Full article by The Curve Group’s CEO, Jeanette Ramsden also published in The Guardian 19/04/22: https://business-reporter.co.uk/management/fortune-favours-the-brave
The pandemic has taught us that change can happen extremely quickly. Having been forced to adopt new ways of working, businesses have realised that flexible working can have a positive impact on productivity and retention, and is fundamental to attracting new talent.
The Curve Group has long offered some flexible and hybrid working practices, which have enabled it to attract and retain incredible talent. However, this is no longer a competitive advantage as so many businesses are now offering the same flexibility. We have been looking to elevate the business once again as an employer of choice in what is a candidate-led market with fierce competition for top talent. We needed to be brave.
I cannot offer a silver bullet to overcome this challenge even though I run an HR and recruitment business. However, I can tell you that to succeed you will need to embrace the fact that employees expect and deserve more than just a healthy salary and financial benefits.
Culture, a life-work balance, recognition, career progression, professional development, empowerment, ethics, commitment to meaningful causes, environmental and community reach, diversity, inclusion and equality: these are areas that are important to prospective and current employees.
The effort required to critique and evolve any of these areas in your business will really challenge leadership teams. So where do you start?
Establish the blend of skills, energy, innovation, experience, capability and capacity you need from your employees to make the business successful. Analyse your existing workforce demographic. Identify where you have gaps. Speak to your top talent. Ask them why they joined your business, why they’ve stayed and what is important to them in a working environment – both now and in the future. Then think about the changes you can make.
We have been through the same exercise and have made brave choices. The biggest challenge we identified was that we needed to improve our teams’ post-pandemic life-work balance. As a result, we are reducing everyone’s weekly working hours from 40 to 35 with no reduction in pay, and working with employees to agree their weekly working pattern. For some, the reduced hours means a four-day working week with longer days; for others, five shorter days. It is early days, but it has already had an incredible impact on our team’s morale. For some it means increased time with family and reduced child (and pet!) care costs; for others it is the ability to enjoy long weekends.
We have been delighted with the immediate transformational impact on attracting and recruiting talent which is vital for our growth. It has been a big, and some would say risky, decision. However, now is not the time for sticking plasters – take the leap to implement new strategies if you want to retain and attract your employees. Remember, fortune favours the brave.