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One of your company's biggest positive impacts on society will be the jobs you provide, and the wealth you put into the community via the wages you pay. But a big positive can be a big minus if you discriminate - or you provide soul destroying meaningless work that takes no account of your people's right to a private life. And the simple fact of the matter is that if people are your company's greatest asset, you need to invest seriously to begin to realise the returns.

It's your business

You employ a lot of people - but how much do you really get from them? If you pay out good money to recruit talent, but then find you can't keep hold of it, it may be that you're missing out on a basic truth of human nature - people need to be developed, and challenged, and nurtured for them to be motivated to meet your business goals. And if you hold people back because of their sex, or the colour of their skin - or you insist that if they've left the office before 7pm they don't have what it takes to make a senior manager, or if you think training is a mugs game because people might leave - then you're certainly not getting the most from your recruitment.

Recent surveys of business leaders have suggested that the ability to recruit and hold onto key talent is one of the biggest emerging issues for businesses. And there is plenty of evidence as well that the corporate reputation of the business - including its social responsibilty - is seen as a key factor for a significant number of recent graduates considering where they should go.

What's the benefit?

Strength through diversity! If you only ever employ people who look like you, the chances are you will only ever sell to people who look like you as well. Your customers want to look at your company and see themselves reflected back - and if you want to know how to approach that increasingly diverse marketplace, you need to employ people who understand the motivations and the aspirations of all your customers.

Make the most of your resources! If your people see your company as a stepping stone, and your turnover is high, you're watching good money walk straight out of the door and into the arms of your competitors. People will stay if the company is one they feel proud to work for, if they feel their work is valued and they are stretched to their full capability - and if they can work for you and enjoy the benefits of a great home life as well.

Manage Risk! You don't need to be told how complex employment legislation has become. It really is a factor now that unhappy employees means potential lawsuits and tribunals - even if the company eventually wins its case, it can be time consuming and costly.

What are the issues?

  • Work-life balance of your employees
  • Managing diversity in the workforce
  • Training, development and life-long learning
  • Eradicating abusive or bullying behaviour
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