The Role Of Social Work In Improving The Quality Of Employees Life


The relevance of improving social work as a condition for the formation and further development of human capital of society is substantiated. It is shown that the full use of social work tools in the formation, preservation and development of human resources in society will allow strengthening the role of the social component in the social and labor relations of the employee, employer and the state; assisting the employment promotion agencies in the implementation of the vocational guidance of the young population and a number of other social categories; participating in the social partnership of employers, workers and government agencies in resolving labor disputes; promoting social cohesion. The most effective tools of social work have been identified to establish a persistent trend in the growth of life expectancy of the population of the Russian Federation and to improve the quality of work-life: the formation and development of social technologies aimed at regulating people’s lifestyles; an impact on the ethical side of people’s actions; a social design and forecasting of activities and specific living conditions aimed at improving the quality of life of the population; the formation and development of special social technologies aimed at the emergence of alternative social values that reinforce the recognition and respect for the individual’s private property in his intellectual abilities and available means of production; a study of the value of work for the population and the individual.

Keywords: Human capitalsocial workquality of work-lifesocial responsibility of business


Modern theories of economic growth distinguish human capital as one of its key factors. Within the framework of the new development paradigm of individual countries and the world community as a whole, human capital has taken a leading place in the national wealth (up to 80% in developed countries) (Nikolaev, 2008). Considered in the context of strategic socio-economic planning, human capital refers to the following key areas:

  • Source of growth - developed countries that do not have substantial natural resources base their continuous economic growth on quality and improvement of their human capital;

  • National competitiveness - the growth of labor productivity, the basis of national competitiveness, depends on the quality and relevance of country’s human capital in the world market;

  • Quality of life - the quality of life of an individual depends on living standards and employment;

  • Economic sustainability - human capital contributes to a person’s ability to live in a comfortable environment, to improve living standards and sustainability in a situation of unexpected changes in personal, family or professional life.

Until now, there was no consensus on the definition and content of the concept “human capital”, which can be explained by the complexity of this phenomenon (Brick & Goreltsev, 2014; Vladimirova & Kozlov, 2015; Strelets, 2017). Penguin Dictionary of Economics defines human capital as human skills and abilities that allow him to earn income. In the future, this definition was expanded in the light of intangible effects: human capital is knowledge, competencies and properties embodied in individuals who contribute to the creation of personal, social and economic well-being (Burton-Jones & Spender, 2012; Nafukho, Hairston, & Brooks, 2004). A number of scientists concluded that the qualitative characteristics of human capital depend, among other things, on the social environment of the individual, and the reproduction of human capital is realized with the help of the family institution — the main hereditary “channel” and the state institution — an important conductor of social coercion (Varenikin, 2005).

As for other social institutions, they also take an active part in the formation of human capital:

  • Marriage and family;

  • Institutions of government, public political organizations;

  • Various economic structures;

  • Educational institutions, health care organizations, various social institutions and organizations;

  • Cultural and spiritual institutions.

According to the World Bank’s research, the national wealth of the United States includes fixed assets - 19%, national natural wealth and resources, which make up 5%, and human capital - 76%. At the same time, in Europe (more precisely, in its western part), the same criteria are 23.2 and 74%, respectively; in the Russian Federation - 10.40 and 50%.

The high level of human capital accumulation in the United States and Western Europe indicates that its formation requires a joint activity of the above-mentioned social institutions (Mahoney & Kor, 2015). The interrelation of such aggregate tools can be realized by such scientific and practical activities as social work.

Problem Statement

The essence of the concept of social work involves the relationship between a person, an employee and a social group in society. The implementation of this interaction should be carried out by qualified specialists who possess the required knowledge and skills. The use of social work as a scientific and practical activity is necessary due to the fact that the formation and further development of human capital becomes a complex systemic task of many different areas of public life management.

Russian scientific and theoretical foundations of social work that have been formed recently are mainly aimed at social services for workers and socially vulnerable categories of the population. However, the formation of a “welfare state” (as noted in Article 7 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation) should be aimed at actively attracting Russians into public economic relations (Vasilieva, 2008). Consequently, the mechanisms of social services and social work must include a number of consistent, comprehensive trends:

  • Development of all kinds of psychological and pedagogical methods, methods and technologies in family-marriage relations in order to form the basis for the development of human capital in the family, as well as its further use in social and economic relations in society;

  • Creation of favorable social conditions for the functioning and development of human potential for all employees in enterprises and organizations;

  • Involvement in economic relations of all socially vulnerable groups of the population (children and adolescents under the age of majority, elderly people) through the formation and implementation of various social technologies aimed at organizing individual social work.

The importance and effectiveness of social work in terms of the formation and further development of human capital can be revealed in the 40% of its structure shown above. The other 60% of “human capital”, depending on the factor of education, can be attributed to the subject of study as part of theoretical aspects of social work.

Research Questions

It should be emphasized that social work as a science and as a practical field of activity at the present stage of development of society unfairly stands at an underestimated stage of its development and does not combine with its scientific and practical potential of socio-economic knowledge, and employers do not see the need to develop social work in Russian organizations.

The methods and technologies of social work in the Russian Federation are currently being formed, and they are insufficiently used, without a focus on the formation and further development of social human capital.

The full use of social work tools in the formation, preservation and development of human resources in society will allow:

  • Strengthening the role of the social component in social and labor relations of the employee, the employer and the state;

  • Assisting employment promotion agencies in the implementation of vocational guidance for young people and a number of other social categories;

  • Participating in the social partnership of employers, workers and government agencies in resolving labor disputes; promoting social cohesion (Sorvina, 2010).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to substantiate the possibilities of applying social work technologies in the formation and development of an innovative mechanism of socialization and re-socialization of a person and the formation of human capital in the Russian Federation, identifying priorities for its development, as well as determining performance criteria.

Research Methods

One of the well-known in the world practice indicators, which make it possible to judge the achievement of certain goals of economic development, is the Human Development Index (HDI). The Human Development Index (HDI) (until 2013, Human Development Index (HDI)) is an integral indicator calculated annually for cross-country comparison and assessment of living standards, literacy, education and longevity as the main characteristics of human potential of the study area.

In its present form, the methodology for calculating the human development index (HDI) consists of three equivalent components:

  • Income index, determined by the gross national income (GNI) per capita at purchasing power parity (in US dollars);

  • Index of educational background, calculated as the average arithmetic weighted of two sub-indices: 1) the average duration of study, measured by the average number of years of education received by people aged 25 years and older during life, and 2) the expected duration of study can get a child who has reached the officially set age for admission to school if during the course of his life the prevailing trends in the field of indicators of the population’s enrollment remain;

  • Longevity index determined by the indicator of life expectancy at birth (life expectancy).

The founder of the methodology for calculating the human development index in the Russian Federation was Professor V.I. Zhukov. According to Zhukov (2017), the human development index includes 4 “paradigms”, but is calculated using 3 indicators.

The paradigm includes:

  • Productivity related to the formation of real income and indicators of economic growth;

  • Equality, presented in the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities;

  • Sustainability, allowing workers and the general public to have access to the development of their capabilities;

  • Continuous empowerment when people have the opportunity to develop their capabilities.

  • The main indicators of the human development index in society are:

  • Life expectancy;

  • Educational background;

  • Index of living standards (gross domestic product per capita).

In 2018, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) presented the annual report on human development in the world called “Ensuring Sustainable Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerability and Building Resilience” (Human Development Indices and Indicators, 2018). The Russian Federation ranked 49th out of 189 in the human development rating. The most important stumbling block in the Russian Federation remains a relatively low indicator of life expectancy (life expectancy - 71.2 years).


Studies by international (UN) and Russian analysts led to a pessimistic conclusion: Russia is rapidly losing its human capital. This is facilitated by migration and demographic processes, reduction in the level and quality of education, culture, and health care systems, as well as low rates of production modernization. As a general negative factor, the loss of strategic goals among the population, depressive psychological background and increased stress loads are noted.

According to demographic forecasts, by 2050 the population of Russia will be reduced by 40 million people. According to the Center for Migration Studies, by 2020 the working-age population of Russia will be reduced by 18-19 million people. Such a demographic situation is caused primarily by a decrease in the aggregate capital of the health of the nation.

The reduction in the population does not allow for the formation of qualified labor resources necessary for the development of the material and intellectual potential of the Russian Federation and contributes to the strengthening of Russia’s technological dependence on foreign countries.

A low life expectancy of Russians has a negative impact on development trends in the demographic situation. This criterion becomes basic also in determining human capital. Accordingly, it is important to orient the methods and technologies of social work in the Russian Federation to the study of prerequisites for a low life expectancy and measures to improve it. Therefore, social work can influence the formation and development of human capital in our country.

Professionals in the field of demography and social work conclude that the early mortality of men is a difficult situation for both men and women. This situation leads to a change in family-marriage relationships, the number of single-parent families is increasing, their living standards are falling, because men are the main breadwinners in the family.

The findings of experts, statistical information of Rosstat of the Russian Federation in the field of demography and social situation in the state revealed that the main cause of early mortality among men was their quality of life. In particular, the tendencies of an established lifestyle imply alcohol abuse. In our country, alcohol abuse is becoming not just a tradition, but also a social disease of society, which entails illness and a high level of early mortality among men. Regular drinking habits lead to the emergence of such phenomena as alcoholic psychosis and various mental disorders. Statistics show that the number of patients with alcoholism, as well as persons suffering from mental disorders due to alcohol use, registered in the treatment and prevention organizations in the period from 2003 to 2016 ranged from 984 to 1543 people per 100 thousand people.

Social diagnosis implies not only identifying the prerequisites and causes of the emergence of a social disease (namely, low life expectancy of Russians), it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the influence of many factors on life expectancy of citizens. According to scientists and practitioners in the field of social work, they revealed another interesting trend, in our opinion: the development of postmodernism in Russia in the 1990s. This process has aggravated hedonism. An excess of hedonism is also becoming a prerequisite for the trend of early mortality of the population. The result of hedonism is a rapid increase in the mortality rate of the population from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), from drugs and alcohol abuse. The opportunity to receive pleasure, with no certain hedonistic culture, is rapidly increasing the trend of early mortality of people, in particular as a result of various emergency situations, for example, injuries or accidents. There is also a high rate of murder sand suicides.

In order to establish a stable trend of growth in life expectancy of the population of the Russian Federation and improve the quality of work-life, the most effective tools of social work (research areas) should be:

  • Formation and development of social technologies aimed at regulating the way of life of people (the development of new effective methods and ways of changing social behavior and the nature of human interaction);

  • Impact on the ethical side of people’s actions aimed solely at the acquisition of various goods and pleasures;

  • Social design and forecasting of activities and specific conditions of life activities aimed at improving the quality of life of the population (the emergence of affordable social welfare services, improvement of the health care system, secondary and higher education);

  • Formation and development of special social technologies aimed at the emergence of alternative social values, reinforcing the recognition and respect for the private property of the individual and for his intellectual abilities, available means of production and all that the individual owns;

  • Study of the value of work for the population and the individual, purposeful choice of types of work and, ultimately, in order to find specific consideration and job satisfaction.

The formation and further development of human capital in Russia, its quantitative and qualitative characteristics are directly dependent on the ability of social work technologies to effectively implement the developed socio-economic tools, scientifically grounded and accessible in practical terms. The ontological capabilities of social work technologies in the formation and development of an innovative mechanism of socialization and re-socialization of a person become the key source of the formation of human capital in the Russian Federation.

In addition, there is another aspect of the consideration of the need for social work. Extremely important is the fact that the Russian Federation, according to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, is a social state, which presupposes the creation of social conditions in it for a decent life and free development of a person, the protection of labor and health, the establishment of a guaranteed wage, providing support for families, motherhood, childhood, disabled and senior citizens, the development of a system of social services. The support of the ideology of the social state is provided by the principles of socially-oriented economic development, the most important of which is harmonization of social relations, the development of organizational, economic, scientific, technical and legal conditions ensuring the formation of human potential of society.

The key prerequisites for building a socially-oriented economy are: changes in the form of ownership; development of the institution of social partnership, changing the distribution of material goods and services; solution of a range of social problems (accessibility and quality of social benefits, unemployment, social protection, access to education and health care, etc.), elimination of polarization in social stratification of society, as well as providing the legislative basis for social protection of human rights and freedoms (Kanarsh, 2018; Savchenko, 2016; Sobolev & Chubarova, 2017).

The social sphere is a complex diversified complex that consists of certain services provided by specialized organizations and institutions in various social areas. Directions of the social sphere taking into account the needs of the population can be divided into two separate groups.

The first direction is organizations and institutions that contribute to the realization of the spiritual, cultural, social, intellectual needs of a person, maintaining his normal life (health, education, culture, art, physical culture and sports).

The second group covers industries designed to complete the process of creating material goods and bringing them to the consumer (retail, public catering, housing and communal services and consumer services). Their development contributes to the reduction of labor costs for housekeeping, serving family members, and expanding the possibilities for satisfying needs. The products of the social sphere are not in the form of goods, but in the form of services or results of activities.

As the study showed, the significance and scale of the social sphere have changed in recent years, education, medical care, and housing provision have become priority areas for its development. Considerable attention is currently paid to the problems of social services for the population, the development of the institution of social insurance and the provision of pensions. If previously, government spending was primarily focused on the maintenance of the army, the state apparatus, servicing officials, now the public sector expenditures are being transformed towards meeting the interests of the entire population, i.e. the principle of socially oriented development is being implemented.

The development level of the social sphere is represented in dynamics of expenses on social and cultural events in the consolidated budget of the Russian Federation in 2003-2017 (Table 01 ).

Table 1 -
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The presented data indicate that since 2005 there has been a steady increase in spending on the social sphere of the economy. There is an obvious tendency for the president and the government to support the priority areas of socio-economic development, ensuring the creation of conditions for the reproduction of human capital. In general, the change in expenses on social and cultural events in the consolidated budget from 2003 to 2017 is due to the dynamics of socio-economic activity of economic entities, the impact of socio-political factors and the influence of the general political cycle.

The social sphere includes sectors of the national economy that provide all sorts of social and educational services, health services and culture. This type of social services is aimed at improving the general level of living standards of the population, a constant and systematic increase in the quality of life in the country. The results of activities in the sectors of the social sphere are characterized by certain features:

  • Creation of goods (services) that satisfy the material, physical and spiritual needs of people;

  • Consumption of goods (services) in the social sector is accompanied by positive external effects, for example: a more educated population in the country is a key to sustainable social development of society;

  • Benefits created (services) are subject to value assessments by the state and society, for example: the quality of educational services, medical services.

At present, the social sphere of the economy has become closely connected with the social responsibility of organizations. However, the definition of this concept also still lacks unity of views (Ivanova, 2014; Kurapova, 2016; Stroeva, Mironenko, & Ivanov, 2016; Aguinis & Glavas, 2012; Callan & Thomas, 2009).

The Concept of the Social State of the Russian Federation, prepared by a team of scientists, revealed that the social responsibility of organizations and Russian business in general implies:

  • Development of optimal conditions in the country and the business community for reproduction and development of the workforce;

  • Joint development and financial support of social infrastructure institutions;

  • Systematic payment of good wages and approved payments to employees for the satisfaction of their social needs;

  • Guarantee of safe working conditions and labor protection measures;

  • Increase in the level of employment of the population, measures for the professional retraining of workers during the liquidation of enterprises;

  • Joint financial support of institutions for the professional retraining of workers and their upgrade;

  • Full and regular payment of taxes;

  • Formation and maintenance of working conditions of employees aimed at the implementation of their duties away from their place of residence, the creation of optimal conditions for their life;

  • Implementation of social insurance programs, in particular: medical and pension insurance;

  • Formation of non-state pension funds on the basis of large organizations and corporations;

  • Joint financial support of other programs of voluntary insurance of employees;

  • Implementation of social assistance to employees, if necessary, in an acute situation (provision of special preferential loans, allowances, etc.);

  • Implementation of various charity events.

The basic principles and mission of socially responsible organizations were reviewed and approved during the XIV Congress of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Russia. The mission of socially responsible organizations is declared as striving for stable development of socially responsible organizations that contribute, firstly, to the implementation of economic plans and development strategies, and, secondly, to the formation of a social environment that guarantees the safety and living standards of the population. Thirdly, the mission of socially responsible organizations proclaims a focus on maintaining the environment in good condition.

The key principles for the development of socially responsible organizations should be: economic stability, high quality of goods and services produced, clearly regulated relationships with consumers and customers; systematic and targeted management interaction with employees of organizations; guaranteeing the rights of workers; labor safety; implementation of programs for the development of the territory of the organization.

Taking into account world experience, the list of important areas of social responsibility of organizations and business as a whole includes (Dunaev & Nagornov, 2017; Carroll, 2015; Siltaoja, 2014):

  • Objective (cold) pricing in the market, decent quality of goods and services, ensuring customer safety, encouraging fair competition;

  • A decent work place for employees, including good wages, equal employment conditions, opportunities for professional and career development;

  • Favourable environmental situation in the territory of the organization’s life activity, economical use of the available natural resources, timely and technological disposal of production waste;

  • Implementation of joint programs with public organizations, management structures, territorial authorities;

  • Respect for human rights in organizations and in society.


Summarizing the above, we note that the social responsibility of business and social work in the formation, preservation and development of human resources in society are specified in the preservation and development of the personnel of a particular enterprise or organization.

In particular, in relation to the personnel of enterprises, social work should include the following:

  • Develop the social aspect of social and labor relations, in the process of interaction between the employer and the employee;

  • Develop a recreational characteristic, that is to restore physical and emotional-psychological forces of employees;

  • Provide support to the personnel management service in the selection of the most suitable employees for a specific position;

  • Assist employees in the issues of their full unlocking the potential at the enterprise, which is especially important for young people and other socially vulnerable categories of employees of the enterprise;

  • Develop social partnership in terms of analyzing and accounting for the legal side of labor contracts between the employer, employees, and government organizations;

  • Participate in the management of the organization.

It is extremely important that, on the one hand, economic interrelations have become increasingly involved in the theory and practice of social sciences and humanities. On the other hand, the social responsibility of business and social work at an enterprise includes a set of social interconnections that are presented in society and, most importantly, at an enterprise. It is also interesting that the indicators proposed by practitioners for assessing the quality of social work in an organization, the criteria for the effective incorporating social work in social interrelationships of organizations are the level and quality of the staff development.

The need for social work with the staff is also confirmed by the main provisions for the development of the organizational culture at modern enterprises, in particular (Piasecki & Gudowski, 2017):

  • The presence of an imminent humanitarian idea that implies the involvement of social work specialists in the life-supporting process of organizations (this is also relevant for Russia, since there is a need for continuous internal development in the country);

  • Value solidarity of employees of the organization;

  • Corporatism of specialists engaged in socialization and re-socialization of society to the most convenient forms of its functioning.

In conclusion, we note that social work in the organization, ensuring the improvement of the quality of work-life, contributes to the attraction and retention of the staff. At the same time, social work covers both the entire staff and socially vulnerable, poorly protected categories of workers. Initially, social work “pulls up” workers with disabilities to the minimum acceptable living standards, and then ensures decent work, living and moral well-being of the staff as a whole.


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Konovalova, V., Laas, N., Svistunov, V., & Starun, N. (2019). The Role Of Social Work In Improving The Quality Of Employees Life. In V. Mantulenko (Ed.), Global Challenges and Prospects of the Modern Economic Development, vol 57. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 708-719). Future Academy.