As algorithms play a growing role in the governance of society and our capabilities as a species, the spotlight is fixed firmly on big tech to steer disruption in the right direction. Tasked with the challenge of transforming our economies to promote sustainability and equality, we turn to those at the helm of innovation to help us forge a future that is good for both the planet and its people.
While the response has been somewhat progressive from industry giants, it is not the leaders driving change as much as it is their teams. Increasingly, tech workers around the world are urging their employers to change their ways and address the impending ethical concerns of their programs and strategies for evolution. As the chorus of tech workers grows louder, it becomes more and more difficult for their employers to stand still.
Yet, staff at companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon are not unique in their demands. Amidst a flood of environmental and humanitarian crises, it’s inevitable that awareness would trigger action and prompt organisations of every sector to rethink their long-term strategies.
Deep in the digital age, data is immediate and information travels at breakneck speed.
Sweeping unethical points within a supply chain under the proverbial rug may have been possible before, but today’s social media culture means that any business behaving badly is named and shamed for the world to see.
This spread of information has led to an increased sense of our own accountability and the accountability of our employers. The more conscious we become of our collective impact on the planet and driven we become towards achieving social justice, the more pressure is piled on employers to “do the right thing”.
The idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) isn’t new. We’ll define it here as a mechanism that holds companies accountable for their impact on people and the planet. Yet, now more than ever, this is translating to culture and dramatically impacting recruitment and retention.
What may have once felt like a box-ticking exercise is now an essential component of a competitive business. No longer are we as consumers satisfied with a lack of transparency from big corporations – on the contrary, we largely base our purchasing and employment decisions on the reputation companies have earned.
Today, individuals want to work for organisations whose values align with their own; they are motivated to perform their best work for brands who boast a clear purpose that extends beyond profitability or shareholder needs. This sentiment was echoed in PwC’s recent Workforce of the Future survey, which found that 88 per cent of employees want to work for a company who shares their values.
At executive level, the impact is greater, for it is those heading up organisations that act as ambassadors of their brand. In everything they do, executives should embody the company values and be transparent about the business’ true intentions.
With talent increasingly evaluating prospective employers on their commitment to environmental and social good, those who fail to act will inevitably start to see sizeable skills gaps as their teams leave for companies with a clean slate and clear social goals.
About Sam Wallace
Based in California, Sam leads our Technology Practice specialized in Director to VP level roles. With over 20 years of experience in Europe, Canada and the US, she understands how to solve her technology clients’ talent needs in an increasingly demanding market.
Is your organisation looking to improve it sustainability and equality hiring strategy? Find out how Sam and Carmichael Fisher can help by contacting her directly here.