Corporate Social Responsibility
These four elements are at the core of all that I do. Often acknowledged but not put into action in the workplace.
I want to change this.
I offer a unique insight into lives that most people will never experience, in turn unbeknown to the listener, they reflect upon their own, practising the skill of perspective taking, empathy and solidifying their purpose in life.
Imagine a workplace where empathy was a practiced core value, where employees look out for each other, where people go above and beyond for each other's wellbeing, that's a place everyone would love to work - and stay in.
Perspective leads to good decisions
Our perspective comes from our life experiences and hence governs our decisions and our emotions. Reality however, is the collection of all perspectives surrounding an event, something we rarely take the time to consider and empathise with. When we seek other perspectives we often fall into the trap of asking others in a similar position to us their thoughts only to validate our own perspective and decisions made upon those perspectives.
It is essential that we seek to understand varied perspectives in both our business and personal lives. Employees must make the right decisions but this often relies on successfully understanding the perspective of colleagues and client's needs. It is a skill and therefore must be practiced regularly. A lack of perspective contributes to a lack of empathy and for any business trying to embody their values into their employees, this is an issue.
The stories of those who are homeless are truly moving and powerful. Their take on life is often extraordinary, seeing things in a completely different way to how the general public may expect. They suffer the scrutiny of strangers when they do not judge them back in return, they battle for survival daily and have lived a life so incomparable yet not out of reach of anyone. Their perspective is enlightening, empowering and yet ignored.
Understanding the perspective of someone at the bottom of Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs' is difficult but vitally important for our own self-development and in becoming better, socially-minded and empathetic people. If you truly have perspective you also have: patience, empathy and motivation.
Empathy is a vital component of building and sustaining relationships. Often working with vulnerable people, I have experienced first hand the importance in building trust by exercising empathy, especially with those who are homeless. Empathy is listening and actually caring, it builds trust, love and powerful relationships - whatever race, religion, creed or socio-economic background someone is from.
Empathy is not easy. It requires the skill of perspective-taking and sacrificing time, often going against your instincts of what you think is best. This is as true for speaking to someone on the street as it is speaking to a colleague who is having issues at work. What you think is best may not be suitable, exercising empathy is important to maintain and build stronger relationships in these crisis points everyone undergoes at some stage.
Educate your employees to exercise empathy with the most vulnerable in our society and this will naturally be mirrored within the business. Like a muscle, the more it is exercised the stronger it becomes. What is essential is that any session I run is interlinked with action. Empathy is action, often in tough and judgemental situations, when someone is in need.
Empathy is vital
I initially set out to show that the lives of people on the street, despite the stigma, have motivation, drive and purpose. I have found that this is not often the case, highlighting the importance of purpose in ones life and how it is vital
Many struggle at some point in their career with their purpose. People attach identity to purpose and want to have some sort of impact on the wilder World around them. People associate this with leaving a job, starting a fresh and moving into something different. This doesn't have to be the case at all.
If anything people need to keep their jobs but shift what they define as 'impact' and purpose.
Millennials will soon make up 50% of the work force, based on their views businesses must build a culture of social responsibility to attract and importantly retain top talent; in doing so it is evident there will be a line of return for companies.
75% say they would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company (vs. 55% U.S. average) • 83% would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues (vs. 70% U.S. average) • 88% say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues (vs. 74% U.S. average) • 76% consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work (vs. 58% U.S. average) • 64% won’t take a job from a company that doesn’t have strong CSR practices (vs. 51% U.S. average)
84 percent want their company to help them identify ways to get more involved in their communities (vs. 65 percent U.S. average)
63% of Americans are hopeful businesses will take the lead to drive social and environmental change moving forward, in the absence of government regulation
78% want companies to address important social justice issues
87% will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about and 76% will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs
Self - Acualisation
Belongingness and love needs
Masolw's Hierarchy of Needs (1943)
Maslow : A theory of Human Motivation (1943)
Perspective, Purpose, Empathy and Culture
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"Ed is one of those rare influencers who can inspire and educate you with his stories, passion and purpose but also leaves you feeling transformed and determined to make a difference on your own life too.
After hearing Ed speak at our office for just 20 minutes, I was touched by the personal stories and now I understand exactly what I can do to help the homeless people I see. Now I feel so much better about stopping to give food, water, change and simply acknowledge these people in need. I would strongly recommend meeting Ed, inventing him to speak at your events and supporting the incredibly compassionate work he is doing."
— Andrew Whelan, Innovation and Extended Reality Lead