Employers urged to improve workforce reporting

Employers urged to improve workforce reporting

Filter tag: Culture & Organisational Effectiveness

Many FTSE 100 firms are still failing to share important workforce data in their annual reports despite an increase in the quantity of workforce reporting, according to new research from the CIPD. The study found reporting on skills shortages to be, notably, woefully lacking.

In response, the professional body for HR and people development, is calling for improved reporting and transparency from Britain’s biggest businesses. The body warns that failure to capture and disclose key workforce data is keeping investors, employees and other parties in the dark on key business indicators.

The CIPD’s research examines how workforce reporting has changed over the last five years and how transparent organisations are being about risks and opportunities relating to the workforce.

The report, Hidden Figures: How workforce data is missing from corporate reports, found:

  • Workforce reporting in FTSE 100 organisations’ annual reports increased by 9 per cent between 2015 and 2017, a much smaller increase compared to the 19 per cent increase seen between 2013 and 2016 when the CIPD first analysed FTSE 100 workforce reporting
  • Regularly reported: The most commonly reported workforce issues were talent management, succession planning and employee turnover
  • Skills reporting in short supply: Only 12 per cent of FTSE 100 firms reported their perspectives on skills shortages and only 21 per cent reported on skills gaps, despite many businesses expressing concern about access to skills after the UK leaves the European Union in 2019
  • Going up…Apprenticeships (64 per cent more reporting), employee well-being (76 per cent), entrepreneurship (28 per cent), talent management (26 per cent) all saw increased levels of reporting between 2015 and 2017
  • Going down… Internships (32 per cent less reporting), commitment (31 per cent less), flexibility (30 per cent less) and employee engagement (21 per cent less) all saw decreased levels of reporting between 2015 and 2017.

It’s positive to see that the quantity of workforce reporting is increasing, but there’s still a considerable challenge regarding the quality, consistency and transparency of data being reported. Organisations seem to focus their efforts on complying with legislation and governance codes and report on very little else voluntarily,” said Edward Houghton, senior research adviser for human capital and governance at the CIPD.

“Reporting is also often subject to trends or pressure from government rather than ongoing strategic imperatives. We need to see much more consistency in what is being reported, the language used to report it and the measurements being applied so all stakeholders get a complete picture of workforce opportunities and risks.”

According to the CIPD, without full transparency there’s a “real danger” that businesses are painting an overly positive picture of how they manage their people and people risk. Gender pay gap reporting regulations have shown that a framework and a common language can improve disclosure and prompt healthy debate on important issues among key stakeholders. It’s also awakened an appetite among investors for even more workforce data, said the CIPD, and businesses need to be ready to respond to this demand.

“We need senior leaders to get comfortable with being more transparent about their workforce practices and we need investors and government to be demanding far more of these insights,” added Houghton.


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