HR professionals have been urged to use Tory leader David Cameron’s move into the wellbeing debate as an opportunity to take the initiative and drive the agenda.
Speaking at a conference organised by search engine giant Google on Monday, Cameron called for the old protestant work ethic to be replaced by a “modern vision of ethical work”.
“It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money, and it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general well-being,” said Cameron.
Binna Kandola, senior partner at occupational psychologists Pearn Kandola, said the fact the Conservatives were now talking the language of wellbeing and work-life balance showed that it was firmly on the political agenda.
“This is the moment for HR to seize the agenda, it is a real opportunity to take the initiative,” he told PersonnelToday.com. “It is very rare that HR gets an opportunity to see the future and [HR professionals] should be very excited by it.”
Cameron’s comments were also welcomed by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and lobby group Working Families.
EOC chair, Jenny Watson, said: “Our own polling shows that David Cameron is right to say that voters – both men and women – value flexibility and work-life balance extremely highly. It’s in the best interests of individuals, employers and the entire economy to create a modern workplace.”
Sarah Jackson, chief executive at Working Families, added: “It is encouraging to hear David Cameron engaging in the debate on how the quality of our relationships at home, at work and in our communities impact on each other.
“We urgently need fresh thinking – from politicians as well as employers – about long working hours and work design.”