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Case study: How Prudential promotes employee development

With operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America, Prudential provides its customers with a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. Prudential’s learning and development programmes are designed to promote a culture of continuous learning  Tweet This!, where employees at all levels and career stages are supported in growing their technical, professional and leadership capabilities.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Prudential published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Prudential seeks to equip the company’s talent with new tools, invest in and enhance skills and create new career opportunities, so as to build a future-ready workforce. In order to promote employee development Prudential took action to:

  • create the Skills Accelerator
  • expand its learning interface
  • upskill employees
  • promote leadership development

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Prudential identified a range of material issues, such as corporate governance and ethics, cybersecurity and privacy, inclusion and diversity, responsible investing, financial wellness. Among these, promoting employee development stands out as a key material issue for Prudential.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Prudential engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics Prudential engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Shareholders and institutional investors

 

·      Annual Report, Proxy Statement and Sustainability Report

·      Press releases

·      Webcasts and conference calls

·      Financial services conferences

·      Proxy voting

·      One-on-one visits to discuss financial performance and ESG issues

·      Communications through Investor Relations and Corporate Governance Teams as well as Prudential’s Board of Directors

·      Annual Meeting and Investor Days

·      Responses to ESG surveys from ratings firms and CDP

Customers (both individual and institutional)

 

 

·      In-person conversations

·      Digital interface

·      By telephone

·      Social media

·      Annual Report, Proxy Statement and Sustainability Report

·      Customer satisfaction surveys, customer focus groups and net promoter scores

·      Assessment of financial data

Employees and retirees

 

 

·      Performance management and development programmes

·      Volunteer events

·      Annual Report, Proxy Statement and Sustainability Report

·      Matching gifts programme (open to eligible employees and retirees)

·      Business resource groups, green teams and volunteer councils

·      Company intranet, online chat forums, email, direct mail, social media, and in-person and virtual meetings

·      Prudential Ethics Help Line

·      Employee surveys

Independent financial advisors and intermediaries

 

 

·      In-person meetings, calls, conference calls, conferences and convenings

·      Proxy voting

·      Annual Report, Proxy Statement and Sustainability Report

Community leaders, neighbours, and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs)

 

 

 

 

·      In-person and virtual meetings, calls, conference calls, social media, and events with local leaders, neighbours, NGOs, and advocacy groups

·      Board memberships

·      Financial support (grants, corporate contributions, impact investments)

·      Employee volunteering

·      Pro bono consulting

National and local government officials located in the U.S. and abroad ·      In-person and virtual meetings, conferences and convenings, conference calls, lobbying activities, industry associations, public policy forums and press conferences

·      Membership on government councils and committees

U.S. state, federal and international regulators

 

·      In-person and virtual meetings, conferences and convenings, conference calls, lobbying activities, industry associations, public policy forums and press conferences
Suppliers, vendors and business partners

 

·      Prudential Ethics Help Line

·      In-person meetings, calls, conferences and workshops

·      Vendor Registration Portal and related websites

Thought leaders and advocates in issue areas related to financial services

 

 

·      Board memberships

·      In-person and virtual meetings, conference calls

·      Group calls and meetings

·      Industry groups, roundtables, workshops and events

·      Working groups

·      Joint projects

·      Responses to ESG surveys from ratings firms and CDP (formerly, the Carbon Disclosure Project)

Environmental stakeholders

 

 

·      Ceres Company Network

·      Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk

·      Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council

·      CDP Supply Chain member

·      U.S. Green Building Council

·      Urban Land Institute’s Greenpoint Centre for Building Performance – Performance Committee

·      Principles for Responsible Investment

·      U.S. EPA’s Energy Star Programme

What actions were taken by Prudential to promote employee engagement?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Prudential reports that it took the following actions for promoting employee development:

  • Creating the Skills Accelerator
  • Prudential created the Skills Accelerator as the foundation for talent development within its talent transformation initiative. Distinct from the company’s existing leadership, talent and training programmes, the Skills Accelerator is a personalised professional development platform. Skills Accelerator enables employees to build an internal profile. Based on this, and through the power of artificial intelligence, Skills Accelerator identifies skills, suggests future positions to consider based on skills and experiences and helps employees plan for aspirational roles. In addition, through curated learning accelerators, employees can explore training pathways to prepare for the future. Topics include key business knowledge about Prudential and why the talent transformation initiative is so important to the company’s success, ways to expand their mindset and develop interpersonal skills for the workplace of the future and a deeper understanding of digital thinking and how the “digital era” is changing the way companies do business. In 2019, 4,000 employees adopted the Skills Accelerator for their development and through February 2020, over 5,000 hours of learning, most of it industry-specific, was consumed through best-in-class providers.
  • Expanding the myLearning interface
  • In 2019, Prudential expanded its digital, mobile-enabled learning interface, myLearning, beyond the U.S. to an additional 1,500 employees in Pramerica (Ireland). MyLearning curates high-quality, on-demand learning resources from multiple internal and external sources. It includes a personalised feed with a social component that empowers employees to easily access impactful content and share their recommendations with others. MyLearning has 6,800 active users, who completed approximately 30,000 pieces of content in 2019. As Prudential focuses on having world-class talent in critical roles and building the organisational capabilities to win, it continued to offer classroom-based professional and leadership development opportunities to all employees. In 2019, enterprise programmes in the areas of communication, critical thinking, project management, interpersonal skills and self-management were delivered to 560 people. In 2020, to increase scalability and respond to employee feedback, these programmes will be refreshed and offered through live, virtual classroom setups.
  • Upskilling employees
  • Prudential established career development services with Career Partners, available to help guide employees with the necessary tools to take them from “now to next.” During the workshops, employees learned about tools, resources and new ways to think about their personal career paths. Topics covered in the workshops included creating a skills-based resume, interviewing in a digital environment and leveraging feedback to grow your career. To date, Prudential has completed 35 sessions with approximately 1,000 employees in seven global locations. In addition to workshops, Career Partners offer employees two career advisory sessions per year.
  • Promoting leadership development
  • In 2019, Prudential provided new developmental opportunities for 35 Prudential leaders by integrating nonprofit pro bono consulting into the company’s overall programme offerings. This increased employees’ external perspectives and offered them an opportunity to work with leaders across the company on projects with strong social impact. In this way, Prudential is deepening its long-term impact on strategic nonprofit community partners, while simultaneously supporting the personal and professional development of Prudential leaders. In 2019, a diverse group of 105 select, high-potential leaders took part in the refreshed curriculum of Leadership Programmes. Prudential also launched the flagship 18-month Leadership Programme for a diverse group of senior executives, which focused on accelerating the development needed to assume the senior-most positions at the company. In addition, Prudential partnered with Signature Leaders and Women Unlimited to send 97 female leaders to leadership programmes across the globe. In 2020, Prudential will globally launch Leadership Essentials, a multifaceted learning experience focused on the fundamentals of leadership for those who manage others. Leadership Essentials will develop leaders in four areas:
    • The Employment Relationship
    • Engaging and Delegating
    • Managing Performance
    • Coaching and Feedback

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



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By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Prudential, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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