Debbie Lovewell: Health and wellbeing disclosure

In recent years, companies have increasingly recognised the benefits of disclosing information about their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies and activities aimed at raising their profiles in this area.

In a similar vein, many investors are now pushing organisations to disclose information on their approach to human capital management, including, for the first time, information on the health and wellbeing of their workforce.

Investors’ interest in such disclosure was initially fuelled by a government report, Accounting for people, which was published back in 2003, but was later shelved. Widespread disclosure of information about their approach to employee health and wellbeing is, therefore, somewhat lacking among employers.

Given the insights that an organisation’s approach to its workforce’s health can provide, it is perhaps unsurprising that investors are keen to have such information. As well as helping them to understand any potential risks to the businesses in which they are looking to invest, organisations that have mechanisms in place to support employee wellbeing and are willing to disclose data about their staff health profi le are more likely to be viewed as credible and successful than others that do not. This can be particularly important in industries where employee safety at work is paramount.

Supporting employees to maintain both their physical and mental health is particularly important in times of change, when there is the potential for significant upheaval in the workplace, for example during a merger or acquisition. In such situations, employers may want to ensure that their employees are aware of all the benefits that are available to them so they can make use of them should the need arise. During stressful times, for example, staff may value knowing there is an employee assistance programme available to them if they need help.

But whatever the situation, healthcare and wellbeing benefits need not cost a fortune to provide. Many options are available that enable employers to create a valuable health and wellbeing package for staff even on a limited budget.

Debbie Lovewell, Deputy Editor