Flexible working, remote working and well-being are helping to address the corporate skills shortage or skills gaps. By enabling staff to work more flexibly or remotely in order to meet their own needs, it is highly likely that retention, productivity and motivation also improve. Health and well-being initiatives can have similar effects.
By using well considered policy drivers a wise HR Director can improve the bottom line through reductions in sickness absence, health conditions and staff turnover. At Moon, we often see businesses let go of experienced and trusted senior managers without realising how much such an action costs the company in recruiting and training new staff as well as the loss of corporate history, traditions and know how.
We all know a happier employee is more motivated and less likely to worry about their better work-life balance, especially where personal and family commitments are paramount.
Executive search firm Moon Consulting works alongside a wide range of UK companies, from start-ups, owner managed SMEs and FTSE listed businesses. Director Vanessa Moon explains, 'our business is founded on search; we find and attract a great pool of talent for our clients. In the last year, we have seen that there is a severe shortage of skills in certain sectors such as engineering, languages and areas such as R&D and supply chain management. At Moon Consulting, we find one way of attracting great people is to offer a flexible working package. We no longer live in a society where it is just parents that need flexible hours - as our ever increasing population lives longer there are more and more people who are becoming carers looking after elderly parents.'
Sandy Hinks, Executive Search Consultant at Moon Consulting speaks from experience. 'My own personal experience is a hugely positive one. I was offered a role with Moon Consulting last Autumn on a flexible working contract. After spending 20+ years working full-time, I now have two small children - one who is at school and the other still at Nursery. Juggling work with school and nursery hours and school holidays can be difficult and takes a lot of coordination and planning. However, Vanessa recruited me to the team. I am as committed and productive as my fellow co-workers who work full-time within the office.' Vanessa Moon agrees, saying 'Sandy brings so many great skills and experience to the team. I have tailored her working pattern to suit her family commitments and know I get her dedication and enthusiasm by being flexible.'
Employers, such as the University of the West of England, have identified that having a crèche on site benefits staff, students and the local community as well (http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/whyuwe/fantasticfacilities/halleynursery.aspx).
Vanessa says 'many of our clients in suitable sectors are combining flexibility with remote working. Growth in cloud computing, and the range of software and infrastructure now available for use, enables more staff to work remotely with the use of mobile devices. Issues of security and confidentiality within cloud computing sector are being addressed, enabling the spread of cloud computing across sectors as diverse as healthcare and advanced engineering.'
An added benefit of remote working is that where staff work from home, there is less commuting and carbon emissions, as well as savings, such as travel expenses, office energy and property costs. Moon Consulting, a member of the Low Carbon South West (www.lowcarbonsouthwest.co.uk/), would always encourage businesses to consider more environmentally friendly options.
The most popular health and well-being programmes at retailer Marks & Spencer focus on improved diet, hydration, sleep and exercise. Supported by an in-house website, since its launch in 2007, M&S has calculated savings of £320m, thereby demonstrating the compelling business case behind being health and well-being awareness (http://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/case-studies/working-well-marks-and-spencer). Vanessa advises that 'companies do not need to reinvent health and well-being programmes, as there are role models who have published their programmes and reports on their impact.
In conclusion, Vanessa recommends that 'proactive Boards should review their range of policies aimed at staff retention and measure the results in order to quantify the benefits to their own profitability.'
© Moon Consulting 2016