Working Families Conference 2015

On Wednesday, we attended the annual Working Families conference.  This year the theme was ‘From recruitment to retirement – high performance from the multigenerational workforce’.

Here are our key highlights from the day:

Recruitment with flexibility by default

  • Carol Rosati, Global Head Inspire, Harvey Nash, talked about the changes in the recruitment landscape.  Recruiters are responding to the fact that the corporate world has changed; people are now much happier to talk about their family, happy to mention that they would like to attend sports days, nativity plays etc.7 years ago, Carol set up ‘Inspire’ which is a global network of senior business women that also works with organisations to promote a more balanced workforce:
  • Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families, introduced ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’.  Working Families has developed the strapline and logo for employers to put on their job adverts.  By being happy to talk about flexible working, companies are opening up the application process to even more talented people.  The logo can be downloaded from their website:
  •  Angela Cooke, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist from PWC, went on to talk about how they are using the ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’ strapline.
  • Simon Langley, UK Head of Inclusion and Diversity at National Grid, presented the business case for default flexible working.  All jobs advertised have flexible working included in the job spec unless there is a good business case for not offering it.  He highlighted the need to move away from seeing flexible working as an employee benefit.  They’ve seen a cultural shift to an output based management system and have saved a huge amount of money by reducing workspace.

Childcare: not my problem?

  •  Representatives from Thomson Reuters, the University of Oxford and Barclays explained how their employees benefit from access to emergency back-up care and workplace nurseries.

Older Workers: opportunities and challenges

  • Stephen Burke, Director – United for All Ages, reinforced the fact that Britain’s workforce is ageing.  By 2022 (only 7 years away), the number of 16-49 year olds in the workforce will have decreased by 700,000 whereas the number of 50-64 year olds will have increased by 3.7m.   He talked about the benefits older workers bring to the workplace, the challenges employers face by having an older workforce and how these challenges can be overcome.
  • Fiona Cannon, Group Director, Diversity and Inclusion at Lloyds Banking Group, shared with us how they’ve introduced a ‘staged retirement’ process where an older worker job shares with a younger member of staff; and a ‘retired affiliated’ process, where an older worker comes back on a consultancy basis, in particular during peak times.  It has been very successful and they’ve seen an increase in lending to smaller businesses, as well as an increase in customer satisfaction.
  • Ricky Somal, Equality & Diversity Lead, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, talked about how they have struggled to attract younger workers and retain people in the 36-45 age category.  As well as careful analysis of exit interviews, they have introduced a scheme where workers who have been in the same role for more than 3 years, are given development and progression support.

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