Although environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have been rising steadily up the business agenda for a number of years, the COVID-19 pandemic has now highlighted just how important it is that employers have a sustainable business model. 

In ESG’s early days, most organisations focused their efforts on environmental matters. But the crisis also revealed huge gaps in economic and social equality, as well as the value of individual and collective health and wellness.  

This situation, in turn, shone a spotlight on the important role employers could play in balancing purpose and profit and engaging in a kinder form of capitalism that emphasised the wellbeing of their people.  

So, to reflect this important shift in thinking, the theme of this year’s Zellis Connect customer conference, which will be held on 2-3 November in Birmingham, is ‘Sustainable Connections’.  

To this end, the conference will explore how we can and are helping customers in their efforts to create more sustainable business models that support both the organisation and its employees more effectively. 

Shaping a better future 

Another important focus of Zellis Connect 2021: Sustainable Connections will be to demonstrate the key role that payroll and HR professionals, when armed with the right software and services, have to play in helping shape a better future that works for everyone. 

In order to demonstrate that we are truly putting our money where our mouth is, however, the event will open by unveiling our new purpose-driven ESG strategy. This strategy will highlight the vital role of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion both within Zellis itself and in terms of our product and services roadmap. 

How can organisations go about striking the right balance between purpose and profit in this new reality? Our Zellis Connect breakout sessions and keynote speakers will provide answers to these questions by exploring three significant Es and why they are important: engagement, empowerment and efficiency.  

1. Engagement 

A key driver in employee engagement terms these days centres on how we show up and behave as a business. This includes our vision of the impact we want to have on the world and the quality of relationships that exist within, and between, our teams.  

As a result, activities such as listening, understanding and responding to the needs of all our people, as well as valuing and rewarding them as individuals, are vital. It is also crucial to create a safe space so employees feel they can truly bring their authentic selves to work, wherever that may be. 

As a means of helping to maintain high levels of engagement among members of today’s progressively dispersed and globalised workforces, however, providing access to appropriate new platforms and processes will only grow in importance. 

2. Empowerment 

Enabling effective employee empowerment starts with organisational culture. In other words, leaders need to be prepared to share power, create leadership opportunities for others and establish flatter organisational structures. 

To this end, it is imperative, among other things, to ensure inclusive behaviours that encourage feelings of belonging are promoted and rewarded, and that progression and promotion opportunities are open to all, including members of marginalised communities. Just as important, however, is to champion personal responsibility and accountability and provide opportunities for self-directed learning and personalised career development. 

One valuable way of doing this is to use data as a means of continually evaluating the situation of the workforce in order to identify opportunities to improve the employee experience. 

3. Efficiency 

To achieve efficiency in a purpose-driven world, organisations must support personal sustainability and design personalised workplaces that enable ‘flow’.  

A key consideration here is in giving employees the necessary tools, autonomy and support to help them manage their time and workloads so that ‘work can work for them’. Another includes encouraging the formation of diverse teams and creating a safe environment for people to speak up, enabling problems to be solved quickly. 

A further important thing to think about is automating administrative processes as doing so enables HR teams to focus more on the ‘human’ element of their role, thereby ensuring they are able to drive real organisational change. 

So, let’s share a better world together. Register for Zellis Connect 2021: Sustainable Connections here and now