Why good employment is good for business

Sam Booth, chief executive pro-manchester on the importance of valuing your workforce

Sam Booth

This is no revolutionary statement or opinion, but your people and your teams are an organisation’s biggest asset.

As we enter into yet another phase of restrictions and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic returns, how a business looks after and safeguards its employees must be at the fore.

Whilst the ‘work from home if you can’ message comes back into play, many business leaders are painfully aware of the detrimental impact these turbulent changes in operations can have on our employees’ mental health and wellbeing.

It is well reported that many are opting to keep their offices open and allowing employees a freedom of choice when it comes to deciding where they work.

This is yet another difficult time for businesses. They are once again grappling to adjust but perhaps this is the ideal time to listen to the wants and needs of employees and reconsider current working policies and practices in order to provide more adequate support and security. This is not just good for employees but it is also good for the business in a time when competition for the best talent is at an all time high.

In November pro-manchester, alongside the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Living Wage Foundation, hosted an event to help businesses understand why good employment is good for business.

The event was run in celebration of the ‘Living Wage Week’ – a week-long series of events designed to raise awareness of the living wage movement and good employment practice.

Attendees heard how employers who treat their people well were benefiting from a range of tangible improvements to their performance. By offering good working conditions, businesses were seeing more motivated teams, better retention rates and were better at attracting talent.

We heard the real-life examples of the benefits and increased productivity adopting good practice makes and the power of the collective benefit of listening to your employees.

Amongst the challenges, I understand it is hard for businesses to know where to start. This is where initiatives likes the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter and the Fair Employment Charter in Liverpool come into play.

These charters identify key characteristics of good employment. Championed by the metro mayors, the charters provide a blueprint of essential tools and information for businesses to access in order to help them on their good employment journey.

pro-manchester has been keen supporters and advocates for the charter since its inception in 2019, but it was in this last year that we have strived to put our commitment into practice.

At the event in November, I was honoured to be presented with a plaque by Andy Burnham himself to mark the organisation becoming official members of the charter. It was a proud moment and as a business development organisation representing the business community it is imperative that we lead the charge.

Andy Burnham

Furthermore, earlier this year, in partnership with the GM Good Employment Charter and our technology partner Stribe, pro-manchester have been conducting ‘the City Mood Project’ designed to give employees a voice and help businesses understand what is concerning employees about returning to work.

The project is providing a platform to inform and affect necessary change as we transition through these difficult times with employees at the heart.

Whilst the pandemic has brought with it some immense challenges, it has also provided some great opportunities to rethink the way we do things and provide a better, more secure working environment for our teams.

The real success stories will undoubtedly be attributed to the organisations who have used this time of transition to really think about how they can revise their current practices, placing their employees at the centre of their decisions.

If I can urge businesses to do anything at this time, it is to listen to your employees and get started on a journey to providing the best employment for your colleagues.