Whilst ESG has recently faced scrutiny within the investment world, we shouldn’t lose sight of why it’s important not only for organisations and the future workforce but also for the sustainable world we want to build.
In this video, SThree’s Director of Purpose and Inclusion, Gemma Branney, explains the importance of ESG during economically tough times and what employers can do to look after their employees and shares her advice on what all this means for talent attraction strategies.
Why is ESG Important?
So ESG is one of the ways that a company really considers all of their stakeholders and thinks about the impact that they have on them, and really ensures that the impact that they're having is positive and adds value. It is one of the ways that we really think about our purpose, and it brings our purpose to life. ESG is a great proof point to why a company exists and why their purpose is so important to them.
What are the conversations happening around ESG at the moment?
One of the main focuses I think for anybody in my profession at the moment is the cost-of-living crisis and the impact that that is having on their business and their stakeholders. If we think about SThree, for example. The cost-of-living crisis impacting our communities. We know that, and we know from history that the most marginalised members of our community are impacted by the economic crisis.
What we can do as a business is really think about what does that mean for us and what role do we play in terms of community impact? So, for example, our clients need access to highly skilled STEM professionals. But what we also have is an opportunity to really engage those marginalised members of the community in pathways to STEM careers, giving our clients access to the very top, best STEM talent available.
Addressing the STEM talent gap because we know that exists and there's a need for more STEM talent. But it also helps us solve some of society's biggest challenges around social mobility and financial equality.
How should organisations approach ESG in a tougher economic landscape?
During a crisis, whether it's a cost-of-living crisis or a global pandemic. It's really important that we reinforce our commitment to ESG. We should continue to deliver the programs, actions and targets that we've committed to because it is the right thing to do, for our stakeholders, but also, for our business performance.
What role does purpose play in the attraction and retention of skilled professionals?
Purpose is so important to talent attraction, you know, there's so many different research papers that show that purpose, and a career with purpose is what people want, especially the next generation coming out of university. Purpose motivates and engages individuals and helps them really navigate and accelerate their career. Purpose to me, is what attracted me to SThree. It’s what attracted so many of our colleagues to SThree. You know, our purpose of bringing skilled people together to build the future means a sustainable future for everyone. And that's exciting and engaging and inspiring. It doesn't just attract people, but it helps retain them. And they share that purpose and share that drive and direction of performance with you.
How do you think organisations should react during tougher times?
So, I think we've got a real opportunity to actually re-energise people and topics that are set around ESG during a crisis. You know, we saw that in the global pandemic where the community really came together and there was a great feeling of neighbourhood and neighbourly spirit. Crises behave like that. They remind people of what they stand for in the values that they hold. We've seen that at SThree, for example, just even in the past few months, the number of volunteering hours that our people are using to go out and help their community has really uplifted. These are the types of things that I think really drive people through a crisis, it helps them stay focused and energised and helps them remember why they love their employer and why they want to work in a company where they have chosen to spend their career.
How can employers look after their people during tougher times?
I think companies need to think about what is it that their employees and people need, and really come up with some bespoke ideas and ways of supporting them through that, whether it is advice on cost-cutting, advice on utilizing your company benefits more to get discounts, for example, you know, there's lots of different things that companies can do. It's really about listening to your people, hearing what they say from the engagement surveys, and making sure that your response is in line with what it is that they need and expect right now.
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