“A good company offers excellent products and services. A great company also offers excellent products and services, but also strives to make the world a better place.” Philip Kotler, Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause
The whole business community is concerned and crying about the ease of doing business as far as the Government’s role is concerned. There is a country wise Index of ease of doing business.
The irony is the same business community is ignorant about the ease of doing business they are offering to their customers (Ignore suppliers for a moment).
There is neither an Index of Effortless Experience nor any thought process about it within the organization.
Advertising is an interruption to people’s life, cold calls are irritating and customer service is frustrating. Yet the businesses want ease of doing business fro the Govt because they generate employment and adds to GDP.
Our organizations have become technology-centric, some are products centric and most are merely profit-centric.
Like ISO 9000, there is a new standard BS ISO 27500 which is about Human Centered Organisation (HCO) published in 2016.
The ISO Site states;
ISO 27500:2016 is intended for executive board members and policymakers of all types of organizations (whether large or small) in the private, public and non-profit sectors.
It describes the values and beliefs that make an organization human-centred, the significant business benefits that can be achieved, and explains the risks for the organization of not being human-centred.
This standard lays down 7 principles for an HCO.
- Capitalising on Individual Differences
- Making usability and accessibility, strategic business objectives
- Adopting a total system approach
- Ensuring health, safety and wellbeing are business priorities
- Valuing personnel and creating meaningful work
- Openness and trustworthiness
- Acting in a socially responsible ways
Like for all other standards, this standard is not for mere compliance for any direct business benefits. This is about the company culture. The company culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage. Nothing else sustains.
“Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.” David Cummings, Cofounder, Pardot.
Therefore, companies need to go beyond compliance mode and live the HCO principles, daily and at all forums.
Following are my take on what makes an organization Human-Centric. Some are complementary to the standard above and some might be repetitive.
- The Organisation at the top level discusses employee and customer experience it is creating.
- Passionate about helping the target audience rather than mere selling.
- Using Content Marketing approach to help rather than interruption advertising.
- Using Human Centered Service Design principles to design customer experience.
- The organization has Ethical standards which govern the approach to deal with all the stakeholders.
- The organization measures and publish Employees Engagement Index
- The organization measures and publish Effortless Customer Experience Index
- The organization measures and publish Sustainable Suppliers Index
- As a good neighbour helping the local communities in whatever way.
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On the day of the launch of this standard on 1st Sep 2016, Tom Stewart, a past president of the CIEHF and deputy chair of the Council for Work and Health, said:
“Human well-being is now widely recognized as an important economic measure to complement traditional measures of national output. Increasingly, organizations are not just expected to make a profit but also to take their responsibility to society very seriously. The two go hand-in-hand and companies that take social responsibility and strive to achieve this new Standard will motivate employees, maximizing their potential. As a result, business will benefit from reduced staff turnover and increased customer focus.”
Caveat: Most companies will fail in the above parameters because either their WHY is unanswered or is not inspiring.
WHY in the first place they are in the business?
The following quote from the book Looptail, by Bruce Poon Tip of G Adventures. Set the reference of WHY right;
“…. Social enterprise to me is about solving standard business problems with solutions that address social issues like environmental sustainability and economic inequality. That idea started a non-profit world, but more and more, you see it creeping into the for-profit world because the consumer is demanding it.
The customer doesn’t want to purchase something randomly; they want to know where that product is coming from and to identify with that brand. They want to know why they should purchase it and why they should purchase it from you. They want to understand what that brand and the people behind it stand for.”
This is what an organization needs to demonstrate to the world. Human Centred Organisations are not only Human-centric but are purpose centric also. Selling and making money are the by-products and subservient to the WHY.
BS ISO 27500 is a new standard. The companies (though very less) who live by these standards will get it easily. They may be living by many more additional principles suggested above. Many others will be aspired to become Human Centered and the rest will be exposed about their inhumane business practices. The choice is clear.
Corporate Social Responsibility starts once the organization is Human Centred and acting on the above principles.
“ In a truly great company profit and cash flow become like blood and water to a healthy body: They are absolutely essential for life, but they are not the very point of life.”Jim Collins, Author “Good to Great
(HCO standard was introduced in 2016 and the book Good to Great was published in 2001.)
Being Human is not only Salman Khan’s prerogative, but it is the necessity and responsibility of every organization.
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