Posted by: healingtheworkplace | September 28, 2009

Values At Work And The Triple Bottom Line


Last week I touched on the need for organizations to become more values-driven. Values-driven organizations operate based on the following fundamental human values:

  • fairness
  • compassion
  • respect
  • reverence for nature

Increasingly businesses that “live” these values are also more profitable. It’s a win-win situation but becoming a values-driven organization is not always easy. Fortunately there are organizations and other resources available to help.

I came across the book “Values-driven Business” by Ben Cohen and Mal Warwick. This book is part of a serious of books published by the Social Venture Network. 

The Social Venture Network is about promoting the concept of values-based business. SVN’s model includes the following “five dimensions of values-based business”:

  • Employees
  • Suppliers
  • Customers
  • Community
  • Environment

This is an expanded version of the 3 P’s of Socially Responsible Business: People, Planet and Profits.

Chapter Three of  the book Values-driven Business is titled “First Thing First: Your Employees.

“The most valuable asset any company possesses is its intellectual capital, which is the accumulated knowledge of its workforce as well as its management.”

The authors describe six reasons for treating employees well and paying them a “living wage”:

  1. Employees will find their work more satisfying and be more productive.
  2. The costs of high employee turnover are as great or greater than the cost of a decent compensation package.
  3. Low-paying jobs attract only those who can’t find work elsewhere.
  4. Employees who are paid low wages will often be forced to take second jobs. These employees are more likely to come to work exhausted and have added health problems.
  5. Poorly paid employees are more likely to steal from the company they work for.
  6. Low wages tend to result in poor morale, poor customer service and low productivity.

One interesting note…not-for-profit organizations which have traditionally been values-driven are now being encouraged to become more “business like” and for-profit organizations are being encouraged to become more like not-for-profits in the way they do business.

Cheers, Lesley


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