Tomorrow’s Company, who work with businesses to help them become a force of good in the community, have released the findings from its year-long research project. Tomorrow’s Company looked into the advancements and future prospects of businesses in the UK, and found that the current situation is not working for shareholders or society.
Tomorrow’s Company research highlighted a number of concerns. They included:
The focus on cash returns to shareholders has been self-defeating – Despite an increased focus on shareholder returns, investors have achieved the same return investing in government bonds as they have investing in UK equities. The last time this was the case was during the Great Depression.
Employees are losing out and productivity is poor – Wages are being squeezed. Real wage growth has declined in every decade since the 1970s and in this decade real wages have fallen. Only 49 per cent of people are likely to recommend their company as an employer, and UK labour productivity is 15 per cent below the G7 average.
Long term investment by British business is in a sustained decline – Investment in fixed assets has fallen from 11 per cent of GDP in 1997 to 8 per cent in 2014, below the United States and EU. Investment in R&D is also low at 1.6 per cent of GDP, below the Euro area at 2.1 per cent and United States at 2.8 per cent. This is holding back critical sectors like infrastructure, housing, healthcare and energy.
The lack of investment makes it harder to reduce the government deficit – Over the last few decades, companies have increasingly been net savers in the economy, now to the tune of 7 per cent of GDP, or £100bn. To offset this, the government has had to artificially boost demand. It may have few levers left to pull when the next recession comes. The real answer lies in a renewed focus on the health and the wealth creation capacity of companies.
These problems are most acute in listed companies – These account for 16 per cent of private sector jobs and 47 per cent of investment, and are crucial to future pensions.
Tomorrow’s Company warn that too often these concerns are treated separately, when in fact they are all connected. Encouragingly there is an alternative approach to business success for which there is mounting evidence. This approach recognises that success starts with engaged employees, satisfied customers and stable suppliers, with shareholder returns being the end result and not the starting aim. It is underpinned by a clear purpose and set of values that help guide behaviours, and a long-term view that embraces risk.
Commenting on the findings, Mark Goyder, Founder and CEO of Tomorrow’s Company, said: “It is the perverse outcome that investors get the same return from funding the national debt as they do backing UK companies to grow and invest.
“Our obsession with the short-term has created companies that over-save, under-invest and fail to get the best out of their people. This can change if companies start purposefully investing in the long term. But this will only work if they are held to account by shareholders and boards who are equally focused on long term growth, in a climate reinforced by government policy.”
Tomorrow’s Company makes a number of specific recommendations to make this agenda a reality. They include:
Pension fund and other asset owners should set longer-term mandates for fund managers – at the moment too many pension fund trustees believe they have a fiduciary responsibility to prioritise short term returns. This is not the case.
Fund managers should be incentivised to be better stewards – using their influence to drive long-term growth in companies, rather than outperforming a benchmark.
More in-depth analysis and less “noise” – a greater focus by investment research on culture, innovation and the real drivers of long term shareholder value, supported by a new structure for investment research and broader company disclosure.
The introduction of “Governance plus” – each scandal has increased the focus on compliance at the expense of innovation and risk. Boards need to change this balance, with more director time spent looking closely at the drivers of long-term shareholder value.
A coherent government policy for long-term focused companies – The government has too often taken a passive stance in its approach to British business. Instead, the government could use a range of policy tools to encourage companies to take a longer-term approach, from procurement criteria to bank credit creation to removing the barriers to alternative forms of ownership.
The report points to a number of companies exhibiting a long-term approach, including Admiral Insurance, JCB, Adnams and Unipart.
John Neill CEO of Unipart, said: “The number one strategic challenge facing business and the UK is growth. We need to grow the economy and to do so we need to have enterprises and businesses that create growth opportunities both domestically and globally.
“This means we have to be competitive and innovative, both of which derive from improved productivity. As the report shows, our current track record is not good. It has to change to avoid leaving a dreadful legacy to our children and grandchildren. I therefore highly recommend that business leaders read and consider the recommendations of the report and the Tomorrow’s Company approach. I am convinced it is a superior business model that can help solve many of the problems facing our country today.”
Consumers Investing in Eco-Friendly Cars with the UK Green Revolution
The UK public appears to be embracing the electric car UK Green Revolution, as recent statistics reveal that more and more consumers are making the switch from petrol and diesel to electric or alternatively fuelled vehicles. The demand for diesel fell by almost a third in October compared to last year, whilst hybrid and electric cars rose by a staggering 36.9%.
Time for UK Green Revolution Change
So, what is the reason for this sudden change? This comes down to the current situation in the UK, which has led to people embracing eco-friendly technologies and automobiles. One of the main reasons is the Government’s clean air plans, which includes the impending 2040 ban on petrol and diesel automobiles. There is then the rollout of the T-Charge in London, the city of Oxford announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel from the city centre by 2020 and various other big announcements which take up a lot of space and time in the UK press.
In addition to this, the negative publicity against diesel has had a huge impact on the UK public. This has led to a lot of confusion over emissions, but actually, the newest low emission diesel automobiles will not face restrictions and are not as bad to drive as many believe. Most notably, German brand Volkswagen has been affected due to the emissions scandal in recent times. It was discovered that some emissions controls for VW’s turbocharged direct injection diesel engines were only activated during laboratory testing, so these automobiles were emitting 40 times more NO in real-world driving. As a result of this and all the negative publicity, the manufacturer has made adaptations and amended their vehicles in Europe. Additionally, they have made movements to improve the emissions from their cars, meaning that they are now one of the cleaner manufacturers. Their impressive range includes the Polo, Golf and Up, all of which can be found for affordable prices from places like Unbeatable Car.
The Current Market
The confusion over the Government’s current stance on diesel has clearly had a huge impact on the public. So much so that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to restore stability in the market and encourage the public to invest in the latest low emission automobiles. SMMT believes that this is the fastest and most effective way to address the serious air quality concerns in this country.
One way that the Government has encouraged the public to make the switch is by making incentives. Motorists can benefit from a grant when they purchase a new plug-in vehicle, plus there are benefits like no road tax for electric vehicles and no congestion charge. When these are combined with the low running costs, it makes owning an electric automobile an appealing prospect and especially because there are so many great models available and a type to suit every motorist. One of the main reasons holding motorists back is the perceived lack of charging points. However, there are currently over 13,000 up and down the country with this number rapidly increasing each month. It is thought that the amount of charging points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020, so it is easy to see more and more motorists start to invest in electric cars way ahead of the 2040 ban.
It is an interesting time in the UK as people are now embracing the electric car revolution. The Government’s clean air plans seem to have accelerated this revolution, plus the poor publicity that diesel has received has only strengthened the case for making the switch sooner rather than later.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!