How technology can help build fairer organisations

While the environment remains a key focus, truly sustainable companies must also consider their responsibilities in the broader social context.

When we talk about sustainability, often we think exclusively of the environment. But when we discuss sustainable impact at HP, in
terms of HR agendas, it becomes a much broader term.

Making organisations sustainable:

How to make remote work eco-friendly

Do you need to start asking about the environment in job interviews?

How HR can help hit the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

As our employees become increasingly concerned with social and environmental issues, a proactive approach to overarching sustainable impact is something people now actively seek out in their workplace.

Not only must organisations be stewards of the physical environment, but they must also strive to encourage sustainable practices in terms of societal equity, workplace inclusion, economic prosperity and diversity.

Last year, HP set a goal to become the world’s most sustainable and just technology company. 

Over the next decade, we’re continuing to work towards meeting that goal through a sustainable impact agenda that addresses three key pillars: human rights, digital equity and climate change.   

Following lessons learned during the pandemic, a fast-growing number of businesses across the globe evolved their sustainability agendas. Not only did they take steps to reduce environmental impact, but many now have a heightened focus on improving their social impact, owing to the disparities in experience brought about by global lockdowns.

Covid-19 also had a big impact on the way that HR teams leveraged technology to maintain morale while setting agendas and fostering a sense of inclusivity.

At the core of organisation’s responses to rapidly evolving conditions, HR teams were central in keeping the workforce engaged, productive and resilient.

For many, the remote element of Covid-19 highlighted a wonderful egalitarian spirit, fuelled by the very basics of technology, but as we permanently settle into a hybrid model, we can expect our relationship with technology to shift once again too.

Technology has been changing the workplace for years. If you looked back every five years at previous practices, and the kind of conference phones you’d huddle around in meeting rooms, you realise just how far and quickly technology moves.

The latest shift in technology acknowledges hybrid work and is about evolving to connect everyone in authentic ways. This includes having a positive effect on the fostering of culture, inclusivity, and innovation. 

We’ve rolled out a new suite of conferencing equipment called HP Presence, which includes ultra-smart AI powered features to ensure there is no loss of experience in the hybrid environment – and no knock on effects for inclusivity.

Conferencing technology needs to have clear and smart audio and video to ensure that workers feel seen and heard even if they are not in the meeting room. Hybrid meetings need to capture every face, every voice, every time, especially as 45% of women business leaders say it’s difficult for women to speak up in virtual meetings. 

In addition, we make use of software to help maintain diversity in our talent pool. Given that women frequently report being put off from applying to certain roles owing to male-oriented wording in job descriptions, we opt to run all our adverts through gender decoder software to ensure they have universal appeal. 

With hybrid working set to stay, fostering a strong and pain-free sense of connection between workers should be at the forefront of HR leads  looking to maintain their people agenda and promote sustainability across all components of the business. Technology can play a vital role in ensuring success, but only when we hone back in on the people at the receiving end of our tech. 

Technology has continued to get smaller, faster and more efficient, but now, with social sustainability at the forefront of our consciousness, leaders should look to invest in technologies that enhance and empower their organisations and employees in the workplace of the future


Debbie Irish is head of HR, UK and Ireland at HP


This piece was first published in HR magazine's 2022 Technology Supplement. Check out more from Technology with purpose here.