity, empathy, and potential threats to job security are significant factors that need to be considered in the context of people-centered sustainability and employee engagement.

People-centered approaches

People-centered sustainability requires an organization’s effort to increase its impact on individuals across various dimensions. This includes not only current employees but also future employees, extended (contingent, freelance, or external supply chain) workers, customers, investors, communities where the organization operates, and society at large.

The link between human sustainability and employee engagement is critical for both short and long-term success for organizations. Organizations can bridge these concepts by prioritizing the well-being and development of their employees and exploring how technology can enrich the human experience. People-centered approaches are a significant step towards building a better future not only for individuals but also for society as a whole.