The Changing World Of Business

Azima Wellness Talk 19/2018

The changing world of business;

 New responsibilities for business manager in line with SDGs now in the third year.

The ground has shifted. Business owners are being called upon to take more responsibilities. It is not just about profits. In todays’ world, business owners have to put people first then protection of the planet and profits follows. This is what anyone in business or intend to join us should be ready to adapt to. It is a global call to action for the betterment of all.

We have gone full circle. The good book tells us to be our brother’s keeper. Greed for more profit was rife during MDGs. Infrastructure development was tailored to support raking in profit by business owners. In turn they generated taxable income and created some jobs. There was less focus on people and protection of the planet. Governments were more sympathetic to the interests of corporates who paid tax at the expense of workers and consumers. This had to change . It was not sustainable. This is why the global community came up with the 17  SDGs.

This new shift calls for new terms of engagement and values. SDGs came into effect in January 2016. They will continue to guide development until 2030. As business owners, we need to join Governments, civil society and other non- state actors for a better planet for future generations. The 17 goals give us a  lot of ground to cover in the next 12 years to 2030. As Azima wellness consultants, we have adopted goals 1,2,3&8 as our area of focus.

Before SDGs, the focus was on hard work for higher profit. These were the yardsticks to measure success.  A company that created jobs and paid good amount of tax on their profits was regarded as successful.  They were then expected to do some community projects to give back to the community where they made their billions as corporate social responsibility. That they provided direct employment to a sizeable number of  people and some business opportunities to suppliers and agents and then tax to the Government was enough. Some got away with environmental degradation because of their contributions in these areas. Some even got away with mistreatment of their staff.

Then came SDGs and the game changed the rules. They were expanded from MDGs  to include protection of the planet, responsible consumption and production among other areas of concern.

With adoption of SDGs, the focus has changed to people & planet before profit. The yard stick of good corporate culture has now shifted from how many jobs a company creates or how much tax they pay to their contribution in the 17 goals.

This is what has facilitated the emergence of a global wellness economy whose main focus is human wellness. Today business success is rated on human values to the community and protection of the planet.

The big challenge in this era of Artificial Intelligence is the problem of many people losing their jobs to technology and robots. Professionals like actuaries, lawyers, architects and engineers are almost becoming extinct. This is causing upheavals in the workplace. It explains why 88% of workers say they hate their jobs. Job satisfaction is at an all time low.

But Sir Richard Branson has given us a possible solution. He says businesses should take care of the workers first. This will eventually lead to higher productivity and a win for everyone in a sustainable way

When workers come first, they feel appreciated and become proud and brand ambassadors. All  products are made for people. Customers comes second to the workers/producers. Then shareholders. CSR is meant to reach out to the people left out from this value system. Business pay tax that goes to make life better for the larger society. Protection of the planet follows people and finally focus drift to profit. This is the making of sustainable development.

The workers who should benefit first are losing jobs to technology and downsizing for profit. Downsizing staff have become normal. Banks and insurance companies  have been shedding off workers. Companies that were doing well like KQ, Transcentury, Nakumatt have become risky employers.  There is emotional turmoil among workers. They deserve better.

This requires concerted effort by HR managers  and trade unionists. It is time these two stopped fighting from different sides and work together to humanize the workplace. The HR managers should stop playing subordinate to other professionals at the workplace. Then new focus on human wellness calls on companies making good profit to adequately compensate the workers before paying tax and dividend. We cannot continue to have CEOs and his management team taking home millions at the expense of the majority workers who make the money. Even board members who sit less than one week in a year take home more than the workers. It is a happy employee who can make shareholders and the tax man happier. Its that simple.

I call on HR managers to come up with personal development programs to equip their staff with soft skills that will help them navigate through life after work. All human beings deserve a happy life into their old age. Encourage an environment for intrapreneurship to flourish in the workplace. Not everyone can become a business owner.  Some people thrive well as employees. Support them to become the best they can be. Create extra curricula activities for them to enjoy a holistic life. Show them love and appreciation and they will come up with innovations that your customers will be happy with and eventually increase the bottom line.

This is the new world order. It is what Azima champion in the wellness economy. It starts with taking care of physical health and mental wellness. Then  financial and emotional wellness. We will take this discussion further next week. Keep it here.

With profound regards,
Maina Azimio
Founder and CEO
Azima Wellness Consultants LTD
Conference Speaker & Corporate Trainer in Total Wellness.

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