Four in five CEOs feel pressure ‘to improve human sustainability’, survey finds

A global survey of company chief executives has found that four in five feel pressured by employees, customers and their boards to improve people’s lives.

They say the pressure focuses on the need to priotitise ‘human sustainability’ relating to how well the organisation values people, looks to improve their health and wellbeing and improve their skills and employment prospects.

The survey has been carried out by Deloitte and research firm Workplace Intelligence among more than 3,000 employees, managers and chief executives across the UK, US, Canada and Australia.

Staff are among the most vocal in wanting their company to improve lives, followed by customers, investors, partners and board members.

Researchers found that “leaders are largely embracing this pressure”. Nine in ten want to ensure pay is tied to improving workers’ wellbeing. Seven in ten say their company’s leadership should change if they are not improving lives.

Three in four want to ensure their firm’s work on human sustainability is measured and discussed at board level.

But its research found that while eight in ten executives believe their company is already improving lives this proportion plummets to just over a half among employees.

“Some leaders fail to recognise that for most people surveyed, work is a negative rather than a positive force in their lives,” said Deloitte.

Action is needed, the survey found as just one in three workers believe their health, finances and social lives improved over the last year. In contrast, seven in ten business leaders believe these improved for their people.

“It’s promising that so many of today’s leaders are willing to take ownership of human sustainability,” said Workplace Intelligence managing partner Dan Schawbel.

“However, some executives don’t realize that their own employees are dealing with a suboptimal work experience.

“The disconnects uncovered in our research should be a call to action for leaders as they embark on their mission to create greater value for all stakeholders within the broader human ecosystem.”

A survey published this month</a> of over 100 large UK businesses found half are “still in the early days of formalising their mental health management approach and disclosure”.

The CCLA Corporate Mental Health Benchmark survey found that 51 UK firms rated in its bottom two tiers for supporting their workers’ mental health.

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