The GoodWork Society Kicks Off!

The first GoodWork Society event was a great success, with a group of people from various professions coming together over lunch at La Boqueria to discuss what good work means and how to bring it about in society.

The lunch, taking form in a structured conversation posed the following questions to the group:

“Why do I care about building better workplaces?”

We kicked off with a personal question, to root the conversation in individual purpose. Answers ranged from personal happiness, to the need for integrated diversity and a unified South Africa.

“What is good work?”

A general consensus was reached that work ought to enhance the human experience and enable the creation of pools of excellence that filters through to society.

“What can I do to promote good work in my team?”

All answers pointed towards ethical practice, respect for all people and their time, a consideration of context and diversity and the aim to develop existing or new skills.

“How can we redesign work to be better for society?”

A deconstruction of what work is, currently, in legacy of the Baby Boomer generation: a lifetime ladder of corporate success, chasing retirement, when life’s “supposed to start”.

Conversation points emerging from the posed questions touched on a few realities we need to unpack in order to progress.

One of these was the issue that employers face non-retention due to the economic climate and shifting needs of employees.

How do we build an expert team if everyone keeps leaving?”
How do we retain and build on the skills of the people we invite into our organisation?
“Why do people leave? We’re awesome.”

This discussion led to the drivers behind why we do what we do, as individuals. Yes, money allows freedom, but people are simultaneously chasing different freedoms, which don’t equate to monetary rewards at all: Purpose, fulfillment and the ability to change and steer their path.

The idea of Universal Basic Income was then brought up as a method to equalise everyone’s starting point so that people would be steered by their life’s purpose, first, as opposed to scrambling in order to keep the lights on.

The way we see people doing work - as human resources - doesn’t lend itself to warmth or understanding. Instead, we need to look towards ourselves and identify the motivators behind what drives us as individuals and communities. There, we’ll find what we’re missing, the “good” in our work.

What “good” work is, however, remains up for discussion as we’re dealing with hordes upon hordes of payday workers who not only waste their own time but employers’, as well.

Through our events, we’re interrogating what good work means, what it looks like and how to empower employers and employees — people — to do the best work of their lives and not succumbing to the status quo.

Our next conversation takes place in February, 2018, where we’ll be inviting experts to take part in a panel discussion, further unpacking topics and insights that arise.