Is an evolution of our capitalist system the biggest force shaping the future of work?

  • Employees and customers will increasingly demand that organizations have a purpose that goes well beyond profit and shareholder value. They will want to see organizations become more socially and environmentally accountable, integrating sustainable business practices into the way they do business. As we are already seeing, employees will pressure top management to put in place plans and programs that go beyond mere compliance. We saw an example of this recently when pressure from Amazon employees persuaded top management to commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
  • Individual and institutional shareholders will increasingly switch to ethical and sustainable funds while limiting investments in companies that are damaging the environment and people’s health and wellbeing. These types of funds have seen significant growth in recent years. As a result, they are starting to have increased influence over financial decisions and business practices of bigger and high-growth entrepreneurial businesses. We can expect this trend to accelerate, making it difficult for companies without a track record of ethical and sustainable practices to secure investment required to grow and thrive.
  • As international concerns about climate change grow and there is a greater focus by governments on reducing pollutants and increasing wellbeing, we can anticipate a significant shift in the way business and leadership performance is measured. There will be far more focus on social, environmental and wellbeing measures, something most businesses are not used to accounting for. Key measures of leadership performance will change as leaders are increasingly expected to safeguard the wellbeing of their people and shift towards less environmentally damaging ways of doing business.
  • Organizations may well be forced to curb unnecessary business travel, including frequent and/or short flights, to reduce their carbon footprint. This pressure on business travel is likely to be accelerated by government regulation and taxation on frequent flyers. However, potential upsides of this include rapid uptake of greener travel alternatives (such as train travel for shorter journeys) and big advancements in mobile and v-conferencing technologies.
  • To shape the future of work and the next generation of capitalism, employees will undoubtedly seek greater influence over the future direction of their organization. They will want a greater say in fundamental, and controversial, decisions like executive remuneration, diversity in top management and future investment in sustainable technologies. They may even push for worker representation on boards (already a feature in many EU countries).
James Brook
Leadership Consultant | Executive Coach | Business Psychologist

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Plexus Leadership

Plexus Leadership

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We develop positive leaders and thriving workplaces to deliver breakthrough performance, innovation and sustainable growth. www.plexusleadership.com