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Men in Suits

The Power of ESG: Strengthening Employer and Employee Relationships

Updated: Jun 27, 2023


As participants in retirement plans save for the future, their concerns often extend beyond mere financial security. Increasingly, these individuals seek investment opportunities that not only secure their financial future but also reflect their personal beliefs and contribute to positive societal change. This is why Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles are experiencing a surge in popularity within the realms of investments, employee benefits, and retirement plans.

Once viewed as a niche market, ESG investment products are now in high demand, with current predictions indicating that ESG assets may account for up to 50% of all professionally managed investments within the next five years. With this trend, organizations that incorporate ESG principles into their operations, employee benefits, and retirement plan offerings stand to reap substantial rewards.


How ESG Principles Strengthen Employer-Employee Relationships

Increased Employee Engagement and Retention

A strong employer-employee relationship is fundamental for maintaining a healthy workplace culture and ensuring business success. Incorporating ESG principles into retirement plans has proven to be an effective strategy for boosting employee engagement and encouraging retention. Recent surveys show that 41% of full-time employees are more likely to stay with an employer if their retirement plans incorporate ESG-focused products. Furthermore, 42% of respondents indicated a stronger inclination to stay with employers who integrate ESG concepts into their workplace benefits.

Recruitment Advantage

The appeal of ESG-conscious investments extends beyond retention, helping attract top talent to organizations. For instance, 70% of 401(k) plan participants express interest in retirement plans that positively impact ESG issues. This interest is particularly pronounced among younger employees, with 95% of Millennial employees expressing interest in ESG investments.

Enhanced Retirement Plan Participation

The introduction of ESG investment options within workplace retirement plans has also been linked to increased participation rates. Research shows that 76% of employees would be more inclined to enroll in retirement plans that offer ESG options. Additionally, 63% of respondents would recommend ESG-inclusive plans to colleagues, and 60% would be more likely to use plan tools if they included ESG investments.

Encouragement of Saving Habits

By offering the opportunity to align retirement assets with personal beliefs, ESG investment options serve as a potent motivator for plan participants. Besides boosting plan participation, ESG investing options can also help elevate a plan's savings rate, with 60% of survey respondents indicating they would contribute more to an ESG-focused plan.

Increased Plan Efficiencies and Savings

On a broader scale, the inclusion of ESG investment options can enhance plan efficiencies and generate cost savings for both employers and employees. The rising demand for ESG is driving the creation of more ESG investment solutions, ultimately benefiting the entire ecosystem, including plan sponsors, investors, employees, and the planet itself.

Advancing ESG in Retirement Plans

As awareness of ESG issues grows, investors and employees seek investment solutions that align with their goals and values. Implementing ESG principles into your benefits and retirement plans can significantly enhance your organization's reputation and help you meet the demands of your participants while contributing to a more ethical and sustainable world.

Investing carries inherent risks, including variable rates of return and the possibility of loss. ESG Risk may limit the portfolio's investment opportunities and exposures to certain sectors or countries. To navigate these challenges, comprehensive ESG certifications and courses are available from organizations like the Directors’ Institute, allowing individuals and organizations to become certified and recognized ESG experts.


The integration of ESG principles into retirement plans and broader organizational practices can profoundly impact both employer-employee relationships and societal change. With rising demand for ESG-conscious investment options, employers stand to gain competitive advantages by aligning their offerings with these burgeoning trends. By doing so, they can foster stronger relationships with employees, attract and retain top talent, and play a crucial role in driving positive societal change.

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