What is the value of the WDI for companies?
Many companies see their people as their greatest asset and make substantive efforts to invest in and develop their workforce, as well as manage any risks of poor practice. Collecting key data and disclosing relevant information to stakeholders is an important part of this process. There is an increasing trend of progressive firms moving towards further disclosure of workforce information from their direct operations and the first tier of their supply chains.
The WDI builds on this momentum by assisting companies to communicate with investors and other stakeholders about their workforce in a resource-efficient way. Through a response to the WDI, companies have the opportunity to communicate to a significant group of investors about their business strategy and how the workforce plays a role in that. Taking part in the WDI also sends a clear signal of leadership by the company.
Companies are facing more regulatory requirements and pressure for disclosure on how they manage their employees and supply chains. The timing is right for a mechanism which provides guidance and encouragement for companies to collect and report key data underpinning company strategies, policies and practices.
The WDI points to some of the fundamental data that a company should start to collect and report on. It also provides a forum for sharing best practices and celebrating leadership through highlighting examples of positive responses or useful learnings.
How does the WDI complement other reporting initiatives?
A number of mandatory reporting standards and voluntary reporting frameworks apply to companies on workforce issues. Key pieces of legislation like the 2015 UK Modern Slavery Act and the 2014 EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive have pushed companies to disclose information. Companies are also integrating voluntary frameworks into their reporting practices.
The WDI is not attempting to reinvent these initiatives. Instead it aims to bring together key questions from mandatory reporting standards and voluntary reporting frameworks into a single consolidated survey. The WDI survey closely reflects the different mandatory reporting obligations that apply to companies. It also cross-references existing voluntary reporting initiatives that companies are already using.
How does the WDI complement initiatives like the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark and KnowTheChain?
Initiatives like the WDI, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) and KnowTheChain (KTC) are signals that investors are increasingly concerned with the “S” in ESG. They share the common aim of increasing investor and company action in this space. Beneath this common aim, the initiatives are distinct in their scope and their processes.
The CHRB provides a holistic cross-sector comparison of corporate human rights performance including how companies respond to allegations and incidents. KTC provides in-depth understanding of how global companies in high risk sectors perform relative to their peers on tackling the risks of forced labour in their supply chains. The WDI brings to the space an investor-led call for comparable data reporting on the workforce. This adds a signal of encouragement from the investor community for companies to produce further public reporting.
The teams of the three initiatives are coordinating to ensure complementarity and alignment.
Which companies receive the WDI survey?
In the pilot year, the WDI survey is being sent to the FTSE 50 plus 25 mega cap companies listed on global stock exchanges. Millions of workers are employed in the direct operations and supply chains of these companies. Mainstream investors will be interested in them due to both their direct shareholdings and the market capitalisation of these firms. The number of major companies approached to respond to the WDI survey is expected to increase significantly in subsequent years.
Which issues does the WDI survey cover?
In broad terms, the WDI survey covers companies’ governance of the workforce, workforce composition, workforce stability, workforce development and worker engagement. These areas have been identified by the investment community as the most fundamental pieces of information required to make informed judgements about how a company is managing its workforce.
The WDI survey uses the framework developed by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) in particular, and builds on it to develop indicators that cover the entire workforce. For example, the WDI survey asks questions on the composition of the workforce in companies’ direct operations and in their supply chains.
Questions include both standard metrics where companies are expected to provide quantitative data, alongside narrative questions on how this data relates to the company’s overall business strategy. While it is recognised that companies face specific individual and sector-based risks and opportunities, the questions asked are intended to capture the most fundamental risks and opportunities which are relevant to all companies.
To find out more about the survey, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it possible to see a copy of the WDI survey?
Click here to see a copy of the 2017 WDI survey.
What guidance is available for companies to complete the WDI survey?
It is acknowledged that it takes resources for companies to report on workforce issues, and that they are faced with a number of different reporting requirements and frameworks. That is why as much as possible the WDI survey references other reporting frameworks in order to make the process of completing the survey easier for companies.
In addition, a company resources page has been developed to assist companies in completing the survey. The WDI team is also available for individual discussion with companies to support them in completing the survey. For support, please contact email@example.com.