Ted Baker and the Changing Relationship of Individuals and the World of Work
Fashion retailer Ted Baker has reportedly received a petition signed claiming to be backed by more than 200 current and former employees which call for the company to end “a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged”. That is a lot of people voicing the same concern and if the claims appear to be true then the fact that this has been allowed to go on for so long is of grave concern. However there is light at the end of the tunnel – I hope, and believe, that 2018 has been a tipping point changing the way we work, and what individuals are expecting from their relationship with work. Employees, organisations and society are now demanding and expecting fair and inclusive workplaces which actively add to their wellbeing.
2018 has highlighted of the importance of Kindness in leadership and an increasing focus on diversity, inclusion and workplace wellbeing and considering individuals as a whole rather than just what they can bring to productivity and profit. I hope that 2018 will be the year that we look back on and say this is when the world of work changed for the better.
At a book launch event I attended last month at Durham University hosted by Dr Susan Frenk, Principal of St. Aidan’s College and the authors of the book ‘Kindness in Leadership’. there was great discussion on the importance of individual kindness, emotional intelligence and consideration of individual needs in the context of work and in the wider context of individual wellbeing. It is clear, that in some industries and organisations the focus is changing – with research highlighting the need for kindness, fairness, and equality with inspiring individual examples of how this has been applied and the results organisations have seen.
The re-shifting of organisational focus can also be seen in the changing values of organisations – many putting individual wellbeing at their core of their mission, vision and values – putting compassion, trust and equality of opportunity at centre stage.
This can also been seen with the introduction this year of the 50 leading lights of kindness which draws attention to not only the importance of kindness, but its impact on the bottom line, ‘Kindness makes business sense; it impacts outcomes, whether it be productivity, engagement or customer service. People do not forget acts of kindness.’
They highlight that: ‘Kind leaders change lives, transform organisations and collaborate. Kind leaders inspire creativity and productivity, share meaningful connections, and give their time so that others can give their best. By empowering others to succeed, kind leaders create an environment for the organisation as a whole to succeed. We need to recognise the contribution of these leaders to business, the economy and society.’
In a world where Ted Baker makes the news lets focus on those doing the right thing and celebrate that individuals are speaking out and demanding more from their jobs. We are definitely heading in the right direction, but it may take some organisations longer to get there than others and although changing the way we work often starts from the top, upwards kindness and consideration of ALL individuals within an organisation is just as important. Here’s to an even kinder and successful 2019.