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  • Nicola O'Shea | Managing Director | PAM OH Solutions

How to use wellbeing benefits to boost your ESG credentials

diverse diseblaed business people

As the ESG agenda expands from environmental considerations to the impact of the organisation on its people here are three ways to put the ‘S’ into ESG.

New sustainability disclosure standards (ISBB) are set to put increased scrutiny on the ‘S’ of ESG – the social impact of your company on people including your employees.


This means it’s now more important than ever to consider issues such as your ability to support those with health conditions and neurodiversity considerations to stay in work.


Fortunately, although the wellbeing support you already have in place might be seen as separate to your ESG agenda, it could already be boosting your credentials in this area. For example, by increasing access to healthcare or making your workplace more inclusive.


For some more insights on how to use your wellbeing benefits to report on how you’re putting the ‘S’ into your ESG agenda, read our top three tips below.

Three ways to use wellbeing benefits to put the ‘S’ into ESG

1. Increase access to healthcare


One of the biggest social issues currently facing employees in the UK is access to healthcare. The latest ONS figures showing that nearly 10 million people are now waiting for NHS appointments or treatments. This means anything you can do to extend healthcare to someone who would otherwise struggle to access this will enhance your ESG credentials.


Providing access to physical or mental health support, is often seen as being separate to the wider ESG agenda. However, by providing employees with access to help within days, instead of months, you’re not only supporting your people to stay healthy but also supporting the economy of your local community, by empowering people to stay in paid employment.


However, if it’s only your senior employees and leadership teams who currently enjoy health benefits, think about how you might redistribute the spend so that employees most in need can also benefit. For example, you could give everyone access to free preventative benefits, such as physiotherapy, health screening and mental health counselling.


This could also help to bring down insurance claims and reduce the risk of people becoming too sick to work in the first place. So the more people you can support, the more powerful your people outcomes and ESG reporting will be.

2. Support diversity and inclusion


Employers are increasingly required to report more on how they’re making the workplace an inclusive and fair environment. However, only 15% of neurodivergent individuals are in employment and one in ten women have quit their job due to menopause symptoms. At the same time, one in three people with a hidden health condition, ranging from anxiety to heart disease, feel they must hide their symptoms at work. This means they’re not getting the support needed to manage their condition to stay in work – and everyone loses.


In many cases, individuals who are struggling don’t know why. Yet occupational health services can prove particularly effective at helping people to get the diagnosis and reasonable adjustments they need to perform.


For example, an individual with undiagnosed ADHD, referred due to perceived performance issues, might be given a diagnosis and recommendation for verbal instead of written instructions. Meanwhile, a perimenopausal woman, struggling with memory issues and fatigue, can be helped to understand the underlying reasons for this and directed towards appropriate treatment or support.


Overall, wellbeing support tailored to individuals not only has a valuable role to play in reducing sickness absence and staff attrition, but also supporting wider equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) objectives. In turn helping to put the ‘S’ into your ESG reporting.

3. Reduce work-related sickness


How well employers are looking after their people is rapidly becoming the new measuring stick for ESG. This means any progress you make to reduce the risk of employees becoming sick through work will go down particularly well with stakeholders - especially as work-related sickness is soaring with the latest HSE statistics showing that 1.8m people are going sick each year due to work-related ill health.


Over half these cases are due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression, with two-thirds of employees saying they’ve experienced burnout or fatigue. Critical to addressing this is putting in place stress risk assessments to understand the underlying factors driving this. Our own stress risk assessment looks at the HSE management standards covering the extent to which people feel supported by managers, as well as how reasonable the demands being placed upon them are, and how much control they have over how they do their work.


As simple as this might sound, it’s a proven framework for identifying the underlying reasons driving work-related stress. Similarly, a little bit of money spent assessing musculoskeletal (MSK) risks, and designing these out with equipment or education, can also go a long way towards preventing the one in four cases of MSK work-related ill health.


All of which will help you to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to anticipating questions from customers, looking into the ‘social’ credentials of their supply chain, as part of their own ESG reporting.


In summary, when reporting on ESG outcomes, make sure you:


- Report on how you’re making access to healthcare more inclusive

- Use wellbeing benefits to support people to stay in employment

- Identifying and addressing factors driving work-related ill health


Free webinar: Using courageous conversations to reduce mental health absence


Mental health issues, including stress, anxiety and depression, are the main factors undermining employee health. Managers are typically the first to notice when an employee starts to struggle – but they often lack the confidence needed to help employees open up.


In this webinar, health and wellbeing consultant, Kathy Cox, and our head of occupational health training, Janet O’Neill, discuss how to inform and train managers to have the ‘courageous conversations’ needed to support those who are struggling, before they go sick.


How PAM OH can help to boost your ESG credentials


- Mental health, neurodiversity and physiotherapy helplines to enable employees to access the support they need within days, instead of having to wait months


- Occupational health assessments to help employees understand underlying reasons for symptoms and provide managers with reasonable adjustments to help them stay in work


- HSE compliant risk assessments to identify physical and mental health risks posed to employees and help reduce the risk of employees working in ways that will harm them


If you would like to set up a free consultation, to discuss the opportunities for supporting the wellbeing of your people to boost your ESG credentials, please email


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