The Profit Over People Mentality & It’s Impact On Business Sustainability

Businesses exist to make profit, nobody is denying this. We need to make a profit so we can grow, so we can keep people employed, and so we can meet a need for whatever it is we are supplying our consumers.

But when leadership drives a profit over people mentality things start to go wrong. When it’s the focus during a skills shortage – well it impacts business sustainability.

People over profit is becoming the new norm, are you paying attention to the mindset shift?

In June 2020 I attended the Australian HR Institute WA State Conference where Associate Professor Ben Farr-Wharton, from the School of Business and Law Edith Cowan University, was a keynote speaker.

Ben spoke at length about how a focus on performance as a motivator, shareholder value at all cost breeds toxic workplace cultures, narcissistic leaders and a lack of integrity driven by a win at all cost management ethos.

But more than the culture it creates, we need to take a deep dive into how it affects your ability to attract & retain staff. In particular, the age demographic that by 2025 will represent 80% of the workforce.

PWC Australia have led the way with their Future of Work project, and their report “What Workers Want”

When we view the future of work through the lens of age demographic and what those workers want (catch up on past blog posts here, here, here & here) you can see that in the midst of a skills shortage, and particularly in regional areas or niche industries, there will be employers who will, quite simply, run out of people to employ.

Data is where the answers lie

Now’s the time to really start examining your people metrics.

▸ How high is your employee turnover?

▸ What is your employee tenure?

▸ Is there a particular age group that leaves at a higher rate than all others?

▸ Who are you attracting through your recruitment efforts?

Are you an employer who has stripped back employee benefits and conditions, rewards leaders based on financial outcomes instead of how they engage with their people and is quick to pull the trigger instead of developing people? I’m predicting you will see the following in your metrics.

▸ 0 – 3 years of service represents the highest percentage of employees

▸ Longer serving employees are generally aged in their late 40’s or older

▸ Over the past 4 years you’ve found it increasingly harder to attract and retain employees in their 20’s and early 30’s

▸ Employees aged in their late 20’s to late 30’s represent the age demographic most likely to leave in their 1st year of employment

▸ Apprentices & trainees leave almost immediately after being signed off

In 2 years time Millennials and Gen Z will make up 80% of the workforce, how sustainable will your business model be?

If you would like a strategic approach tailored to your specific business needs contact us to arrange an obligation free chat about how we can help.

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