Investing in employee well-being: innovative policies and benefits

Investing in employee well-being: innovative policies and benefits

CURATED COLLECTION

The COVID-19 pandemic served as catalyst for employers to invest more deeply and creatively in employee wellbeing, driven by fundamental changes to workplaces (e.g. remote work), implications for healthcare, family and childcare support, financial outlook, and more. Simultaneously, increased focus on racial justice and equity has heightened private sector commitments to inclusive workplace policies for marginalized communities. More recently, policy changes in the U.S. –  including the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the childcare cliff – have escalated the need for employers to increase benefits that supplement lack of government supports. 

Employees and companies alike are placing workplace wellbeing higher on their priority lists. 91% of employees find that their job plays a role in determining their wellbeing, and 57% report seriously considering quitting for a more supportive workplace. 76% of U.S. executives feel that expectations about workforce wellbeing are higher than in previous years, and 87% say that workforce wellbeing gives their company a competitive advantage. In addition to productivity and retention advantages, companies with higher employee wellbeing scores fare better financially, showing a superior return on assets, higher profits, and higher valuations.

When balanced with other core aspects of employee experience (including leadership behaviors and job design), inclusive employee policies and benefits can play a significant role in supporting holistic wellbeing. This Curated Collection provides the business rationale for and innovative examples of private sector wellbeing policies and benefits across five key areas: reproductive health, family care, paid leave, financial wellbeing, and mental health.


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Skilling the future workforce: 8 recs for corporate leaders

Skilling the future workforce: 8 recs for corporate leaders

EXECUTIVE BRIEFING

Private sector engagement with skills-based hiring is increasing in response to employment gaps and escalating economic precarity. Between 2017 and 2019, 46% of middle-skill and 31% of high-skill occupations experienced material degree resets. And in 2022, 79% of HR professionals reported that scores on skills assessments are just as or more important than traditional criteria in hiring decisions.

These are positive trends from an economic and a social perspective. Skills-based hiring is critical to increasing equity and diversity in the workplace, as traditional credential-based hiring tends to screen out, disqualify, or exclude applicants without a four year degree.

While increased commitment to skills-based hiring is an important step toward a more prepared and more inclusive workforce, many companies are learning that in-demand skills do not exist in adequate supply. Some of those businesses are taking it upon themselves to develop the skill-based talent pipeline that will be necessary to power their organizations, industries, and broader market into the future.

To better understand how companies are investing in the skills-based training ecosystem, before hiring even comes into frame, we dug deep with nine organizations on the cutting edge of workforce development.

Through our conversations with leaders and practitioners, we uncovered a depth of contributions to changing and scaling the learning systems that are preparing workers for quality jobs. Our report compiles eight recommendations to provide guidance for private sector employers who are committed to skilling the future workforce and ultimately contributing meaningfully to a more just and equitable workplace. 

The eight recommendations:

 

  • Decide if you aim to be influential at a systems, sector, or company level
  • Position your strategy correctly within your company’s infrastructure
  • Lean into (and use) your company’s strengths
  • Build a well-balanced partner portfolio
  • Design for replicability and scalability
  • Mind the non-skills gap between learner and earner
  • Engage in pre-competitive transparency and collaboration
  • Bring rigor and patience to impact measurement

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Datasets for economic mobility

Datasets for economic mobility

CURATED COLLECTION

Wealth inequality and income inequality in the United States are significantly higher than in other OECD countries. And economic mobility is rigid. The likelihood of an individual moving from low wealth status to high wealth status over the course of their lifetime is low. Income disparity and wealth inequality are rooted in an array of social and economic factors, including race and geography. These factors create what is known as the economic opportunity gap.

This Curated Collection provides social impact leaders in the public and private sectors with a roundup of data-driven tools to strengthen their decision-making processes in addressing the economic opportunity gap. The resources provide specific consideration for indicators of racial equity and social justice and factors that promote mobility for disadvantaged groups across neighborhoods, communities, and states.

Resources include (but are not limited to) the following: 

  • Tools that allow companies to benchmark themselves against others on strategy and progress; 
  • Datasets that support deciding which communities would benefit most from company investments to increase equity;
  • Resources that encourage companies to prioritize racial and social factors that affect indicators of wealth (e.g., access to education and employment, and asset ownership).

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How employees value social impact

How employees value social impact

NATIONSWELL PRIMER

Business performance and brand value are increasingly understood as connected to an organization’s social purpose and impact. In fact, 89% of business leaders believe companies that lead with purpose have a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace, and 85% agree being a purpose-driven company drives profit (Porter Novelli, 2020). One of the groups at the root of this advantage are employees, who exert significant influence over a company’s success. In an environment where leaders overestimate customer trust by 38% and employee trust by 45% (Deloitte, 2021), it’s important to understand how these stakeholders factor social impact into their decisions about which corporations to buy from and work for.

This one-page primer compiles illustrative data about the ways employees are driving up the value of corporate social impact. Download to learn more.


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The state of play: DEIB

The state of play: DEIB

Organizations have taken a larger interest in the practice of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging since COVID-19, the murder of George Floyd, and other pivotal events brought long-entrenched societal inequities into the spotlight. While their arc of progress is uneven, the simple fact remains: injustice occurs as prominently in workplaces as anywhere else, affording companies the opportunity – perhaps the responsibility – to model solutions that could ultimately yield a wider societal benefit. This trend report describes five key trends for DEIB in 2022:

The trends: 

  • With high expectations from current and prospective employees, companies are revamping recruitment to meet diversity goals; they are struggling to employ complete strategies.
  • To advance equity and inclusion, companies are leaning into stronger benefits, policy updates, and employee resource groups; data on efficacy is scarce, but makes clear that the work is just beginning.
  • Employee perspectives on DEIB effectiveness vary in ways that are unsurprising; company leadership has a responsibility for more open and reciprocal communications to better respond to these differences.
  • Reporting and disclosures around DEIB are improving, but the data is inconsistent and incomplete.
  • DEIB executives are turning over at an increasingly high rate; lack of resourcing, insufficient company-wide engagement, and burnout are major contributors.

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Social impact professionals’ views on the changing talent pipeline

Social impact professionals’ views on the changing talent pipeline

SURVEY FINDINGS

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the way we work in unprecedented ways, both positively and negatively. While many employees attained new flexibility to work from home, and others exercised new leverage to pursue beneficial career shifts, many others experienced significant difficulties, like record high rates of burnout, layoffs, and rising cost of living. Educational attainment patterns have also shifted, with lower levels of post-secondary enrollment and higher levels of dropout changing the outlook for future workforce qualifications. For employers, these trends are increasing pressure to evaluate strategies and investments that affect the education, training, and retention of their current and future employees.

To better understand the sentiments and priorities of purpose-driven professionals, individuals who are often at the vanguard of social impact and innovation, NationSwell partnered with Lydia Loizides, President of Talentedly. Together we surveyed the NationSwell Council, a diverse community of individual changemakers, to learn more about their unique perspective on the evolving demands of the talent pipeline in the United States. This report provides findings from that survey.

Specifically, it explores three themes that emerged from eight major findings: 

Educating the future workforce

  • Social impact professionals say the educational and job training ecosystems are in need of reform to better prepare young people for success in the workforce
  • Social impact professionals aren’t ready to do away with post-secondary education as a credentialing system
  • Social impact professionals want companies to be more directly involved in the education and training of the workforce, including during their post-secondary years
  • In their desire for a more prepared workforce, social impact professionals say soft skills are the most important

Hiring and recruiting talent

  • DEIB remains a top priority for social impact professionals, particularly as it pertains to recruiting and retention, but actions are lagging behind intentions
  • A majority of social impact professionals are aware of organizational plans to change hiring and recruitment strategies in the next 12 months, identifying a range of modest to bold efforts to increase candidate diversity

Retaining and engaging employees

  • To keep employees satisfied and engaged, organizations have been focused on improving communications from senior leadership and promoting remote/hybrid workplace flexibility.
  • ​​Social impact professionals are keen on increased compensation and stronger communications around professional advancement as key to strengthening employees’ job commitment in the next 12 months.

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