Human resources attention is increasing since the COVID-19 started, as businesses realised it is of capital importance to stand more on them and to understand how our doing causes critical consequences both, on social and natural resources.
The terms “essential workers” and “key workers” were unimportant before lockdowns. Current experience probes us otherwise; their value now recognised for their importance to businesses. Hopefully, this thinking could remain!
Do business respecting people.
Nowadays, human-rights is a significant business case. To fully comply with these rights, businesses must recognise that health, social and environmental crisis convey onto people, by all means, the more vulnerable, as it is with the worst-paid workers or local communities where extreme events happened.
The adverse events are a consequence of unsafety practices – some of them a constant in companies’ culture. Undertaking human right risks all through our Supply Chains (SCs) and the establishing of employment basis are both challenging actions; we have to make some direct investment to stop forcing aggregated risk.
The United Nations link businesses to human rights, outlining steps to tackle the impacts of their operations on people and climate change. It states that companies have to deal with potential risks which could undermine people’s basic dignity and equality.
What is the role of professionals?
When doing “the right thing” both, for people and the environment, it must be permanently linked. Tackling climate change implies tackling people inequalities. We cannot degrade human dignity to just money—professional need to take accountability on these matters more than ever before, for instance, on two things:
· Living wages – Not paying respectable salary accordingly to the nature of work, leads to the vulnerability of people, as we observe in short-term or zero-hours contracts, the gig economy and more. These practices would lead not only to a financial crisis but to the individual’s fragile physical and mental health.
· The excessive commercial use of land favours and attracts investment for new business projects and gains that passes over local people and communities, diminishing people’s dignity.
How much sensitivity and adaptation do people have to this kind of impacts?
Another critical area to consider is the global decline of public health services where risky conditions could constrain or enhance adaptability.
Much can be done to reduce social crisis by focusing on future-extreme health, economic or climate uncertainties that affect operations and workforce, by paying attention to our technology, infra, or the appropriate skills which demand change within our company.
Determinants of adaptive capability - Adaptive capacity is the minimum and vital factor to equality. People’s vulnerable conditions, such as pre-existing diseases or climate change events, could constrain or enhance adaptability to adverse outcomes.
Economic resources like financial capital, wealth, or resources constrain, openly determine the capability of adaption. Poverty is precisely associated with vulnerability; so, the value of health care, prevention programmes and incomes are fundamental for adaptability.
The lowest groups in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable to health impacts caused by climate change. Approx one-fifth of the world’s population lives on less than $1 US per day, resulting in an exponential child and adult mortality or underweighted rates, as it does non-potable water, inadequate hygiene, and indoor air pollution, so related to poverty.
On the other hand, health care, income growth, improved-educational levels, better nutrition, and sanitation lead to a significant decline in diseases. Healthier people are more educated, and as a result, more productive.
Technology - Poor use and training on edge-technologies cause economic performance and income gaps. Technology can be the access to many capabilities to solve SC issues; for instance, new technologies delivering the latest personal protection equipment and sanitisers for health care, or vaccines and pesticides to cope with health and climates crisis, improving adaptive capacity.
Information and skills – Higher levels of human capital and knowledge represent better adaptive capabilities. We need a skilled-public-health pool of professionals who understand, supervise and diagnose data information to make the right decisions—people trained in the operation, quality control and maintenance systems.
The tremendous amount of unskilled-people or those denied to any schooling, are factors increasing their vulnerability, compromising too their effectiveness. Lack of skilled-personnel might restrict a nation’s ability to implement adaptive measures. Education is a human right.
Infrastructure – It plays a vital role in the adaptive capacity of people, designed to reduce vulnerability to the workforce, workplace, or climate change events, like safety protocols when floods, fires, or mass transit.
Social institutions are considered essential determinants of adaptive capacity. Those countries with less-effective institutional agreements have a lower ability to adapt than countries with well-established institutions. The organisational weakness contributes to vulnerability; isolation, lack of reserves, high-centralised arrangements for storage and redistribution of food, lack of variety in supplies, whilst strict-political systems exacerbate the situation.
Increasing collaboration and agreements among institutions from the public and private sectors can enhance adaptive capacity to address risks effectively and to cooperate coordinating surveillance and response-activities to address work conditions and disease threats more successfully.
Further comments: resilient-adaptive capacity will be greater if the access to resources within a community and nation are distributed equitably; universal access to quality services is a vital principle of public health. Building adaptive capacity requires a forward-looking, unifying-robust vision.
The current collapse affecting all areas of our life brings about an opening to do things differently. Your focus should be on brand reputation, employing and retaining your workforce, as well as enhancing resilience in your SCs culture. Have you turned this practice of “doing things right” to your workforce advantage and at the end to the company’s benefit to retain your staff?