Social Innovation – The Day we found out people see us as Social Innovators!
I have a favour to ask …. The Conference is targeted at leaders and managers of organisations large and small. We are looking for a speaker at the conference to talk for 10-15 minutes and tell their story about your business, why you set up etc. and also talk about the social innovation aspect (so in your case, I was thinking in particular about autism in the workplace and the work you are involved with there, but it could also be about spotting the future trends and how you see HR and business support and networking going hand in hand) talk about the opportunities and challenges and then participate in a panel discussion.
… This is an ERASMUS plus project and we have partners attending from all over the world.
A snippet from an email from our business coach!
We’ve never described ourselves to her as social innovators, nor did we think of ourselves that way.
We’re two business owners from a HR, OD and Recruitment background (HR – Human Resources, OD – Organisation Development) who have a passion for people, business and organisations, so how could we possibly be social innovators?
Interested ~ Excited ~ a little Confused, we said yes we’d speak!
So we set to work on thinking what is it about our practice that could be considered to be social innovation.
We asked our business coach why she’d asked us to speak on social innovation in HR and Business. She told us it was our business model that addresses the social issues experienced by employees and those entering business or employment, and our passion for challenging the norm to address these issues.
This got us thinking about our business context and philosophy.
We are in a time of constant change economically and technologically – and this has resulted in business owners having to be flexible and diversify within their business. We have an ageing workforce with up to four generations working alongside each other in organisations which creates a number of challenges. There are now very few jobs for life and nationally we have seen a definite shift in the labour market to have a transient workforce, working with caring responsibilities, social pressures and health issues.
We know people, although working, are experiencing poverty. According to Neyber, 62 % of the North East have money worries second only to London on 64%. According to National Statistics divorce peaks between the ages of 43 years to 54 years. Around the same age families are saying goodbye to offspring as they go off to university, experiencing empty nest syndrome. This generation also often have ageing parents and caring responsibilities at this stage in their career, not to mention the male and female menopause. Is it any wonder employers experience issues with employees of this generation.
We’re becoming more aware of mental illness, domestic violence, addiction, and late diagnosis of Autism.
THIS IS ALL BEFORE WE EVEN GET TO WORK!
So our business model is to support employers with a person-centred approach to leadership and organisation culture. We are encouraging employers to be socially aware, and to manage workplace issues in a person centred way.
Our work has highlighted to us that when employees are facing any of these issues, and experience difficulties at work, they exhibit the following:
- Illness – absenteeism, often with stress;
- Behaviour issues. Often disruptive or disagreeable / challenging;
- Performance issues.
As employers we often manage those situations with procedure – Attendance Management, Disciplinary, and Capability policies. This often escalates matters on both sides. Our managers become slaves to procedure and employees feel vulnerable and defend their position. Natural human interaction and communication is lost. Relationships breakdown.
Hell Yes! We are Social Innovators!
We help employers through our early intervention programmes.
To us this makes great business sense and creates truly “best employers”. So we really struggled when we found out we’re Social Innovators. The response we received from our audience to our case studies, left us, quite frankly, shocked that we practice social innovation!
We are a values driven business with a strong social conscience, passion, and drive. Commercially we know we save clients time and money, together with positive organisation culture, but social innovation, hell yes! The day we gave our talk we realised our passion to change employment practices, make them person centred, and most importantly HUMAN is innovative! Our practice and services are innovative. We have a strong social purpose, and we’re very aware of issues facing our workforce and society as a whole.
So now we embrace that we are socially innovative and driven by social purpose.
If you are in a deprived area, know your employees are struggling inside and outside of work, ask us how we can help with early intervention.
Ask us about Talent Management versus Career Management and why we’d like to ban talent management.
Ask us how we can help with Autism awareness, addiction, and domestic violence support.
Ask us why we think EAP (Employees Assistance Programmes) should include coaching and outplacement.