Upholding robust ESG Principles brings benefits
Organisations are increasingly recognising the benefits of partnering with a security solutions provider that upholds robust environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles. This creates a positive impact beyond any immediate security needs.
This relatively recent shift in thinking is underpinned by a recognition that security measures are intertwined with broader ethical considerations, sustainability and social responsibilities. ESG-conscious security solutions providers are more likely to have a comprehensive approach to risk management. They consider not only the technical and operational aspects of security but also understand the impact of ESG-based risks that could impact a customer’s activities.
Employee wellbeing is a critical factor in any ESG strategy, as it demonstrates a company’s commitment to the health and happiness of its workforce. In 2017 the Thriving at Work report made 40 recommendations for businesses, regulators, the government and the public sector, after it found one worker in six suffers from a mental illness and 300,000 people with long-term psychological problems lose their jobs every year. But even six years on, many organisations still have not embraced recommended changes, with implications for the entire industry.
Poor employee wellbeing also has severe repercussions for employers in terms of staff turnover, decreased productivity and sickness absence. Conversely, when employees are physically and mentally healthy, and feel supported, they are more engaged, motivated and capable of performing at their best. It also contributes to higher levels of job satisfaction, and a positive work environment that supports wellbeing fosters a sense of loyalty and belonging among employees. Not only is this good for the individual, it also can enhance profitability and operational effectiveness.
All things being equal
When people of different ages, sexual orientations, genders, socio-economic classes, ethnicities, cultures, religions, and physical and mental abilities work together, their unique perspectives lead to greater creativity. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is becoming a significant issue for younger people and research from Sensu Insight revealed that 31 per cent of Gen Z – those aged 16 to 24 – will actively look to work for employers that proactively prioritise EDI in their workforce.
The decision to partner with a security solutions provider that can demonstrate strong ESG principles is closely aligned with the fundamental values of EDI. Furthermore, an EDI-focused security solutions provider will understand the diverse nature of threats and vulnerabilities that customer organisations face, taking into account factors such as cultural differences, social contexts and varying needs of different groups. This competence fosters a better understanding of security procedures, while minimising misunderstandings and conflicts.
An effective EDI strategy makes a significant contribution to employee wellbeing and engagement, contributing to an inclusive work environment where employees from diverse backgrounds feel respected and valued. For example, Wilson James has created an EDI Steering Group and networks in four key areas – gender, race, LGBT+ and disability. People within these groups are given opportunities to excel in positions of responsibility, and having visible role models maintains a culture where respect, tolerance and equality are to the fore.
Just the job
According to Mintel, between 2021 and 2026 the UK physical security market’s value is expected to rise by 19 per cent, reaching £4.9bn. This means that not only is the security sector growing, it will need highly trained, skilled and motivated people from a range of backgrounds, characteristics and identities in order to thrive. Whether it’s down to a negative perception, or simply a lack of awareness about what it can offer, the simple fact is that too few people are looking to build a career in the security services sector.
According to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), there is a shortfall of over 60,000 security officers in the UK. This is being addressed by the Security Skills Board, which is examining the need for higher standards of professionalism. It is currently working to develop an outline of the capabilities required for current and future roles and define a career pathway that supports and facilitates career development and progression.
Leading security solutions providers are playing their part by offering apprenticeships, career development, training and skills development opportunities in areas such as behavioural detection, risk assessment, conflict management and de-escalation techniques. It is already acknowledged that a diverse and inclusive workplace is more likely to attract and retain top talent, as is one that offers mental health support, flexible work arrangements, effective workload management, a defined remuneration structure and a positive company culture.
Those procuring security solutions should go beyond the immediate services on offer and work with a company that treats its employees with respect and demonstrates that they are valued. As well as seeking a provider with a clear ESG strategy, look one that values and actively promotes EDI principles within its operation and enquire about policies, practices and initiatives aimed at fostering a diverse workforce and inclusive culture. This can lead to a more positive customer experience and contribute to a fairer and more equitable society.
Senior Human Resources Business Partner, Wilson James