The Good Work Pledge - building better business foundations

Guest Feature Written by Caroline Preston, North of Tyne Combined Authority's Lead for the Good Work Pledge

As if you haven’t got enough on your plate. You’re starting a business; cash flow is not exactly flowing and here’s another person telling you another thing you need to be do! I feel your pain, starting a business can be nail-bitingly stressful, complicated…but also really exciting. A new venture -a new start, is always a great time to also start a fresh, change up the way you’ve done things previously and put new products and even a chance to put a new you right out there. 

Getting started:
When you decide to start a new business venture there’s usually a fair amount of planning involved and a whole host of things to think about. There’s market research, customers/audience/competitors, processes, premises/location, marketing/branding, structure and of course funding to name just a few and then there’s staffing, now that’s a biggy, but why?

Post Covid-19, the world is a different place, peoples hopes, aspirations and dreams have changed, and then there’s Generation-Z, the next generation of workers who on the whole want something different to what’s been on offer in the past.

So what does this mean for your future business? Well essentially, recruitment has just become trickier. The pool of available skilled labour has tightened and there’s fierce competition for good people. This means just being average or offering basic employment just won’t cut it. I’m not saying you won’t get applicants for your jobs, but will you get a quality of employees you need to drive forward a successful business?

Building strong foundations:
When a business flourishes, it’s usually because the product or service is marketed well, desirable or in demand, customer service is great and there’s a good team of people behind it, all motivated and pulling in the same direction. So, it makes sense to give the ‘people’ element of your business the highest priority.

To do this, let’s go back, back to when you had your lightbulb moment for the business. What was the vision and what did you picture success would look like? I doubt it was failure. Most people don’t start a new project or business with failure in mind but not properly considering the people that will work for you might send you that way, and earlier than expected. To avoid this and as a potential new employer, you need to ask yourself some questions:

  1. What do you want to be known for and what do you want your employees to say about you? ie xxx is great place to work, I really like going to work, I feel valued here OR I wonder if I’ll get any hours this week, I really need some training for this, I feel stressed, I’m looking for a new job…
  2. How will you build your success, and have you factored in what role your people will play in that?
  3. Where might you find them and what staffing budget might you need?

And finally, how will you keep them? However, there's no cause for alarm. Consider this as just another layer of planning, a step that could be instrumental in unlocking the door to your success.

What the research tells us:

1. Employees are the biggest asset of a business[1]

In a competitive sector, where everyone is offering similar services, the performance of the workforce is what can set businesses apart from the rest. While a fancy office building, amazing systems and impressive equipment might make up the bulk of a business’s financial assets – a passionate, hard-working and dedicated set of employees is priceless.

2. Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace IS Important[2]

A diverse and inclusive workplace is one that makes everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for the business, feel equally involved in and supported in all areas of the workplace. The “all areas” part is important.

When employees trust that they, and their colleagues, will be treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or age, they are.

  • 9.8 times more likely to look forward to going to work
  • 6.3 times more likely to have pride in their work
  • 5.4 times more likely to want to stay a long time at their company

Having an inclusive workplace culture will not only help you attract a diverse set of talent but also help you retain the diverse talent you attracted in the first place. What about this wouldn’t you want?

3. The importance of employee development to corporate success[3]

Employee development is one of those rare win-win situations. People want to do their jobs well, and the company benefits when they do. It’s scalable and can become an important part of a company’s competitive advantage. It deserves to be recognised as a growth engine.


4. Successful employee development yields fruit:

  • Increased quality, increased productivity, and increased innovation
  • Job safety and satisfaction
  • Increased motivation and morale
  • Pride in contribution
  • Recruiting and retention of talent – organizations go through lengthy processes to recruit and onboard qualified and suitable employees.
  • Opportunity for internal advancement
  • Risk management and waste reduction

5. Reputation Matters:
Reputation influences opinions and drives behaviour. If word gets out that you’re a poor employer, you can bet that In time this could be very damaging to the business. A good employer will find attracting and retaining the good people that drive your business easier than someone who undervalues. Knowing how you are perceived, by whom, why and to what purpose is essential for organisations to manage the value, risks and opportunities inherent in this important asset.

So, as a new employer this could feel completely overwhelming, right? Well the good news is, there’s help available to you and as long as you get some good building blocks in place, becoming a ‘good employer’ is a continuous journey, and a journey that the Good Work Pledge from North of Tyne Combined Authority can help you with.

The Good Work Pledge is a simple framework of 5 pillars that shows at a glance what being a good employer looks like. It can be used in several ways:

Being a good employer is a continuous journey of reflection and learning, reviewing what you have in place and how it’s working and how it could be better. You could say even on accreditation, that your work as an employer is never done. That’s why the team behind the Good Work Pledge are rapidly working on the development of the ‘Good Work Community’ a web-based resource for members and non-members to help with that continuous development.

In addition to the resources we’ll also be offering events and activities to help drive the change we need to see in our region. The pledge community will be all about how we harness the power and knowledge in the network to share and help develop the new leaders of the future, that’s you by the way…

About the author:

Caroline Preston leads on the Good Work Pledge project for North of Tyne Combined Authority, a devolved administration in the North of Tyne Region led by Metro Mayor Jamie Driscoll. Caroline wants businesses and organisations of all sizes to get on the journey to good work or get accredited and to make the North East the best place to live and work. Find out more about the good work pledge here, visit the criteria here and view accredited members here.

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