The "S" in ESG

A word from our CEO, Holly Welch Stubbing

The market has spoken: Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are quickly elevating as top priorities for corporate management and boards. In today's ever changing business climate, attention to ESG issues is becoming critical to long-term competitive success.

In his annual letter to CEOs, Blackrock's CEO Larry Fink wrote "a company's ability to manage environmental, social, and governance matters demonstrate the leadership and good governance that is so essential to sustainable growth, which is why we are increasingly integrating these issues into our investment process."

Today the US market has seen a proliferation of investment into companies operating with meaningful ESG strategies and efforts, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. At the same time, ESG reports and scores have become as much an indicator of a company's health and worth as standard financial reports.

As your nonprofit partner, we are deeply invested in social impact and it got us thinking: In the complex arena of corporate social impact, your employee relief fund program is a tangible and powerful illustration of your company's commitment to the S in ESG.

The workforce consideration

The "S" has a profound impact on corporate culture, employee engagement, talent retention and overall productivity. Increasingly, employees want to work for an organization with values similar to their own. They want an employer with purpose and a mission beyond generating revenue.

According to the Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement study, 75% of millennials said they would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company. 83% would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues. And 76% consider a company's social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work.

That study was conducted pre-pandemic. Given what we've seen from early research into the post-pandemic workforce, those percentages are likely to continue to increase.

Employee relief responds to the desires of this ever-changing workforce: The concept of employee relief is multifaceted. You are providing financial relief to those employees impacted by hardship or disaster, creating a sense of connection between the employee and the company. At the same time your program provides a charitable vehicle for fellow employees to contribute and support their colleagues, fostering a deeper sense of community. Offering a relief program sends a clear message that your organization cares about its people beyond the 9-to-5.

Client shoutout

PETCO detailed its employee relief efforts in its 2020 ESG Report, which rated employee health, safety and well-being as "critically important," the highest priority the company designates. The company launched the PETCO Partner Assistance fund with E4E Relief to help employees with financial difficulties related to COVID-19 and other disasters. That fund awarded over $1.3 million in assistance to 1,300 employees impacted by the pandemic, fires and hurricanes in 2020.
If you want to find out how to include your employee relief program in your next ESG report, we are happy to connect you with fellow clients who are doing so read here.

You can't land on the wrong side of employee relief

Our own research shows that 73% of relief grant applicants said having an employee relief program made them feel more positively towards their employer. 27% of relief grant recipients were able to immediately direct more of their attention to their work as a result.

While the "E" in ESG is embraced for its accessibility of information, the "S" has a reputation for complexity. Identifying meaning strategies resulting in meaningful impact and being easy to measure can be challenging.

Employee relief is an easy to implement program with immediate benefits to your employees that is easy to track, measure and report. It offers a way to strengthen the "S" in your ESG approach while mitigating risk. And mitigation of risk is a vital part of every great business strategy.

We often say doing good is good business. The "S" factor seems to prove that as well with the understanding that contributing to a culture of compassion in times of need - providing a means to respond and help a peer out is likely to encourage engagement, loyalty and productivity.