Promoting wellbeing with the Responsible Business Tracker®

Post author image. Lucy Dwyer
Lucy Dwyer, Insights and Innovation Manager at Business in the Community (BITC), explains how the Responsible Business Tracker® can improve your organisation’s approach to employee health and wellbeing.

Developed through consultation with over 200 businesses, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government and international partners, Business in the Community’s (BITC) Responsible Business Tracker® (‘the Tracker’) is an essential measurement tool for organisations looking to take responsible business seriously.

Your organisation or sector may call this work corporate responsibility (CR), corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, sustainability or corporate citizenship, but at BITC we call it responsible business.

Business in the Community (BITC) defines a responsible business as a healthy business. It is one that puts creating healthy communities and a healthy environment at the centre of its strategy to achieve long-term value. The Tracker is included in BITC membership but is also available to any business to assess performance and progress alongside BITC’s Responsible Business Map. Our Responsible Business Map guides our members on a journey of continuous improvement, working across the whole responsible business agenda. The map is built on the United Nations Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect people and communities around the UK, the Responsible Business Tracker® enables responsible businesses to take stock of what matters at a complex, changeable time. By identifying and analysing the issues that are most important to their teams, leaders, customers and other stakeholders, the Tracker helps businesses strategically prioritise actions that can drive improvement.

The critical importance of health and wellbeing in the current business climate

The pandemic has emphasised the connected nature of employee health and wellbeing to wider organisational performance. Employees across the UK have had to adapt to changes in the workplace, or managing the complex challenges of working from home. It is imperative that employers respond, particularly around mental health and wellbeing.

All employers have a legal responsibility and duty of care to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their employees, wherever they work.

Louise Aston, Wellbeing Director at Business in the Community

There are many aspects of wellbeing that have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, including loneliness, isolation, and reduced access to services and support.

In June 2021, BITC and Public Health England released updated guidance for businesses to support employees affected by domestic abuse. 2.3 million people are victims of domestic abuse in the UK each year, and incidences have risen since lockdowns began in March 2020¹. This follows other publications addressing support for colleagues affected by death, bereavement and suicide; tips for employers on providing solid foundations for staff with caring responsibilities (BITC member only factsheet) (it is estimated that up to 600 people leave their jobs every day in the UK due to the challenges of balancing caring and work commitments²); discussions around the connection between nature and mental wellbeing, and forthcoming guides on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Black, Asian and ethnic minority women.

BITC Wellbeing Director, Louise Aston recently reflected on the rising importance for businesses in ensuring clear policies, practices, and behaviours to support employee wellbeing. “All employers have a legal responsibility and duty of care to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their employees, wherever they work. We would be in a healthier, safer and more productive work environment if all employers created policies to support their colleagues.”

Health and wellbeing is a key aspect of responsible business

Participants in the Responsible Business Tracker® confirm the growing significance of health and wellbeing to their business. Since its launch in 2019, over 110 UK businesses have completed the Tracker. In 2019, 62% of participants ranked health and wellbeing as highly material. In the most recent intake, 90% of participants ranked it in their top three issues.

The Responsible Business Tracker® highlights opportunities to leverage positives and scale up impact by sharing best practice with peers and helping to shape and influence the responsible business agenda more broadly.

Candice Guerreiro, Head of Responsible Business at ENGIE

The health and wellbeing section of the Tracker consists of five key questions. BITC urges all businesses to answer them when considering their approach.

  1. How is the business governing health and wellbeing issues?
    This covers accountability and oversight, skills and capabilities, collaboration and partnerships.
  2. How is the business considering health and wellbeing issues in strategy and risk?
    This covers identification and management of risks and opportunities, strategy development.
  3. How is the business measuring its performance around health and wellbeing issues?
    This covers key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure inputs, outputs and impacts, setting targets.
  4. How is the business disclosing its activities and performance around health and wellbeing issues?
    This covers internal and external disclosure, disclosure of progress, targets and impacts.
  5. What action has the business taken to make progress around health and wellbeing issues?
    This covers steps the business has taken to make a positive change and alignment with best practice.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell took part in the most recent round of Tracker assessments and ranked health and wellbeing as a highly material issue for its business. This prioritisation demonstrates their commitment to ensuring colleagues have access to support as it manages ongoing developments around hybrid working. Reflecting on their experience of using the Responsible Business Tracker®, Kate Rawlings, Responsible Business Manager at Irwin Mitchell, said: “It’s been a really helpful tool to use and already provided insights on where we’re performing well, where there are opportunities to improve and how we can make those changes.”

Energy provider ENGIE also emphasised the importance of health and wellbeing to its approach to responsible business in the latest Tracker round. Both businesses found the Tracker useful in helping them identify strengths, as well as areas for improvement. Candice Guerreiro, Head of Responsible Business at ENGIE, said: “It highlights opportunities to leverage positives and scale up the impact by sharing best practice with peers and helping to shape and influence the responsible business agenda more broadly”.

Looking to improve your approach to health and wellbeing?

Employees who feel supported in addressing their mental health and wellbeing are more likely to be productive and display greater levels of loyalty3. Clear commitments to health and wellbeing can also benefit your business’ value proposition for new hires and potential investors4. By participating in the Responsible Business Tracker®, your business will benefit from decades of expertise and have the opportunity to compare your progress to peers. BITC’s Tracker team will ensure you can access the support you need to design, implement, and manage activities to boost employee wellbeing, including tailored advice and support.

If you are already a BITC member, contact your BITC Relationship Manager to discuss how the Tracker can support your responsible business ambitions. Contact us if you do not know the name of your Relationship Manager.

If you are not a BITC member and would like to get a better understanding of how your business compares to peers, and plan a pathway to improving your approach to health and wellbeing, contact the Responsible Business Tracker® team.

WE CAN TAKE YOU FURTHER ON YOUR
RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS JOURNEY

References

  1. BITC and PHE (2021) Domestic Abuse: A toolkit for employers, June 2021  
  2. Business in the Community (2021) Support for every carer at work, June 2021,
  3. CIPD (2021) Wellbeing at work factsheet, 27 April 2021
  4. ibid.