The Value of Human Sustainability in Human Capital Management
Human sustainability is a term that has been explained by many scholars interested in management. According to Ashby, Leat and Hudson-Smith (2012) , human sustainability refers to different means of providing a high amount of food products together with beverages and improvement of healthy eating. Human sustainability enhances provision of support to people, in order to live healthier lives. In practice, the healthy living of people has a vital influence on the development and sustainability of an organization. This involves retention of human capital whereby health and nutrition of employees is promoted. It is clear that successful organizations maintain their human capital through helping the employees to adopt healthy living. Therefore, this essay seeks to explore the meaning of human sustainability theme as discussed by different authors. The essay also seeks to relate this theme with organizational change and sustainability through the application of appropriate change model and change approach.
According to the argument put forth by Costanza, Graumlich, Steffen, Crumley, Dearing, Hibbard, and Schimel (2007), human sustainability refers to the maintenance of human capital whereby organizations play a major role of helping their workers to live healthy lives. These authors state that human capital should not be taken as a good between organizations and some individuals, but it should be taken as an individual’s private good. Moreover, Neumayer (2012) argues that, human sustainability should be maintained continually through carrying out some lifetime investments because human lifespan is very minimal compared to the lifespan of societies. He further adds that there has to be investment in the form of education, as well as rewarding in order to motivate human capital and get a chance to realize potential capabilities and talents of all human beings. As explained by Hatch and Dyer (2004), human sustainability means commitment to encourage human being to lead healthier lives, and there has to be involvement of decision-making in the eradication of negative effects from the environment. This is where institutions encourage people to live healthier lives by providing them with some portfolio comprising of wholesome food products, as well as pleasurable beverages.
It is also postulated that human sustainability is the act of improving the quality and value of people’s life as they continue to live within the boundaries of the environment (Mani, Varghese & Ganesh 2005). These authors extend the definition and argue that human sustainability is not only maintenance of a good life among the workers on an organization, but it has to involve a promotion of maternal health; safe birthing and childhood care for human continuity. Moreover, Glover, Farris, Van Aken, and Doolen (2011) agree with the argument by Tesone (2004) by reaffirming that human sustainability entails actions conducted with the aim of advancing a human condition whereby the rightful development ambitions of all human beings are met. This is done in combination with protection, preservation and restoration of human dignity and integrity. Moreover, there has to be maintenance of healthy ecosystems, in order to improve human survival. However, Labuschagne, Brent and Van Erck (2005) were not left out in explaining human sustainability whereby they argued the theme to mean picking up the eminence of human life in the process that allows human beings to live with the ability to provide support to the eco-system. They also state that human sustainability allows organizations to motivate their workers through the provision of good nutrition, as well as physical activities; thus, maintenance of high level of optimal health among the employees.
Crook, Todd, Combs, Woehr and Ketchen Jr (2011), contributed in defining human sustainability by putting forward the meaning of human sustainability as a building up and regenerating process associated with personal, as well as professional possessions at work. Therefore, it is necessary for organizations to understand the meaning, and the need for human sustainability in their operations because this will enable them to achieve their goals and objectives. It is clear that, human sustainability has to be combined with meeting of the consumer interests for convenience and nutritional purposes. According to the argument put forward by Kahn and Humes (2009), human sustainability refers to a careful stewardship of human capital by organizations whereby they provide employees with healthier living and some connection between health human societies and developed economies for existing and prospective generations. These authors state that human capital is essential for organizational growth especially when staff is provided with education and nutrition opportunities in the workplace.
Human sustainability theme is closely related to organizational change and sustainability. As such, adequate good health among the employees leads to improved performance and the realization of organizational goals and objectives. Change models refer to theories used by organizations to assess their changes and understand the forces leading to the rise of those changes. In this case, Problem-Solving Model appears ideal for explaining trends in human sustainability in organizations. It is among many models used in approaching organizational change. Evidence shows that the lack of human sustainability in an organization is a major problem that hinders organizational change and sustainability (Costanza et al. 2007). The moment employees are living a life that is not healthy; the organization fails to realize its goals owing to the impact of poor employees’ performance which is attributable to poor nutrition and well-being.
Therefore, organizations are required to solve the problem of lack of sustainability by providing employees with adequate education regarding healthy eating and nutrition. In practice, this approach will allow the organization to realize sustainability and change in its performance. To solve the problem of obesity among the employees and their relatives, organizations should provide dietary and nutrition training classes. This will enhance organizational sustainability as people will not only learn how to eat healthily and live a healthy life, but they will also learn how to maintain a healthy environment with reduced waste disposal. Once human sustainability is maintained among the employees, the organization also realizes ecological and economical sustainability.
According to the argument put forth by Hatch and Dyer (2004), human resource management, together with organizational change, leads to a positive change in the organizations sustainability. Moreover, it is stated that organization’s unsustainability requires some change initiatives that lead to long-term success of the respective change (Crook et al. 2011). However, when an organization works towards supporting improvement of healthy living among the employees, employees manage to work for a long period without developing health problems. This is advantageous to an organization because it easily realizes its goals and objectives. For instance, it allows the organization to provide valuable incentives and salaries to the employees; thus, motivating them to work hard and achieve their personal, as well as, organizational goals. In theory, management of employees guarantees employers sustainability of the business since employees are a vital asset in the success and operation of any business.
On the other hand, human sustainability requires the adoption of an appropriate change approach. In theory, the change approach is the method of dealing with change resistance in an organization whereby employees fail to comply with new changes (Peeters, Dirix & Sterckx 2013). Participation and involvement is one of the change approaches used to solve the issue of resistance to change among employees of organizations. The approach entails the engagement of employees in the introduction of a certain change since the initiators of change fail to have the entire information necessary in designing the particular change. It is apparent that the involvement of employees in a certain change effort enhances their acceptance of new changes through changing their attitude towards the change. In this case, participation and involvement approach is relevant maintaining human sustainability because this aspect involves motivating employees to be productive and improve their performance (Glover et al. 2011). This helps an organization to become sustainable in relation to any change introduced. Once employees change their attitude towards a certain change, they engage into their duties and responsibility fully; thus, allowing the business to become sustainable.
It is apparent that the promotion of human sustainability leads to improved availability of meaningful resources which guarantee organizations’ sustainability. Ideally, the interests of employees have to be met first for the organization to have improved performance whereby this entails meeting their financial, healthy and safety needs at work. Evidence indicates that employees are highly likely to resist an introduced change especially when the employers or the business management team does not meet their interests and needs (Ashby et al. 2012). Promotion of a healthy living and management of human capital enhances employees to feel motivated and resources to carry on with their duties and jobs in the workplace. On the other hand, involvement of employees in the organization’s activity-related education improves the changing organization’s sustainability.