Need to know what good corporate performance looks like in areas such as sustainability, shareholder engagement and transparency? Check out these comments about recipients of the recently announced Corporate Governance Awards:
- “…raised the bar for the firm’s disclosure to shareholders and demonstrated a commitment to engaging with the broader governance community…”
- “…sought a redesigned proxy statement that was easier to read and better communicated the link between the company’s strategy and executive compensation plan…”
- “…identified the skills and experiences needed on the board to support the firm’s strategic objectives and introduced a new board competency matrix to highlight talent that the board will need…”
Staying ahead of governance trends
Leaders in good governance have been able to recognize and respond to the most important trends in corporate social responsibility:
Transparency – as part of a business model that embraces CSR, companies are sharing more environmental, social and governance disclosures. Expectations are rising that they disclose not only how they operate, but also their plans for the future.
- Your proxy statement is a good place to highlight the business as it relates to the board’s oversight.
Codes of conduct and ethics – as examples of outrageous or inappropriate behavior by leaders, mentors and managers continue to proliferate in the press and on social media, companies need to be clear that such behavior is not tolerated and is punished.
- Beyond communicating about your code of ethics, consider going further and highlighting specific actions such as the existence of a hotline for ethics or harassment concerns and current topics of interest such as cybersecurity.
Employee engagement – growing recognition that actively engaged employees are critical to furthering the company’s mission, business objectives and performance is increasing the emphasis on engagement, wellness and other employee-focused topics. The more a company is perceived as a good place to work, the better it is at attracting and retaining talent.
- Highlight your specific programs to improve employee health, well-being, development and engagement, inside the front cover, in your proxy summary, on the back cover…in other words, everywhere!
In addition to these specific areas, continue to communicate about your sustainability performance – what you’re doing to reduce your carbon footprint, steward the environment, preserve natural resources, create value for the company and the community, drive social and environmental change…sustainability: it’s the new norm.