The New Shape of Work interview series addresses the challenges and uncertainty in the current business environment with a focus on how to transition to a more agile workforce for the future.
Forward-thinking organizations are reinventing themselves under the new shape of work as responsible, innovative employers making proactive commitments to such goals with corresponding measures that show meaningful progress. One of the proactive commitments that is beginning to take a stronger foothold ensuring employees have a living wage.
Our conversation today features Ronan Maher, Senior Vice President of People and Organizational Performance at Yara International. Ronan is helping to lead the challenge to adopt a living wage across their full time employees worldwide.
"Across Yara, the people agenda is held right across the board not just in the traditional HR function. It was our colleagues in ethics and compliance looking at the Human rights report that triggered the conversation on this. This was taken then into the people function and we set about seeing what does this mean."
"When you see large numbers and you realize this is whole job class and you examine that with the local HR and they say, but you know we we’re probably the best employer in the city. We give fantastic health care. We give fantastic paternity care, maternity care, and we give transport support. So how could we be this bad? And the fact of the matter is it's that little light bulb going off just because you're the best doesn't mean that people aren't living below the living wage."
"It was paramount [to work with local HR] because number one, the information is in a different languages. The interpretation of the data is very different. The definitions of the data is very different. And you know they know the individuals, they know the names, they know the roles in detail. They know what the people’s faces look like, what the smiles are like, what the frowns are like. And so [local HR] relating to the challenge is very important for us to get a real read if we are off the mark, or are we close to the money on this thing."
"[Having a living wage] is a journey it's definitely not a destination. It's going to have a lot of curves on that journey. There will be a lot of turns. We will go back three years ago, did we see a pandemic on the horizon? We didn't see our issues with Russia and Ukraine. And priorities will shift, there will always be thresholds, inflation, recession, etc. so we have to make sure we have a core team that continually beat the drum on this."