How can People & Culture shape and deliver your ESG agenda?
It doesn’t seem long since the last Conference of the Parties (COP 26) yet last week the heads of state gathered again to make renewed promises about climate change. But how can organisations and particularly the People & Culture (Human Resources) function get behind initiatives that support your organisation’s ESG (environmental, social and governance) strategy?
So, what is an ESG strategy and why do you need one? An ESG strategy is your plan and framework to progress towards reaching sustainability goals. It will include the initiatives and the actions you will take as well as the quantitative information that measures the value you’re getting back for your efforts. It can benefit you in the following ways:
- Keeping up with comparators: This is a key factor in staying competitive and relevant within your sector and keeps you in step with or ahead of your competitors.
- Aligning with stakeholder interests: An ESG strategy gives stakeholders (shareholders, donors) an objective way to measure improvements in each fundamental area of the plan, showing them that they’re investing their money in the right place.
- Preparing for long-term success: Leaders want their businesses to be successful for years to come. An ESG plan is an important part of the vision to ensure a long-term future.
Here are some starter questions:-
Purpose: Ask the question why are you doing it? What is your time horizon and how are you going to measure success?
Governance: How will your board enable, support and oversee your ESG strategy?
Leadership & Management: How will you attract and develop your internal / external talent? How will you organise yourselves internally to deliver the strategy?
Culture: How do you support your people to get the right mindset, culture and behaviours?
HR professionals can play a critical role in shaping and delivering their organisations’ ESG strategy – and help those companies address their skills gap in the process.
The growing number and severity of climate change events has spurred international commitments to curb the rise in global temperatures. Those commitments by governments are increasingly being reflected in policy and legislation.
On a micro level, companies adopting forward-thinking hybrid working practices, better travel policies and mitigating reputational risks arising from the green agenda, means they are contributing to supporting climate sustainability goals. HR professionals can play a pivotal role in facilitating and enabling behavioural and cultural change by leading on practical environmental policies to cut an organisation’s carbon footprint.
This aspect looks at how organisations manage their relationships with its customers, suppliers, employees and the communities in which it operates with regards to equality, diversity and inclusion. This might include carrying out equal pay audits, your approach to modern slavery and ensuring your supply chain as well as your clients or beneficiaries adhere to the same values.
The people & culture experts can also develop and deliver development programmes, reciprocal mentoring schemes, executive coaching and leadership that provide opportunities across all aspects of the organisation’s stakeholders.
Governance encompasses the various mechanisms within an organisation relating to its management and decision-making, generally led by its board and executive team.
Your people & culture function can play an important role here by driving accountability and transparency and aligning the business with its purpose and values. Impactful organisational structure and leadership can lead to better employee relations, reduced risks and create better productivity.
HR professionals can support the board in pay reporting and audits, recruitment and succession planning, provide guidance on the ethical use of new technologies, such as where AI (artificial intelligence) is used in processing applicant CVs, as well support the selection of pension providers.
Is ESG the differentiator?
Yes, candidates are interested and increasingly scrutinising prospective employers’ approach to environmental measures, pay equality, and hybrid working practises. Communicating to potential candidates how your company does this well may be a deciding factor in securing the people you want in your business.
If your organisation wants to know more about ESG and how it can help your business please contact Hafton for a free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org giving your name, business and contact number.