Mary Juusela

Alone is neither strong nor profitable – Mary Juusela

Is alone strong? No. Is alone profitable? No.

Why do I claim this? Well, in my work giving skill training and coaching to board members; managers of all levels in the organisation and a vast diversity of staff groups in empathy, tolerance, and inclusion – social skills that in so many ways are key to the final numbers in the results report – it is clear. The aggregate ROI (return of investment) that workers achieve during working hours is correlated up to 60 percent to how one is treated by customers, colleagues and managers. On a daily basis.

The level of inclusion, which is the very ”fuel” for the individual’s potential, productivity and health, is thus a fresh product that must be recreated and prioritized daily.

Humans are not robots. People are people, and our emotions govern us. These emotions are shaped by the many relationships we have with other people – especially colleagues, managers, and customers – in the workplace. Work life is the context that affects us the most, both online and offline.

What am I talking about? In my world-unique study Stolen identity where I lived at home with 700 randomly selected Swedish families for ten years, I found important underlying key drivers that correlates to an individual’s levels of potential, productivity and mental health when humans are included or excluded on and off work.

The result of my study on inclusion and exclusion correlating to potential, productivity and health was clear. Humans are pack animals (Cacioppo, J. & Patric, W. (2009) and we all have the same basic needs (Abraham H. Maslow; ”A Theory of Human Motivation). And as the most basic needs; to sleep, eat, drink and breathe are fulfilled, next comes being socially included. Thus, inclusion is key to all humans and therefore to our level of ROI.

By reducing negative social behaviors such as favoritism, negative talk behind your back, rolling your eyes, sighs, whispers or condescending and excluding behaviors and instead skill train the key drivers to sustainable and responsible change that I found in my study – empathy, tolerance and inclusion – managers, colleagues and citizens have the opportunity to positively strengthen each other to reach 60 percent higher in potential, productivity and mental health. The positive success then ripples off both on the group and company levels too ending on the aggregate net profit showing in the results report each year. That is why investing in long term skill training – teaching managers and workers how to be more kind, open and tolerant to colleagues and customers – is crucial to any company.

Yet, empathy has fallen by 40 percent over the past 30 years (University of Colombia) in the western world and the pandemic has brought social distancing, loneliness and hopelessness. When the world is changing – kindness and empathy is more important than ever.

To work sustainably is to take care of the emotions. To work responsibly is to act inclusively. It all starts with you!


The article is written by Mary Juusela, one of the Nordic region’s foremost experts in values, tolerance and humane sustainability. She lectures on human behavior and on how individuals and groups go further by being open, more inclusive and empathetic.

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