By Daniel Hunter

Results of the first Workwell FTSE 100 benchmark, which scored the level of publicly available information provided by organisations across 25 employee engagement and wellbeing indicators, were issued by Business in the Community (BITC) at the start of Responsible Business Week.

They highlight both the information currently available for investors to analyse how FTSE 100 organisations manage their 6.3 million employees and the need for increased transparency to show whether robust people practices are in place to drive long term success.

While the average score for all the FTSE 100 organisations was 21 per cent, there was clear leadership from Barclays, British Land Company, BT, Johnson Matthey and RBS who achieved significantly higher scores.

“The Workwell benchmark represents a new chapter for CSR reporting and the low average scores are not unexpected at this first stage of development," Stephen Howard, BITC Chief Executive, said.

"We are encouraged by the examples of leadership highlighted through this process, and by the commitment shown by a third of FTSE 100 companies, who proactively took part in the survey.

“We introduced our Corporate Responsibility Index 10 years ago and have seen how organisations have built their confidence in reporting key environmental and societal benefits through sustainability reports.

Now we are encouraging organisations to use data effectively to demonstrate responsible people management and drive business performance improvements. The survey for the 2014 Workwell benchmark will be launched in September this year and we will work closely with organisations to help them develop their reporting practices.”

The highest scoring Workwell indicators were Diversity and Inclusion (at 50 per cent of total marks) and Health and Safety (at 44 per cent), showing how compliance drives measurement and reporting. Manufacturing and Mining industry sectors scored highest in the Health and Safety reporting indicator, achieving 75 per cent and 67 per cent respectively and reflecting the importance of this area for their business.

The lowest scoring area was in the provision of Better Specialist Support — which includes provision for mental health support — where the average score was only nine per cent. This raises concerns about organisational resilience as employees face high levels of stress in the current economic climate and the associated costs continue to rise.

It is likely that companies have more policies and programmes in operation than they currently report externally but trends, intelligence or learnings from these initiatives are not being put in the public domain. For example, research shows that 85 per cent of UK companies offer an Employee Assistance Programme as part of their support but the benchmark score for the provision of Employee Assistance Programmes only scored six per cent.

Irwin Lee, Managing Director of Procter & Gamble UK and Chair of the Workwell Leadership Group, said: “This is a critical first step towards open reporting on employee engagement and wellbeing, and comes at a really important time. Now more than ever our businesses need to demonstrate their resilience and this means people must be at the centre of both business and organisational strategy. We expect to see significant benefits for individuals and our overall businesses from this important work to consolidate and formalise public reporting of wellbeing and engagement levels in our organisations.”

Dr Paul Litchfield, Chief Medical Officer for BT Group and chair of the Workwell Steering Group, said: “Reporting publicly against the Workwell model gives companies the opportunity to demonstrate that they are taking a sustainable approach to the management of their people. We are delighted that BT has been identified as a leader but we see this as a starting point from which we intend to improve.

"We have established a simple evidence based framework to foster workplace wellbeing and we underpin that with metrics to show the impact of what we do on business performance. By publishing this data we hope to demonstrate our progress in creating a culture that facilitates growth even in times of austerity.”

BITC’s Workwell benchmark was developed in response to research showing a positive link between strong people management and organisational performance, with FTSE 100 companies that have robust arrangements for reporting on employee engagement and wellbeing outperforming the rest of the FTSE 100 by 10 per cent. The benchmark also responded to investor demands for a standardised measurement of employee management that could inform their investment decisions.

FTSE 100 organisations were scored by Towers Watson against BITC’s Workwell criteria, with a total of 25 indicators used across the five areas of BITC’s Workwell Model: Better Work; Better Relationships; Better Specialist Support; Better Physical and Psychological Health; and Working Well.

One third of FTSE 100 companies self completed the questionnaire, scoring on average twice as highly as those who had their surveys completed by Towers Watson on their behalf. EDF Energy, who is not in the FTSE 100 but are members of the BITC Workwell Steering Group, completed the benchmark voluntarily and was also identified as a leader. Companies with strong CSR reports were found to score more highly on the benchmark. Lower scoring industry sectors tended to have diverse international workforces with fewer consistent metrics.

Summary of average scores by industry sector:

· Manufacturing — 33 per cent
· Pharma, Biotech & Medical Equipment — 26%
· Real Estate Investment & Services — 25%
· Financial Services and Retail — 24%
· FMCG (Food, Beverage, Tobacco) — 23%
· Media — 22%
· Oil & Gas (Producers and support Services) and Utilities — 21%
· Travel & Leisure — 19%
· Mining — 16%
· Services (including Business, Outsourced) — 15%
· Engineering (Manufacturing & related) — 14%

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