“I have a dream.” This week—as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—is a time for bold ideas that can change the course of mankind. It is a time to consider what we can do to contribute to equality of opportunity. It is a time to lay out grand visions of a future where every human being is empowered to reach their potential.
For five of our seven days each week, we spend most of our waking hours at work. We pour our time, energy, and talent into our job. And, unless you work for yourself, your productivity is creating profit for someone else and a paycheck for you. For most working Americans, that paycheck and any benefits are not turning into progress for themselves and the people they love. Instead of bringing home a better life, we often bring home stress, frustration, and anxiety.
What if work was where we developed the character and qualities that would support our core values? What if work helped us improve and safeguard our mental and physical health? What if work provided each of us personalized pathways to financial success? What if work was where we went to maximize not just our productivity potential, but our human potential?
This is the future of work: a place employees go (virtually or in-person) to become the best version of themselves, and a place where employers value human capital as much as they value profit. Businesses that embrace this model will find that attracting, developing, and retaining talent is easier than ever. Hiring the right people with shared values, then pouring resources into developing those values in your team and organization improves culture, productivity, and the bottom line.
This vision is more than a dream. In August of last year the SEC added requirements for human capital reporting. Public companies are now required to disclose, “attraction, development and retention of personnel as non-exclusive examples of subjects that may be material, depending on the registrant’s business and workforce.” Companies that can innovate human capital solutions that differentiate from their competition will have direct, mandatory, and transparent comparisons to peers who maintain traditional compensation and retention strategies. And now this information is available to the investors who will pick the Wall Street winners and provide essential financial capital resources for public companies.
ROI can be more than return on investment—it can also be “return on individuals.” It is time to build reconceptualize work, what it can mean, and how it can profit in new dimensions. A fresh approach to business can enrich individuals and communities while growing the bottom line.