A sustainable workforce is characterized by employment practices, work cultures and processes that enable individuals to be productively employed in jobs that sustain positive psychological and economic well-being on and off the job. Developing an employment relationship that enhances the well being and balances the interests of workers, employers and families is crucial for long-term societal and economic success.
The goal of this initiative is to bring together the research and practice that contributes to a sustainable workforce and creates a virtual community for dialogue between researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to share knowledge. Through research, teaching and organizational partnerships, we hope to foster employment practices that are part of a sustainable workforce. The Sustainable Workforce grew out of our research and organizational field work on the Initiative on Workplace Flexibility and the Employment Relationship funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Employment practices relevant to the concept of the sustainable workforce are those that enhance and enable:
- workplace flexibility to support long term education & career development, individual and organizational learning, & facilitation of work-family well-being;
- the attraction, retention and development of a motivated workforce that experiences a positive organizational environment in which they work;
- organizational and personal resilience, engagement, and the capacity to thrive;
- occupational wellness practices that create healthy workforces that don’t burn out or unnecessarily tap into health care or dysfunctional behaviors due to excessive stress at work;
- positive and transformative employment relationships;
- innovation to help individuals positively adapt to new social & economic change such as new technology, globalization, 24-7 work & blurring work-life relationships & growing workforce diversity and multiculturalism;
- worker control over the timing, location and about of work in ways that they still can be employed yet ensure care for themselves and their families effectively;
- organizational reinvention, continuous improvement of employment systems to foster mutually beneficial outcomes for employees, employers and communities;
- positive social change and innovation in employing organizations while balancing stakeholder interests and a “triple bottom line” (profit, worker well-being, family);
- inclusive leadership & organizational change for supportive work force renewal.
Please let us know of your research or work practices related to these concepts. We would like to add links or a list of innovative practices and research projects.
Professors Ellen Ernst Kossek and Peter Berg
School of Human Resources and Labor Relations
Michigan State University
4th floor South Kedzie Hall
East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1032