The Responsible Business Awards in Wales shine a spotlight on the businesses tackling Wales’ social, economic and environmental challenges.
Through this year’s Award entries, Welsh business has continued to demonstrate how the close alignment of values with commercial priorities can drive business successes. There was also increasing evidence of responsible business practices (RBPs) addressing workforce priorities. (Jump straight to the Award case studies).
Interestingly, the connection between responsible business and the workforce reflected in our recent online research, where being a “good employer” (treating employees fairly and with respect) was the most important sign that a business is responsible – ranking higher amongst employees than activities traditionally associated with ethical business such as giving to charity.
We also found that being perceived as a good employer has a significant impact on whether someone wants to work for a company. The vast majority (92%) of respondents said that, if they were in a situation where they had two identical job offers, whether the companies treated employees with respect would be an important part of their decision making. Whether companies promote health and wellbeing (86%), promote flexible working (79%), and diversity at work (71%) were also important factors cited for people deciding which company to work for.
Through the 2015 Awards entries we consistently heard from employers that they were looking to develop a talented, skilled, diverse and engaged workforce. Their RBPs were set against this goal, and can largely be broken down into two key areas of impact, recruitment and retention. Their entries evidenced how:
Volunteering provides professional and personal development opportunities
Working with schools builds a talent pipeline;
A positive working environment reduces absence and attrition rates
Members of Generation Y prioritise employers that reflects their values
A healthy, engaged workforce increases productivity
A diverse workforce strengthens a company’s performance.
It is clear from both the 2015 Award entries and our research that the outdated idea of responsible business as being about giving cash or ad hoc CSR activity is over. While these things do have positive impacts, there is far more to being a good business than philanthropy alone and the public and employees look for this.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the judges who kindly donated their time and energy to review and assess all of the Wales Awards entries. The support of our judges, our category sponsors, our event and media sponsors and our entrants themselves enable us to celebrate business as a force for good and inspire many other businesses to embed their responsible business practices. Thank you.
I hope each shortlisted and winning company, and all their employees, feel justifiably proud of their own achievement but also the success of the responsible business community in Wales as a whole. Together we are making a difference.