David Broadhurst

Why you should equip people for life, not just for work!

David Broadhurst | September 9, 2019

What would it look like across your industry and community if organisations took a more Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approach to do business? An approach that makes people feel valued and heard not one governed by legally mandated responsibilities.

Recent research from Gallup showed that up to 87% of workers are disengaged at work. And, the main reason for disengagement is that people feel undervalued.

Gallup also revealed that organisations who achieved higher levels of engagement through valuing people out-performed their peers by 147% in earnings. Fewer safety incidents, theft, absenteeism, staff turnover and defects contributed to the results.

All very good reasons to consider a more people-centric approach to doing business.

Show how much you care!

Some advice I received early on in my career as a pipeline construction worker and I have tried to live by it ever since came from one of my early section supervisors.

I was receiving my first promotion to a leading hand position where I would be in charge of half a dozen lads at the tender age of 19. He said to me: ‘Lads don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’

Was this (unknowingly) my first real-life example of doing business with a CSR approach?

Looking back, it certainly paid off for him. Even though he was a very hard taskmaster and expected a lot from his crew, we knew he had our best interests at heart. And, because of that, we worked hard for him.

I reckon we ALL would have walked over hot coals for him if we had to. We trusted that he would never ask us to do something that wasn’t right.

He showed us in the workplace that he cared for us. What he taught me (and I imagine lots of others) is if we were open to listening to him at work, that he was there for us outside of work too. He equipped me for life as a young lad starting out in the construction industry, and as a future business owner.

Identify anxiety triggers and how to manage them

He also taught me some simple tricks to money management, a lack of which is a significant trigger to anxiety. And, these have stuck with me ever since. I remember I was a young lad making a lot of money. He took the time to teach me how to budget and plan for a rainy day. Pipeline work was very seasonal in the UK back in the late 80s and early 90s. He understood this.

This one life skill he taught me based on what life threw at me as my career progressed helped me through tough times when anxiety and depression knocked at my door, as it does for so many in the industry.

Interestingly, since establishing CodeSafe and working with RMIT and others, we have learned of the key underlying secondary triggers that contribute to people going from a place of manageable stress to experiencing anxiety and depression. One of the four key secondary triggers are, wait for it, a lack of financial literacy skills!

The other three key triggers that affect a person’s state of mind, are not directly workplace related nor covered under legislation, are:

  • exercise and nutrition;
  • communication and relationship skills;
  • the desire for a sense of purposes that inspires people to live for the benefit of others.

Stop anxiety and depression in their tracks

Could you adopt programs that deliberately take a more CSR approach to business rather than a legal compliance stance do more than improving an organisation’s KPIs? Such as put the brakes on the anxiety and depression epidemic across our workplaces and communities too.

Consider my early and brief encounter with a supervisor who seemed to understand a CSR approach long before it became a ‘thing’. And, also think about the return he got from showing me that he cared.

Now, imagine what our workplaces and society could look like if we equip organisations and their leadership teams to that same CSR approach?

Would it change the world, even a little? I’d like to think so.

Keep well, Broadie

David Broadhurst

David co-founded CodeSafe Solutions in 2011 to transform how critical information is communicated to remote workers. With a background in the construction industry managing the installation of pipelines all over Australia, David developed CodeSafe's award-winning Experiential Learning Process to improve worker engagement and reduce risk in the workplace.
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