Individual support plans can ensure better working life for people with disabilities

shutterstock.   Maria Berghs, De Montfort University and Simon Dyson, De Montfort University In the United Kingdom, over 11 million people are living with a life-limiting condition, impairment or chronic illness. All of them are more likely than others to live in poverty, and face difficulties accessing education, employment and services. In particular, disabled people experience a disability gap in employment, with only around 53% of British disabled people employed. To combat this, in 2017, the UK government set an ambitious target of getting a million disabled people into employment. An important part of this plan was the “Disability Confident Scheme” which would involve employers committing to reasonable adjustments in the workplace, to ensure that a disabled person does not face any disadvantages. (The 2010 Equality Act says these adjustments are also important for diversity and equality.) But not many employers are familiar with disability – much less chronic …
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Climate conferences are male, pale and stale – it’s time to bring in women

Maria Tanyag, Australian National University and Jacqui True, Monash University The COP25 climate meeting in Madrid concluded over the weekend. As in past meetings, the talks failed to make much progress on international climate action. And again, the views and needs of women were largely ignored. Among the aims of the COP, or conference of parties to the Paris Agreement, was working towards “ambitious and gender-inclusive climate action”. That is, recognising the need to integrate gender considerations into national and international climate action. The first step to achieving this aim would be gender parity at international climate conferences such as the Madrid COP. While we don’t yet know how many of the 13,000 registered governmental delegates were women, based on past numbers they are unlikely to make up more than a quarter.   Read more: Worldwide, climate change is worse news for women This is not the only forum where the experiences of women are ignored…
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Can we rely on organisations to be socially and environmentally focused?

Can we rely on organisations to evolve from the capitalist ‘profit focused’ model to that of being socially and environmentally aware in sufficient time to save themselves and, more importantly, prevent adverse and irreversible impact on the world health and wellbeing?  

I am hopeful, as it will be in their interests to do so. 

Organisations will change because their stakeholders demand it and those organisations that do not listen or respond, will not thrive or they will cease to exist.  Stakeholders such as Fund Managers, Social Entrepreneurs, Governments, Consumers, Media and Analysts and Employees are becoming more active and aware and they are increasingly starting to voice their opinion and act so as to ensure that, what influence they do have, they have an impact.

Stakeholder effectiveness will vary depending on the industry, organization type, structure of organisation, size, etc but thankfully stakeholder influenc…

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Security of employment still remains key for many.

Notwithstanding the changing nature of the workplace and workforce, secure employment remains a key focus for many. 

Whilst organisations need to embrace the change in workplace and workforce structures, organisations can still do so in a manner that recognises the value of employment and training for every individual.  

Organisations should at all times avoid constructing arrangements to disguise relationships that would otherwise be recognised as an employment relationship  under the law.   Such arrangements undermine the relationship between the individual and the organisation, disadvantage the individual and evinces a clear intention of the organisation's view on compliance with the country's laws.   

It is recognised however that there is also a need for the legislative landscape to be improved to permit organisations to 'invest' in those individuals who are in a 'true' non-employment relatio…

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Lego – the big little construction company showing the way.

Sustainability requires the increased use of renewable resources and a reduced reliance on non-renewable resources and the sustainable use of renewable resources requires that the renewable resources are used at a rate that is less than, or equal to, their rate of natural replenishment.

In an article by John Glenday in the Drum titled 'Lego unveils sustainable bricks made from sugarcane as brand continues eco overhaul' it was noted that:

'Lego is upping the ante on sustainability with a new range of plant-shaped bricks built from sugarcane plastic.' and'Commenting on the new range Tim Brooks, vice-president of environmental responsibility said: “At the Lego Group we want to make a positive impact on the world around us and are working hard to make great play products for children using sustainable materials".'

Congratulations to Lego.

Has your organisation undertaken a review of the products and services used in…

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Business and Sustainability: Doing Well By Doing Good

Organisations are increasingly being assessed not only on 'profit' achievement but also the costs incurred in achieving that result. They are increasingly being rewarded and/or punished for the positive and/or negative impacts that their activities have on the environment and the wellbeing of society.

Investors, suppliers, customers and the community are increasingly looking at, such things as an organisation's environmental impact, its labour and employment practices, supply chain practices, community contributions and broader governance practices.

Some organisations have already, or are in the process of changing, as reducing these environmental and society costs align with their essential purpose as an organisation whilst other organisations are starting to change for self interest. Either way, is okay, provided change takes place.

3 Steps that will assist organisations in bring about change?

(1) Executive reward and remuneration s…

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Is your workplace culture killing your business?

I have been lucky to have worked with a lot of different companies on governance and sustainability, across many different industries.  Sometimes it’s been good, and other times challenging.

When heading into a business I quickly try to ascertain the culture, the people and the way the business works.  One thing that I have learned is that business success is strongly influenced by culture. And culture, is strong influenced by the leadership team.  Poor leadership can create a toxic workplace culture, and businesses that have a toxic workplace culture are doomed. 

I guess it’s no surprise that a toxic workplace can have far reaching repercussions for the performance of an organisation. The impact on employee efficiency, absent days and employee turnover, to name only a few, will all be adversely impacted.

Governance structures are hugely important in reducing the potential of a toxic workplace developing.  Just as impo…

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Corporate support for employee volunteering programs is good business.

Corporate support for employee volunteering programs is good business. 

An article titled 'Corporate Volunteerism proves a smart business move' noted that corporate volunteering is "an exciting phenomenon" in the volunteering sector. "It can bond teams going through change, and bridge differences often overlooked in the hubris of 'business as usual" and 'The benefits can be both social and fiscal. In addition to giving back to the community, corporate volunteering can boost staff retention and wellbeing and enhance brand recognition.'

Corporate support for employee volunteering is good business.  Engaging with employees and ensuring that there an alignment of interests between employees, the organisation and the charity will aid in ensuring  the success of the volunteering program.

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Social issues, a Company’s role and Transparency

An article titled 'Consumers Believe Brands Can Help Solve Societal Ills' stated that a 'study, which polled 8,000 people in eight countries, including the U.S., found that a company’s position on a social issue can drive purchase intent just as much as the features of a product.'

Having regard to how much a company often invests into product development and the marketing of its product, taking some time to identify its position on social issues and then to be transparent as to that position, can provide the Company, in addition to potential benefits to society, enormous financial returns on a relatively small investment.  

Choosing the 'correct' position is clearly important.  A company should continually engage with its stakeholders to understand their views and expectations as this will assist the organisation to mitigate some of the risks around taking a position on a social issue.

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