How does a business sustain success and consistency? What impact can poor policies and bad reputation have on a company’s bottom line? With ESG values edging their way up the business agenda, companies are looking more closely at their social values, their reputation, how they look after their employees and whether they meet the requirements expected from a sustainable business. Our Employment specialist Philippa Wood focuses on key policy areas to help retain staff and keep them happy, and in doing so, increase loyalty and improve your company’s social standing.
Tradition tells us long hours and hard graft make a successful business, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that employees can work flexibly, work well and even more productively than when shepherded in and out of an office every day.
The social standing of businesses, how you look to the customer, to the press and to the wider world, is more important than ever. Sustainability is key and SMEs, which make up 99% of the UK private sector, are trendsetters in building employee happiness and realising the importance of not only sustainable environmental policies but sustainable employment relationships.
Corporates are notoriously bad at retaining staff and reputation does suffer as a result. SMEs are able, by their nature, to offer a more personalised service, take an interest in and value employees as contributors to the business’s success. The employee has to be the right fit for the employer but in return good candidates will be looking for employers who will help them progress, look after them, make them feel secure and where they will have supportive colleagues.
Attractive Employee Benefits
Employees will be looking for what benefits companies offer. Basic statutory holidays, sickness and notice provisions may be well for graduate level employees but even apprentices are worth nurturing. Employers can offer increased benefits with service, an additional day’s holiday per full year served for example, or at the higher end, share options which vest with service or a sliding scale of company sick pay.
Some employers are going even further, one recent trend being to have no holiday policy at all, letting employees decide when they go, with no limit on the number of days. They are still obliged to give notice but employees are given a level of responsibility that acts as a basic psychological uplift. Many company bosses are aghast at these trends but in the limited examples out there, it’s working. Employees are actually taking fewer holidays and are working more efficiently. Clearly the more responsibility you give employees, the happier they will be and the better they will perform.
A Positive, Inclusive Work Environment
To keep employees from moving on, they must also like and respect each other. In house or external training on equal opportunities and grievance policies for example – all of this can help build an inclusive and friendly environment.
For a sustainable and socially attractive business, investing in employees is something that should always be top of the agenda. If you are interested in an audit of your current employment policies or looking to integrate more social values into your strategy, then please get in touch.