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One size does not fit all – amplifying employee voices

In today’s dynamic workforce, generic policies fall short. Disengagement costs the UK economy £340 billion yearly. Argyll’s personalised employee recognition reduced turnover from 30% to 3.5%. Tailored solutions foster empowerment and teamwork. Flexible working enhances satisfaction and productivity. We prioritise inclusivity, embedding trust with features like ‘Incognito’ mode in recruitment. Embracing diversity ensures a vibrant, inclusive culture.

The adage “one size fits all” no longer holds true when it comes to workforce policies. The UK economy loses an estimated £340 billion a year due to disengaged employees. With businesses still grappling with the long-term practicalities of hybrid working models, maintaining an engaged and inclusive workforce should remain at the forefront of a company’s growth agenda. A multi-faceted approach to employee satisfaction can have far-reaching benefits for workplace culture, employee motivation, and ultimately staff retention.

Individual employee recognition

Robust employee recognition processes are fundamental at all levels within a business, from entry-level to senior positions. According to Bersin & Associates, those organisations with recognition programmes see a 31% lower turnover than those without. From a business perspective, implementing a recognition initiative can propel a business forward. At Argyll, we have seen this impact first hand through a reduction in our staff turnover from 30% to 3.5% from 2021 to 2023, following the adoption of a comprehensive set of workplace policies.

By recognising that exceptional customer service is delivered by employees who value and take pride in their workplace, we have seen how individual employee recognition initiatives create a culture of empowerment, teamwork, and continuous improvement. For instance, when introducing our new HR engagement platform, leaders took the charge by consistently highlighting outstanding employee performance, with the goal to encourage broader adoption across the organisation. As a result, employee confidence grew, and the platform evolved into a vibrant digital community hub, showcasing good work organically.

Additionally, research shows that companies that have recognition programs see employee performance, engagement, and productivity rates that are 14% higher than those in companies that don’t have recognition programs. Through the introduction of our employee recognition initiative, employees have the option to specify their preferred recognition preferences on their profile within the HR platform, allowing managers to customise employee recognition and offer personalised mentoring. This method provided a manageable way in which all individuals could be appreciated in a way that caters to their needs.

In addition to fostering a positive workplace culture, the initiative has also given individuals the chance to raise their opinions and have their feedback heard and responded to. An example of this is we have renamed our ‘family friendly’ policies to ‘Life Events’ following feedback about the word family, as those using our surrogacy or adoption policies who are not able to have a biological family of their own may find the word ‘family’ triggering. This goes to show the value of amplifying employees’ voices within a company and how small tweaks to workplace policies can provide a surge of change and employee satisfaction.

Flexible working requests

Working culture post-pandemic has been transformed by flexible working policies and its links to improving employee satisfaction, work-life balance, and in turn, productivity are well-documented. According to the CIPD, 92% of younger people want to work flexibly – there is clearly a strong correlation between flexible working arrangements and employee satisfaction. At Argyll, we adopt a bespoke approach towards flexible working that is based on individual needs. Employees can submit flexible working requests from the beginning of their employment. This approach allows employees the freedom to manage out-of-work duties such as childcare and other commitments and fosters a positive and transparent workplace culture.

Employers also need to be responsive to employees’ changing circumstances, and when support may need to go above and beyond Government mandates. By offering 12 weeks’ full pay and 12 weeks’ half pay for maternity and surrogacy leave, we have seen a positive impact on employees and increased staff retention as a result of this policy.

Tackling biases head-on

Employees need to feel reassured and empowered from the get-go. Building a level of trust into recruitment processes is a vital starting point. For instance, as part of our International Women’s Day initiative, we’re introducing ‘Incognito’ mode in our recruitment system. This feature assigns applicants pseudonyms like ‘yellow duck’ or ‘blue dog’ during shortlisting. By doing so, we shield recruiters from unconscious biases related to gender or ethnicity and proactively do our part to try to level the playing field.

As the world of work continues to evolve, organisations that prioritise individuality, recognition, and bespoke approaches to flexible working will thrive. Weaving these threads into the fabric of workforce policies will create a positive workplace culture that benefits not only employees but also the entire business ecosystem.

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