Executive Chairman of 369 Global Inc. and CEO of Computek College
The global pandemic has been referred to as “the great reset,” and in many ways, I believe it is. The world was forced to press pause and create a new standard of accountability. Social inequalities around the globe have become painfully apparent and economic policies have showcased vulnerable populations. I’m finding that more is also now expected from corporations and brands as global citizens.
While the past 19 months have presented widespread social and economic challenges, I’m inspired by the opportunity it has presented to leaders across sectors to finally invest in good. But what does it mean to “invest in good?” This is a complex question with many considerations. Below are a few of my priorities as a servant leader that can help you begin investing in good in your own company as well:
Evolve your business to deliver genuine value.
This challenging historical period has made consumers more thoughtful in selecting products and services. While socially conscious brands have always been at the table, expectations around everything from having a diverse workforce to being mindful about your waste and carbon footprint are closely watched. There is nowhere to hide, and I believe companies that contribute big-picture solutions to world problems will flourish.
Embrace your role as a corporate citizen, and refine your values.
Years ago, corporate social responsibility was often a public relations effort to create news or foster public goodwill. This has shifted to organizations investing in causes long-term. This is so important that many companies have actually tightly tied their mission and vision to their role as corporate citizens. I expect this approach to continue.
The economic climate has also encouraged taking a step back to refine, reinvent and do the right thing. This applies to products and services but also fundamentals like corporate values. The right values will bring your mission and vision to life and provide motivating guiding principles so your team understands what you do, why you do it and how you do it. I consider values-based organizations to be the most powerful in the world. After a global pandemic, searching for meaning and a desire to contribute to good matters more than ever. And in my experience, when employees believe in and live corporate values, your culture is strong, which can lead to improvements in retention and performance. Taking a step back to reflect and adjust is a sign of a strong, purpose-driven leader.
Consider how you can support immigrant workers.
The Canadian government recently announced a commitment to bring more than 1.2 million immigrants to Canada over the next three years. Public and private sectors should think critically about how to mobilize these skilled workers to rebuild the economy as soon as they arrive and invest in the right training and roles. Identifying industries in need is critical. Furthermore, I believe greater awareness is required around the benefits of skills-based training versus general degrees that do not result in employment as quickly. Raising related awareness is a priority for me.
Thoughtfully build a diverse team.
As your organization takes time to re-evaluate the team it needs to succeed post-pandemic, you should determine if your workforce is diverse in terms of age, race and gender to encourage different, valuable perspectives. In a communications consultancy, for example, it’s critical to have a team of varied perspectives to provide informed counsel. This is not only important when advising clients on issues like race relations but also equally important if you’re developing campaigns.
There’s also an indisputable bottom-line impact. A recent McKinsey report, titled “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters,” found that “companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all.” Similarly, when it comes to ethnic and cultural diversity, the report also found the top quartile of diverse companies outperformed those in the fourth quartile by more than 35% in terms of profitability.
Now is the time to objectively reflect and focus on the winning strategy of the future. I would argue any organization that maintained the status quo throughout the pandemic has failed to analyze their business critically. There is so much to learn and so much opportunity to evolve and prioritize investing in good.