Understanding the worth of the workforce – a stewardship toolkit for pension funds
The Association has published a stewardship ‘toolkit’ for pension funds, providing advice on the type of information our members should request from the companies they invest in about their workforces and corporate cultures. The toolkit builds on the themes covered by our discussion paper ‘Where’s the Workforce in Corporate Reporting?, which highlighted how the extent to which companies invest in training, developing and motivating their workers, and ensuring they feel empowered and fairly treated at work, is critical to its long-term success.
This latest publication was developed through a series of discussions with our members, as well as companies themselves and other stakeholders from the investment community, academia and civil society. It recommends that pension funds encourage investee companies to use their annual reports to detail their corporate cultures and working practices in a narrative form that relates the way they manage and engage their workforce to their wider strategy and business model. At the same time the narrative should be underpinned by consistent, concrete data, using performance metrics such as:
- Gender diversity
- Employment type (eg full time, part time, agency)
- Staff turnover
- Accidents, injuries and workplace illnesses
- Investment in training and development
- Pay ratios (across highest, media and lowest quartiles)
- Employee engagement
The toolkit also highlights ways in which our members can corroborate information presented by companies in annual reports, and suggests more qualitative questions that they can ask of companies at individual meetings. It can be used both as a template for those of our members that invest directly, or as a benchmark against which to assess the stewardship activities of existing and prospective consultants and investment managers in this area, for those who outsource their investment and stewardship work.
For the next phase of this project, the Association will be arranging a series of individual meetings with our members and their key investee companies to improve reporting in this area and the engagement and development of workers at UK companies over the long-term. To find out more about this work or about the toolkit, please contact Karen Hurst, Senior Policy Adviser via k[email protected]