Sustainability has been defined as making of deliberate efforts in order to meet current needs without hampering or compromising the chances or avenues for the future generations to meet their needs (Aras & Crowther 2008). These activities ensure that resources are utilized in a modest way, rather than being depleted. Resources are the main source of livelihood to everyone. By sound utilization of the currently available resources, without there being environmental pollution and degradation, future generations would be guaranteed of their share of the resources (Wilinson, Malcolm & Gollan 2010). This papers aim is to present a discussion regarding human sustainability.
Human sustainability means the holding or maintaining of the human resource within organizations to the well-being of the society (Teece 2000). In organizations, it means effective addressing of employees issues in order to realize low or zero employee turnover. Humans, as a resource, do provide their services or labor to organizations for wages and salaries. In turn, organizations offer rewards in the form of wages, as compensation for the services offered. Modern organizations have been at loggerheads with their employees, environmentalists, government agencies, and societies regarding some practices of such bodies.
Organizations, in their course of operations, process raw materials for finished products. In the process, waste materials are produced. Gases emitted during the process freely circulate into the surrounding atmosphere. Raw materials are extracted from the environment of the area. Little efforts are made by the organizations to improve the welfare of the society (Dunphy, Griffiths & Suzanne 2006). These activities are not sustainable. A sustainable model would be the one that envisages and offers mechanisms to address the needs of the society, those of its employees, and other stakeholders, who constitute its external environment.
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The organizations, whose operations lead to environmental degradation, compromise the ability of the society to enjoy good health and natural resources, would be operating unsustainably. Reckless dumping and emission of wastes and gases lead to outbreaks of infections (Smith & Rayment 2010). The residents or inhabitants of such a society would be infected with various diseases. Lung infections are commonly associated with emission of dangerous gases.
Organizations that exploit resources without due regard for the welfare of the society do harm to the inhabitants. Efforts to undertake corporate social responsibility should be encouraged (Todnem 2005). Improvement of infrastructure would serve to cater for the needs of the society collectively. This would entail constructing and repairing roads, educational institutions, health care centers, and other societal engagements. Where such practices are not undertaken as commonly evidenced, the inhabitants, who form part of the external environment, would be disadvantaged. The operations of such an organization would be unsustainable. For human sustainability, the needs and welfare of all those with an interest should be addressed. Failure to that, with time, the unsustainable practices would lead to loss to all or part of some involved. Human sustainability would be attained in the environment, where their needs are addressed and met.
Any business organization is started for the sole reason of making a return. Investments are made in resources for return or profit. Some organizations have ignored the plight of their employees. They view employees as machines to get work done. Unreasonably high standards of expectations required by management, long working hours, and fewer incentives to motivate employees characterize the current working environment (Teece 2000). This has caused high employee turnover rates. Because of such unfavorable working conditions, employees are forced to explore other areas or organizations for a better work environment and terms. The activities of management teams in organizations that do not address the needs of their employees are liable for practices of unsustainable human resource management.
Human sustainability would be evident in the workplaces, where all stakeholders needs are addressed in an adequate manner. One management researcher, Maslow, once came up with a triangle of hierarchy of the human needs. Maslow observed that the needs cut across board. Every human being desires to attain all the needs, as contained in the pyramid. Employees would also move to the organizations that offer terms that reflect respect for their services and their dignity (Wilinson, Malcolm & Gollan 2010). Such would include reasonable working hours, employee involvement and participation in decision making, fairness in hiring and promotions, programs for employee motivations and career development, and fair compensation through good wages and salaries. With such, employees loyalty would be drawn to the organization. Low levels of employee turnover would be reported in the organizations with the foregoing culture and programs. That would constitute human sustainability.
Organizations that engage in the practices, where employees welfare and needs of the society are not considered, are deemed unsustainable (Palmer, Dunford & Akin 2006). In such a setup, employee turnover would be at its highest. In other cases, the employees, who cannot secure alternative jobs, would be forced to continue working with the organizations. Their morale and loyalty to such employers would be at its record lowest. The quality of services offered would be unimpressive. Such an organization would record dismal performance. With time, the organization would be forced to adopt new systems, programs, and structures that align with the needs of its employees and society. That would constitute a change.
This section presents one change model that can be used by an organization in order to attain sustainability. Change is inevitable (Doppelt 2010). Market changes happen often. Every organization must follow suit lest they remain behind and become irrelevant. Lewin, a management researcher, developed a three-phase change model in the 1950s. It has three main stages. These are Unfreeze, Change, and Freeze. He envisaged that adequate preparations be undertaken on the unfreezing stage. This entails educating all those to be involved and affected by the change on what is to be modified and introduced during the process. These persons are to be informed about all stages regarding the exercise. This would prepare them adequately for the task.
The next step is change itself. The old systems are replaced by the new programs as envisaged. All the necessary undertakings are made to ensure the new systems function properly. Where any challenges are encountered, adequate consultations are undertaken to ensure all goes well. The last step is freezing (Lloyd & Crane 2001). This is the settlement of the change. Everyone is called upon to acquaint themselves with the new systems and to operate within them. The old systems are completely discarded. All the parties involved are to embrace the modifications and adapt to the change.
One change approach to be used in this exercise is Education and Communication Approach. The aim is to minimize any resistance to change (Daily & Huang 2001). Kotter and Schlesinger developed this approach. It observes that once the need for change arises and the management resolved to embrace it, all the participants are appropriately briefed on it. Regular training sessions are to be held in order to sensitize the stakeholders on the essence of the impending change. The benefits to the organization, once the change is implemented, would also be explained to ensure they understand the relevance of adopting the change. Where such is appropriately undertaken, little resistance would be encountered. The stakeholders would have the correct information necessary to understand the exercise.
Human sustainability should or must be guaranteed by the authorities or organizations. Compromising on that would mean limiting the rights of humanity. Organizations that have programs, structures, and mechanisms that address the needs of their employees and the society would be guaranteed sustainability. On the other hand, those that have little respect for the dignity and rights of employees and the community will suffer from human unsustainability. The costs of the latter are disastrous in the long term. High employee turnover would mean that the organization loses experienced and qualified employees. Disputes would also set in besides negative publicity that has the potential to affect the rapport between the company and other stakeholders. Such events would greatly harm the performance of an organization.