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February 14, 2012

From Human Resources to Human Beings

Recent research has found that people whose earnings reach a certain level achieve a marked improvement in their quality of life.

In Ontario, that threshold is roughly $30,000 in after tax income.

That research has interesting implications.

In the world of work, we have adopted a not so nice term for people. We call them "human resources", suggesting that we are no different than the computers or paper clips we use in our work.

What if we treated each other as human beings in our work? That has some implications for how employers might approach the people they hire --and the level of salary or wages they offer.

One perspective on this is to leave wages low enough so that employers will hire more people. But when wages are so low they leave people mired in poverty are we really treating one another like human beings?

Another approach would be for employers to strive to make every position one where people earn enough to get to that decent standard of living where quality of life markedly improves. As consumers and purchasers we might also seek out businesses that pay a living wage.