United Kingdom

Aon survey shows growing importance of environment and sustainability issues to staff

Environmental and sustainability issues are becoming increasingly important for staff, employers say.

People in a meeting at work

Respondents to the tenth annual Aon Benefits and Trends Survey 2020 said the surprise trend came seventh as the ‘most important employee expectation’ for the first time.

Over half (54 per cent) said employees are wanting more clarity and positivity on the subject.

Flexible working hours, home working opportunities and mental health awareness and support topped the ‘employee expectation’ list, with 94 per cent of employers acknowledging that employee expectations of their work experience are changing.

The top eight employee expectations included:

  • Flexible working (97 per cent)
  • Agile or home working opportunities (94 per cent)
  • Better awareness or handling of mental health issues (88 per cent)
  • Improved approach to diversity and inclusion (72 per cent)
  • Improved pay/leave/return to work policies (68 per cent)
  • Casual dress codes (61 per cent)
  • Clear and positive environmental and sustainability policies (54 per cent)
  • Access to financial education (48 per cent).

In addition, 81 per cent of employers are prepared to change and adapt their current benefit offering to meet the needs of future generations, while just 38 per cent said their benefits already met the needs of a multi-generational workforce.

Commenting on the survey results, Richard Morgan, principal at Aon, said the workplace has become an ‘extension of our everyday lives’, while growing awareness around work-life balance, more effective use of technology, mental health support and diversity and inclusion meant that employee expectations are also increasing.

“It is encouraging that employers see the strength of opinion on mental health and diversity and inclusions, as these have gained significant momentum over the last few years,” he said.

Meanwhile, the addition of environmental and sustainability policies on the list of choices in the survey for the first time and its subsequent and immediate high rating was an ‘important indicator’ as to its relevance, Morgan explained. “[This echoes] the conversations we have with clients as they increasingly seek advice on weaving sustainability into their benefits and communications.”

Morgan called on businesses to consider the ‘many opportunities’ to embrace environmental and sustainable policies including removing single use plastic, offering electric cars and cycle to work schemes. He added: “The range scales from employers needing to consider charging points in car parks, showers and storage racks for cyclists to ethical pension funds, as increasingly employees want to invest in companies that have good governance around sustainability.”

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