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25 Sep 2023
by Charlotte Godley

3 steps to aligning benefits strategy with corporate ESG mission

More and more workers are looking for employers with high ethical standards and a commitment to sustainability

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Companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials are becoming increasingly important to attract, motivate and keep the best employees.

When choosing an employer, 55% of workers are looking for high ethical standards and 45% want to see a commitment to sustainability, according to Benefex’s 2023 Evolution Report.

With employees looking for organisations that meet their own values, forward-thinking business and HR leaders are recognising the need to align the employee experience – ensuring they help each individual understands everything their employer does for them, the environment, and the wider community.

Reward directors are in a unique position to highlight their company’s ESG initiatives, through employee benefits. And we’ve seeing more of our customers prioritising ESG, diversity, equity and inclusion and putting values and purpose at the heart of their reward strategy.

3 steps to aligning benefits strategy with corporate ESG mission

1. Increase sustainable benefits on offer

Aligning benefits with ESG means reviewing not just the benefits you’re already offering, but also your end-to-end process and providers you’re working with to make sure every element is sustainable. More than half of employers (51%) are planning to invest in more flexible benefits over the next two years – and all need to be viewed through a lens of sustainability.

The marketplace for green employee benefits has seen a boom over the last decade, showing just how critical sustainability is to both businesses and individuals. Here are a few benefits that can help your employees reduce their carbon emissions and promote sustainability, while improving their wellbeing:

  • Electric vehicle (EV) salary sacrifice schemes or an EV grant scheme
  • EV charging
  • Cycle to work
  • Public transport loans
  • Pension scheme ESG fund options
  • Discounts with a sustainability category
  • Payroll giving
  • Volunteering
  • Tree planting

2. Create a unified home online

In our 2023 Evolution research, 36% of employers said they wanted to show the value of employee benefits all year round – not just at annual selection.

This is where a unified experience platform comes into its own, creating one place where employees can go to see the full value of everything their organisation does for them, get more from their benefits, recognise colleagues for living the organisation’s values, and demonstrating the impact of your ESG strategy – on your people and the planet.

By making more benefits available on an ‘anytime’ basis, organisations can elevate benefits from a once-a-year selection to something employees can engage with every day and that supports every aspect of their lives – including their sustainability goals.

3. Communicate the ESG value

It is no good aligning your benefit strategy with a strong commitment to sustainable practices if no one knows about it

A multi-channel communications strategy supports engagement with benefits – ensuring employees are aware of sustainable initiatives, the impact of selecting these benefits and how to take action. You can significantly increase engagement, reach deskless employees, or create bespoke communications for specific teams.

ScottishPower’s award winning alignment

ScottishPower has successfully aligned employee benefits, communications and technology to its ESG strategy – with award-winning results (it’s been shortlisted at the Employee Benefit Awards and won a Stevie).

As the first integrated energy company in the UK to generate 100% green electricity and a principal partner for COP26, they’re committed to tackling climate change and delivering the infrastructure to support Net Zero. They wanted to reflect these goals to help their employees take steps to live more sustainably, at the same time as increasing employee engagement with benefits.

ScottishPower introduced or enhanced 14 sustainable employee benefits, consolidated all benefits on Benefex’s OneHub (using single-sign-on), and embarked on a multi-channel communications campaign.

  • Since its launch in June 2022, 230 employees have joined the EV salary sacrifice scheme which means that up to 230 petrol/diesel cars are off the road – an annual saving of 460 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
  • 143 employees signed up for the cycle-to-work scheme, also reducing CO2 emissions.
  • Benefex recently launched Trees with Benefits; so far 300 trees have been planted as a result of Marketplace benefit selections by ScottishPower employees.
  • When the four new ESC pension funds were launched in September 2022, there was a 369% increase in members reviewing their investment choices.
  • Logins increased 136% between the 2022 enrolment period and the 2023 enrolment period, despite only a 2.9% increase in headcount.
  • Employees are engaging with their benefits more regularly – one in three employees now visit the site throughout the year.

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