Going green and ethical with employee benefits for financial wellbeing

How can employers offer benefits that meet green and ethical credentials? Last week PES led its third discussion on the subject, focusing particularly on financial wellbeing products.

The event was hosted by Triodos Bank and brought together eleven businesses with a common interest in the subject.

We were joined by speakers from Legal & General and Smarterly. Each one shared insights into why employee benefits for financial wellbeing can appeal to ethically-minded workers.

Ethical investment equals employee engagement

Simon Chinnery from Legal & General explained that a great way to engage employees with the idea of saving money is to highlight how their pension fund is invested.

The demographics of investors is fundamentally changing. People under the age of 40 understand that this ‘slow money’ which could be invested for a long time, perhaps for up to 30 or 40 years. Employees are becoming increasingly concerned about how their employers will be investing their pension money, and how this reflects their core values.

This means that long-term investments present a serious opportunity for businesses across the globe. Employers are using these funds not only to address employee concerns, but also to develop their ethical stance and approach to sustainability. They are focusing on issues such as the environment, corporate governance and social responsibility.

Providers can influence other businesses

One of Legal & General’s most successful initiatives has been the Climate Impact Pledge. The company has actively worked with 84 of the world’s largest businesses to measure how each is dealing with their energy impact and the wider climate. Legal & General has either ‘named and praised’ or ‘named and shamed’ companies, depending on their performance. This has led to demonstrable engagement from the senior management teams of the businesses involved.

Ethical ISAs help employees make investment choices

One of the biggest barriers to helping employees make investment decisions is the complexity of ‘picking a fund’, or building a portfolio.

According to Steve Watson from Smarterly, this can be turned on its head by encouraging investors to think about their relationship with money. One of the things Smarterly invites employees to consider is ethical investments. Thanks to their easy-to-use technology, employees can invest in an ethical ISA with just a few clicks.

By 2025, around 75% of the workforce will be generation Y (or millennials), so the dynamics of saving in the workplace are changing Socially responsible investments and saving into Lifetime ISAs (as opposed to auto enrolment) are moving up the agenda, appealing to the concerns of this generation.

Caroline Scotton, Employee Services Manager at Oxygen House said, ‘‘Many thanks for hosting and inviting us to such an interesting forum. It was excellent and well worth the travel! We found it very thought-provoking and will certainly be exploring some of the points raised.’’

A taste of other topics

The green and ethical benefits discussion ranged over a number of other topics including:

  • the pros and cons of going paperless
  • green and ethical savings: what is the employer role in default investments?
  • how communication is the key to helping employees make informed decision on socially responsible benefits
  • the role of your HR software in managing the employee experience.

Want to join the green and ethical benefits debate?

PES launched these regular discussions to provide a forum for companies who aim to:

  • align their employee benefits offering with their organisational values
  • give their employees a good experience
  • encourage greater awareness
  • promote positive, sustainable, healthy behaviours.

If you’d like to join us for our next debate, please get in touch.

About PES

Delivering a great employee experience is a challenge for growing organisations. At PES, it’s what we do. Our online employee benefits platform, HR support and workplace wellbeing services bring out the best in your employees – enabling your business to thrive.

Call us on 01454 808658, email us at hello@wearepes.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form.