Day 2 1115_stephen_bevan

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Day 2 1115_stephen_bevan

  1. 1. ©The Work Foundation Stephen Bevan Director, Centre for Workforce Effectiveness The Work Foundation & Honorary Professor Lancaster University The Ethical & Moral Contract
  2. 2. Themes • A crisis of trust in Institutions? • HR as ‘Moral Compass’? • ‘Good Work’ & Engagement • Reconnecting with Business ‘Purpose’ ©The Work Foundation
  3. 3. ©The Work Foundation Crisis of Trust In Our Institutions? • Issues of business purpose and leadership, and of morality, transparency and trust: – The Banking System – The Catholic Church – BP – Gulf of Mexico – Political Institutions
  4. 4. HR as ‘Moral Compass’? ©The Work Foundation Leadership Development Executive Remuneration Complicity through Inaction
  5. 5. Traditional ‘Ethical stewardship’ role of HR? • Employment regulation: minimum standards of conduct with an ethical underpinning based on standards of decency and fairness • Dealing with managers who have an impatience with the 'restrictive rules' of HR • What is the HR role when there is something more sinister or systemic going on in a business? ©The Work Foundation
  6. 6. Example 1: Leadership Development • HR knows the leadership competencies, behaviours and values which drive employee engagement and deliver high-performance working • Process for appointing the most senior leaders can sometimes ignore all of this good evidence and use different criteria • Can be a point at which HR influence over good practice evaporates ©The Work Foundation
  7. 7. Example 2: Executive Remuneration • Are the deliberations of remuneration committees are informed in any substantive way by the advice of HR specialists? • Risks of bonuses or share options containing ‘perverse’ incentives or focusing too much on short- term gain or ignoring the wider principles of distributive justice within the business • HR faces a big challenge if it is to re-establish a credible and moderating influence ©The Work Foundation
  8. 8. Example 3: Complicity Through Inaction • Many HR professionals have seen systematic bad practice in recent times • Others may have felt unable to challenge unethical decisions which have been driven by aggressive business targets or the clamour for survival • Would more willingness to speak out by some in HR roles might have had a mitigating effect? ©The Work Foundation
  9. 9. HR as ‘Moral Compass’? ©The Work Foundation Today’s crisis of confidence in business ethics is the true test of whether HR has any strategic influence over business strategy and corporate behaviour
  10. 10. ‘Good Work’ and Engagement ©The Work Foundation
  11. 11. ©The Work Foundation A working definition of “Good Work” • Employment security • Control over the content & pace of work • “Task discretion” and interesting/challenging work • A proper balance between effort and reward • Procedural justice • Learning & growth opportunities • High trust relationships (“social capital”); collective and individual voice
  12. 12. ©The Work Foundation Meaning & Purpose
  13. 13. ©The Work Foundation More than just a job… • It’s hard to imagine ‘good work’ that is meaningless • People are looking for more than a job - they are seeking meaning from the work they do • This principle applies universally • Financial goals may well be intrinsic, they are not sufficient as a definition of purpose
  14. 14. ©The Work Foundation The Explicit ‘Deal’
  15. 15. ©The Work Foundation Pay is important….but • …other factors matter to people too, such as • Transparency, fairness & justice at work • Mutuality – with a focus on ER • Flexibility • Investment in skills, diversity and employability
  16. 16. ©The Work Foundation ‘Fairness’ – Key Concepts • Justice (balance; procedural; distributive) • Meritocracy • Due desert for discretionary effort (“I eat what I kill”) • Proportionality • Equity?
  17. 17. ©The Work Foundation The Implicit ‘Deal’
  18. 18. ©The Work Foundation Investing in Engagement • Starting point for engaging employees is making the connection to the purpose of the organisation and their part in it • Leaders must convey this purpose with clarity, consistency and authenticity • Line managers are key to achieving the potential double benefit of improved performance and an engaged workforce who feel, with conviction, that the organisation is a good place to work
  19. 19. ©The Work Foundation Job Quality • Autonomy • Task discretion • Variety • Control • …all strongly linked to discretionary effort, performance, retention and both physical & mental health and resilience
  20. 20. ©The Work Foundation UK workers report limited job control 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% SE NL AT DK FI MT DE LU SI BE HU FR EE EU-27 IE IT CZ SK PL LV PT RO UK CY BG EL LT ES Source: European Working Conditions Survey
  21. 21. ©The Work Foundation When Work Goes
  22. 22. ©The Work Foundation Is Any Job a ‘Good Job’? • Just how much work means to people is clear when there is no work • Redundancy and ‘Good Work’ are not incompatible • Financial crisis has highlighted many examples where open dialogue, flexibility & giving employees a voice has cushioned the blow of job loss
  23. 23. ©The Work Foundation Employability • Is employability becoming the contemporary definition of ‘security’ in the world of work? • Role for modern Unions? • Access to skill development & re-skilling • The way an employer handles redundancy is the acid test of its claim to be a ‘good work’ organisation, rather than a negation of it
  24. 24. ©The Work Foundation A Challenge to Business
  25. 25. ©The Work Foundation A Great Place to Work? • How confident are you that your senior leadership does a good job of connecting people to the purpose of the organisation? • How much would prioritising and promoting a stronger culture of transparency enable you to enhance employee trust and engagement? • In a world where employees want more flexibility, autonomy, voice and opportunities for development and personal growth, how adequately is your organisation responding? • How much are the principles and practice of ‘good work’ evident in your approach to managing job losses and redundancy?
  26. 26. www.theworkfoundation.com ©The Work Foundation

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