Good Employment Charter 2023

The Principles We Live By – A Good Employer’s Journey

By Kelly Oldham | September 15, 2023

Through the history of human civilisation, there has always been some form of labour such as a community organising itself to divide up tasks to meet basic needs and exchange specialist skills or surplus resources. As society has developed and more complex industries have grown around us, the world of work has changed. From the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th Century through to technological advancements that are still in use today, the social, political, and organisational structures have had to adapt too. But whatever modern tools might be used today to perform different tasks, people still form the core of our workforce.

Many employers understand that not only is it morally right to treat staff well, it also makes good business sense. But it can be a challenge to know where to start— especially when you are a small business.

At Smith Goodfellow, we have always lived by the principle that to be a successful communications business, we need our team to be able to show up to work as themselves, bringing all their individual experiences, perspectives, and imagination to the table, whilst feeling both valued and supported in their roles.

However, whilst it was relatively easy to do this when we were a very small team, as our business rapidly expanded, we needed a clear framework to work to. This is where the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter (GEC) came in.

Over the next few blogs, we will explore the topic of what makes a ‘good employer’ and share some of the commitments we have made that have earned us Member status.

The Good Employment Chartership is based on seven key principles. These are:

  1. Secure Work
  2. Flexible Work
  3. Pay
  4. Engagement & Voice
  5. Recruitment
  6. People Management
  7. Health & Wellbeing

This week we will be looking at point 1.

What does ‘Secure Work’ mean?

Many of us have had experience working for companies that have struggled to make their employees feel valued or to effectively manage their time and finances. This can not only dampen morale but can be a real source of stress and anxiety.

Secure work means that employees have clarity over when they work and their income, allowing them to plan their commitments. Put simply, this means issuing contracts that “reflect actual hours worked”.

Our approach

At SG, our management team understands the importance of creating as much stability as possible. It has done this by:

  • Making all contracts salaried positions with stated hour requirements and core hours expected to work (though we are also offered a flexible work option, should any member of the team require adjustments to their working pattern).
  • Ensuring minimum starting salaries are stated when advertising job vacancies.
  • Ensuring contracts are supplied prior to a new recruit’s first day of work along with core organisational policies, for them to be signed and returned before they take up the position.
  • Trying to avoid making anyone feel like overtime is mandatory. If there’s overtime available, payment or time off in lieu is offered as a choice. There is also a monthly overtime cap.
  • Regularly reviewing workloads and requirements so that we can contract freelancers where appropriate, to ease any pressure individuals may feel in these situations.

An employee’s view

Even during the turbulence of 2020 and onwards, when many businesses were struggling financially, the management team did everything they could to assure us that they would do whatever was in their power to keep our jobs safe and protect the business. It cannot be understated how much this is appreciated, especially during hard times, and this is something that was fed back in a recent appraisal. We’re living in a time of a lot of uncertainty but, in such times, it can really help ease stress when you know that your job is safe as far as such things can be guaranteed.

We hope the information in this instalment has been helpful to you! What steps are you working on to improve your business practices to be a Good Employer? You can discuss this with us on our social: Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Threads, and Twitter.

Learn more about our history as a PR and marketing consultancy that specialises in construction.

DISCLAIMER: This is based on our experience and is not endorsed by GEC, nor does it offer any guarantees. Please view the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter FAQs, the Charter’s page on ‘Secure Work’, or contact them directly to discuss how your business can become a Supporter or apply for membership.