Towards a Healthy Organization model
Currently, in the area of business and people management, the Healthy Organizations model is becoming increasingly relevant. From both the management and the consultancy and research scope, the activity dedicated to deepen the knowledge about the welfare at work, its possible causes and its desired consequences is increasing significantly. An example of this was the last congress held by the EAWOP: the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology, in which the latest advances in the investigation of this subject were presented.
This research and professional movement aim to accomplish several objectives. In first place, to identify the determining factors to achieve optimal levels of health and psychosocial well-being in the workplace environment. Secondly, to determine which practices and strategies are effective in increasing these levels. And finally, to analyze the benefits of these actions, whether for the organizations, the individuals who are part of them, or for the society as a whole.
So, what does a Healthy Organization really mean?
In a recent specialized manual on the subject, its authors, Dr. Salanova, Dr. Llorens and Dr. Martínez from the University Jaume I of Castelló, state that a Healthy Organization is that which develops and implements strategies to improve both the health of the people who work in it as well as the financial health of the organization itself.
To this end, this type of organizations design, apply and evaluate in a deliberate, systematic, planned and proactive way programs that establish a series of Healthy Organizational Practices. These programs incorporate specific actions aimed at achieving an organizational excellence through personal, group and social empowerment. According to these researchers, these effective Healthy Organizational Practices can be grouped according to their area of action. For example, there are practices that aim to increase work resources to facilitate the fulfilment of tasks. Also practices that seek to develop positive work teams that coordinate and cooperate in a constructive manner. Similarly, practices that promote positive, transformative, ethical, empathetic, responsible and authentic leadership. Also, those that seek to reduce labour demands, which not only hinder the well-being and performance, but can also constitute psychosocial risk factors, as well health problems. However, among these Healthy Organizational Practices, those actions that go beyond the internal limits of the organization itself and that allow it to have a positive influence on its community and environment, as well as on all the interest groups with which it relates do stand out. In this case, we are referring to the Corporate Social Responsibility practices.
What does Corporate Social Responsibility add to Healthy Organizations?
When organizations are strategically managed while respecting all the interest groups involved, as well as the environment around them, it constructs social value and contributes significantly to the Commonwealth. As a result, it favors the optimization and improvement of health levels at individual, group, organizational and social levels. At the internal level, these responsible decisions and actions are aimed at the ethical and humane management of people, safety, workplace health promotion, as well as proactive and protective adaptability to the current volatile and changing environment. At the external level, they seek to reduce the environmental impact, promote the sustainable use of natural resources, nature conservancy, and establish close and collaborative links and relationships with local communities, as well as with investment groups, suppliers and beneficiaries of their goods or services.
And what benefits can be obtained?
As a result, in the first place, Corporate Social Responsibility empowers solid, stable and resilient organizations, where its members can feel more aligned, fulfilled, committed and involved. These practices allow them to appreciate and realize that their work transcends their own tasks, since it contributes not only to create well-being at an individual level, but also at a collective level, strengthening social ties and improving the community. As research supports, there is a correlation between well-being and performance, therefore reaching the organization’s objectives can be positively affected in terms of business excellence. In second place, to these beneficial effects at a health level, we must add all the benefits obtained from the Corporate Social Responsibility practices, such as the acquisition of legitimacy, social positioning or strengthening customer loyalty.
Corporate Social Responsibility practices are, therefore, a key element within the Healthy Organizations model
Alberto Ortega Maldonado- Faculty CMI