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Beecroft not the best route to better peformance

25 May 2012

As a director of a small company, I am all too aware of the importance of every employee performing to the best of their ability; just one person not pulling their weight can have a big impact on clients, on colleagues and on the bottom line. But Beecroft’s ‘no fault dismissal’ proposal is not the solution.

The best way to maximise performance is to start from the other end of the spectrum and ensure businesses provide a positive, supportive and engaging environment that gives everyone the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Excitingly, and in contrast to much of the debate around the Beecroft Report’s recommendations, there are several examples of how employers are working to improve employee wellness and engagement to benefit business performance.

At the large end of the scale, Business in the Community has collaborated with exemplar FTSE100 companies to create the Workwell Model. They have developed an approach that focuses on the dignity and engagement of employees, involving them in decision making, enabling greater flexibility and creating balance at work.

The results of the Workwell Model are increased productivity.  FTSE100 companies with robust arrangements for reporting on employee health and wellbeing outperform the rest of the FTSE100 by 10 percent and there are many examples of savings in the millions of pounds as a result of reduced attrition rates, lower sickness and greater flexibility.

In the same recognition of the importance of flexibility, Hanson Search and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations recently launched ‘Getting the Balance Right’ which identified the urgent need to stop the loss of senior skills and talent currently triggered by maternity leave.  It is an important step for the communications industry which has a growing gender gap.

As a mother who works part time, I know the benefits of flexible working from both a personal perspective and the value that it brings to the company.  Forster is an excellent example of a small business that recognises its strength comes from involving and not excluding its employees.

We recently introduced our Wellbeing programme which encourages everyone to collect stamps for looking after themselves and, once a card is completed, they are rewarded with either vouchers or time off as preferred.  It is simple, low cost and effective with 65 percent of the company taking part.

Employees are critical in determining company performance.  Of course there are situations where people are well managed but continue to underperform and in this situation they need to leave.  This needs to happen in a way that does not disrupt the majority.  We cannot let a culture of fear, as outlined by Beecroft’s proposal, become a reality.