Workforce Fairness reporting in the FTSE 350: Key observations from the Building Public Trust Awards

One of the big people issues facing businesses in 2018 has been inequality in the workforce. The lightning rod for this has been gender pay, but there are a number of other themes that are challenging employers as they seek to restore trust and address the reputational issues in an era of greater transparency and scrutiny and employees can give views on the company. Our research into reputation found that over two thirds of UK individuals would not apply for a company with a bad reputation for how it treats its staff.

So this year, PwC launched a new category in the Building Public Trust Awards called Workforce Fairness to highlight the issues. The ‘Workforce Fairness in the FTSE 350 Award’ recognises those companies that report in an authentic and accessible way about how they think about their employees and wider community. Our criteria looked across four key areas: Diversity and Inclusion, Employee Wellbeing and Engagement, Community Engagement and Skills and Talent in a time of Transformation. There were some great examples and it is clear that organisations are trying to shine a light on the good work they are doing.

The winner of our 2018 award was Lloyd’s Banking Group, whose reporting clearly showed that it sees responsibility for its workforce as part of its responsible business strategy, and puts colleague inclusion, wellbeing, learning and human rights at the forefront. Of the runners-up, the reporting by SSE plc was highly commended due to its ‘attractive, easily-navigable reporting that stresses fairness, wellbeing and health for employees’ and Royal Mail Group was also highly commended for their ‘honest, open and highly engaging reporting’.

There is much to celebrate in this category, with high quality reporting showcasing a range of initiatives, highlighting that businesses are taking workforce fairness seriously. However, there is still work to do. We highlight the following which helped companies stand out and tell their fairness story.

Alignment to strategy: The best reporting we saw was from companies which linked their activities around fairness to their business strategy and overall mission. We liked those which told a story about why they had focussed on specific initiatives - and how it helped their organisation.

Addressing workforce skills in time of business transformation: As we move towards the workforce of the future, with unprecedented levels of transformation, driven by technology, we were impressed with those organisations which reported on what they were doing to prepare the workforce for change. There were companies for example which are putting their employees through digital learning and training programmes to prepare for new ways of working.

A continued focus on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I): We liked the organisations which focused on new areas of D&I such as Social Mobility, or emphasised the inclusion aspects as they seek to embed a new mindset. The debate keeps moving on and therefore those companies which reported on their progress and their learnings on gender pay and beyond impressed the judges.

Corporate Governance reporting means that disclosure and scrutiny will only increase in 2019. If you would like feedback on how your organisation scored against our workforce fairness criteria, please feel free to get in touch by sending an email to [email protected]. Further information can be found on the workforce fairness criteria and winners on the BPTA website.

Alastair Woods

Alastair Woods | Partner
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Jess Garbett | Senior Associate, People & Organisation
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