The 77th session of the UN General Assembly comes at a critical time this year as numerous developments threaten economic recovery in a post-pandemic global economy. Geopolitical tension, the climate crisis and a widening wealth gap are causing tremendous disruption and instability to billions of lives around the world. For this reason, it is more important than ever for the global community to unite and collaborate on many issues that have long-term consequences on societies and the workforce.
This collective effort since 2015 has coalesced around the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), which according to the international body is “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.” As part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, these goals intend to combat poverty, create more economic prosperity through decent work and improve the global climate among other important endeavors.
As a leader in the HR services business, Randstad is focused on advancing five SDGs for which we are best positioned to effect change. These are intended to:
- Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (SDG 4)
- Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (SDG 5)
- Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8)
- Reduce inequality within and among countries (SDG 10)
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (SDG 13)
These are actions that require immediate and collective efforts from the global community. As an organization whose activities have a strong impact on people in these ways, Randstad continues to facilitate positive change in the world of work. These values are especially important to our CEO, Sander van’t Noordende, who has championed the rights of the LGBTQI+ community by serving on boards such as Out & Equal Advocates, a nonprofit dedicated to achieving workplace equality. He is also on a mission to advance economic opportunities for all through the creation of decent work.
Each year we contribute toward these SDGs through our business and a number of local, sustainable initiatives. For instance, annually we help two million people find jobs that are right for them, and more than half a million people get work assignments through Randstad on a daily basis. Our consultants also play a pivotal role in advancing the ambitions of working people by providing consultative support and advice on acquiring not just a job but also employment that support their career ambitions.
In support of quality education, in 2021 we delivered 6.6 million hours of training to job candidates and employees to prepare for a highly dynamic labor market. And after their training, we have helped them to find employment, placing 762,000 candidates younger than 25 into roles and 2,600 into internships.
In our efforts to advance equality, we placed 10,000 candidates with disabilities into meaningful jobs in 2021. Within our organization, we practice what we preach with women accounting for more than 50% of our senior leadership roles.
In addition, Randstad is committed to the Science Based Targets initiative Business Ambition with the goal of reaching a Net Zero footprint by 2050. With the climate emergencies that have plagued regions everywhere around the world this year, this is perhaps one of the most urgent goals that all organizations should support.
There is an immediate need for collective efforts from the global community. The world is headed into an exceptionally challenging time, and it will take all parties to overcome recently elevated threats and crises brought on by the pandemic and labor shortages. By themselves, people and their employers have a limited impact on achieving the UN’s 17 SDGs, but when we collaborate and coordinate efforts, the benefits are exponentially enhanced. To do this, consider the following:
- Identify the SDGs you and your organization can most effectively contribute toward. Is committing to a Net Zero campaign a possibility for your business? Can changing the way you advance people of color, different sexual orientation or those with disabilities bring greater equality to your labor market?
- Develop a strategy for creating goals and the plans and processes for achieving them. Once you have focused on what is achievable, you’ll need clear KPIs and a roadmap to follow. This requires leadership support and rank-and-file buy-in. Even individually, consider how your daily actions can contribute to your SDGs.
- Evangelizing successes to inspire others to act. Effective company and individual initiatives can serve to inspire those around you to take action. Create a plan for communicating your journey and achievements, whether through your brand, on social media or through professional networks.
- Amplify your efforts through stakeholder collaboration. Create partnerships to help accelerate systemic changes that are needed to create a better society and livable planet.
With the world becoming increasingly polarized, it’s more important than ever for all stakeholders groups to rally around the UN SDGs. By reducing inequalities, enhancing economic opportunities, tackling climate change, and taking on other critical challenges, the global community can benefit their own citizens while growing closer together.