Leading North East businesses of all sizes joined North of Tyne Elected Mayor Jamie Driscoll and North of Tyne Cabinet member, Councillor Joyce McCarty, to develop pioneering ideas on how to be the best possible employers.
The event, which took place at Newcastle Building Society’s Cobalt Business Park offices, was organised by North of Tyne Combined Authority in partnership with the North East England Chamber of Commerce.
Members heard Mayor Driscoll introduce an outline Good Work Pledge and were able to give their views on it. The proposed Pledge, developed by the North of Tyne Combined Authority in consultation with employers and representative bodies sets out key ways in which businesses can demonstrate that they offer jobs which are fairly rewarded, offer great development opportunities and help attract and retain the best people. Proposed pledges include developing a balanced workforce, covering training, investment and diversity, and evidencing social responsibility through positive environmental practices or volunteering opportunities for staff.
Mayor Driscoll said: “Wise employers know that their workforce is their biggest asset. Look after your workers, and they’ll be more productive, more innovative, and more loyal. We want to acknowledge those good employers who look after their staff and give other employers a leg up to match that standard.
“If we can get everyone who needs a job into secure, well-paid work, half of our social problems would solve themselves.”
Lesley Moody, Chamber President has flexible working as the main theme of her Presidency. She said: “Make no mistake, our members know they are successful because of their staff. I urge all North East employers to aspire to be the very best they can be. In my experience if you do give your staff flexibility, it is both appreciated and reciprocated. Two-thirds of our members have offered flexible working and have found it has helped staff retention. It is a real chance for the North East to lead the way nationally.”
Also speaking at the launch was Phil Grand, managing director, Newcastle Strategic Solutions, a subsidiary of Newcastle Building Society, a Chamber Partner Member. He outlined his organisation’s approach to employees which included developing them by encouraging volunteering and working with the Prince’s Trust. There is also a leadership and early talent development programme to support young people to fulfil their potential.
He said: “We want colleagues to do well and fulfil their potential, irrespective of their background or personal circumstances. We invest in them as they are our future and they have a key role to play in delivering both our ambitious growth plans and the ongoing success of our region.”
Feedback from businesses at the launch included the importance of simplifying the language used in the Pledge so it is easily understood by employers and employees, showing flexibility so that businesses can sign up and work towards different elements of the Pledge, and identifying specific support needed for smaller businesses.
Closing the event Chamber Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, said: “The employer and employee relationship is changing, and it is the responsibility of a business to show what Good Work is in the real world. We want everyone to help give their views and shape the Good Work Pledge so that it is meaningful and achievable.
More information on the Good Work Pledge is available at www.northoftyne-ca.gov.uk/good-work-business-pledge.