HM Insights

Impact Investing & Culture in the Workplace...Who cares?

The kindness revolution has well and truly arrived and it does not appear to be going away anytime soon.  In a time where our workforce is young, skilled and ambitious, we need to start to examine what is important to companies and those working for them.  Money is no longer the sole driver for workers and investors alike; it seems to now be about whether the company actually cares about the purpose of its profit, the values of its workers and its impact on the environment.  It is no longer just the millennial generation that craves these things, it is now an expectation that society imposes on the corporate world.

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Impact Investing & Culture Imperative to Growth

"Impact" is the buzzword of the moment, whether it is in relation to investing or company output, it is at the forefront of business.  At the recent Glasgow Chamber of Commerce event, a key discussion was surrounding impact investing and culture, and how this is now imperative to success and Scotland's growth.  Impact investing combines both the rigorous analytics of traditional investment and the heart of philanthropy.  It believes that what is good for people is good for business.  52% of millennials are interested in impact investing, and 30% have already invested.  The investors of tomorrow have more of a social conscience than before, financial return is not the reason they want to invest. 

Keep Up or Be Left Behind by Investors

It is already apparent that businesses are trying to adapt to keep up with the societal pressure of "being good".  Vivienne Westwood's Autumn/Winter 2019 collection at London Fashion Week and window campaigns across various shops featured a backdrop that read: "what's good for the planet is good for the economy".  Glastonbury this year has banned all single-use plastics from their site.  The circular model is becoming increasing popular, it is time for the linear model businesses to get moving and start thinking of sustainability and economic value. In order for businesses to keep up with this movement and stay relevant, they need to shift fast or they will get left behind by key investors and highly skilled staff. 

Value Millennials in the Workplace 

The tech sector is storming ahead and transforming the way we see the classic working day, with 84% of employees in the technology industry having the option of flexible working, compared to the UK average of 65%.  Google credits the increase in their employee's creativity and level of productivity to having a flexible schedule.   75% of millennials say flexible working is one of the main attractions to a job as it improves work life balance (compared to less than half of over 55s wanting the option of working flexibly).  They believe that productivity should not be measured by the number of hours worked, but rather by the output of the work performed.  Businesses need to recognise these statistics, adapt their approach and listen to their values as millennials are now the nation's largest generation in the workforce.  

How Can Businesses Retain Talent & Keep Ahead in the Market?

We all want to be part of businesses that are changing the world for the better, whether that is by being a social enterprise or simply by being a company that has a social conscience.  So how can businesses retain talent and keep ahead in the market?  It's true what they say, it's the little things in life that matter most.  No matter the size of the organisation or the funding behind it, it is possible for everyone or every business to do little things. Whether that's in relation to your staff, your environmental impact or anything else, small things can have a large influence.  People are not ignorant to the fact that profit is important and that large organisations are imperative in our economy, however it is these organisations that have the power to influence other large organisations to be a little kinder.  For younger and smaller businesses, showcasing your "goodness" is only going to aid you in growth, impact investing is the next big thing.  The relationship between individual wealth and the public good is changing.  The primary objective of many investors now is using private money to make a positive impact on wider society. SMEs and young businesses should use this to their advantage to showcase the importance of their social impact to attract the best talent and investors to their organisations. 

It's time for businesses to get with the trend and realise that it's cool to care, sustainability is sexy and being flexi is fashionable.  We no longer live in a world of "who cares?", because the answer now is everyone.

Get in touch

At Harper Macleod, we work with businesses to ensure they have the right structure to allow them to meet the values that are the most important to them.  If you want to have a discussion about how we can help, please get in contact with Natalie Wallace in our Corporate team.