Posted: Tue 8th Aug 2023
While technology has undoubtedly brought about many positive changes in our lives, it's also contributed to a decline in wellbeing and mental health.
Recent Gallup data shows that 60% of the global workforce is emotionally detached from work, while 19% feels miserable. From 1974 to 2008, the UK's annual average output was 2.4%, but from 2008 to 2020, it dropped to 0.5%.
This is a staggering statistic, especially when we consider the amount of investment that businesses have made in technology during this time.
We're now at a critical juncture in history, as we face a global employee mental-health crisis and have incredible new technology, such as AI, that could make a significant difference.
As such, technology decision-makers have a crucial role to play in ensuring that employees are happier, healthier and have better mental health.
For too long, the investment in technology has not improved our wellbeing, mental health and ability to act with compassion. This hasn't been a result of poor decision-making, but more of circumstance and evolution.
We can't ignore the new crisis and we can't ignore the power of AI and automation when it comes to making sure businesses remain compassionate.
Compassion, empathy and kindness aren't just business tools or training courses for HR or people teams. Compassion goes much deeper into the organisation. It should exist in every aspect of business operations, from customer journeys and hiring and onboarding processes to supply chains, transformation and the entire operating model.
Compassion is the new way of business thinking, and it's the business approach that the next generation of companies and leaders will operate from. However, we can’t wait for the next generation – we need to take action now.
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Expand the scope of ROIs
Technology leaders have to start thinking differently. Returns of investment (ROIs) should be expanded to include the positive impacts on employee wellbeing, mental health and compassion.
ROIs from tech spending should also include effects on environmental, social and governance (ESG) and, importantly, measure the improvements in human performance.
By human performance, we mean how much human time is being given back to people by eradicating non-value-adding tasks from job specifications and duties. Let's remove the ‘S’ in ESG and replace it with ‘C’ for compassion. Let's now have a new dashboard that is the pulse and heartbeat of the organisation – “ECG”.
Imagine if we could measure the positive impact on finances, operations and satisfaction of a hyper-digital worker co-existing with a nurse, customer service, finance, supervisors, and so on, simply by giving back time to people to be who they are – human.
This is the power of compassionate business, and technology decision-makers have a pivotal role to play in making this a reality.
With such a heavy burden of responsibility on technology's shoulders, there needs to be a different leadership style to ensure a more compassionate workforce.
In a recent Lunch and Learn, I outlined the 10 traits of successful compassionate entrepreneurs. By leading with compassion, we can create a world where technology and compassion intersect in the most positive way possible.