Proud Supporters of the London Living Wage
With Living Wage Week (30 October – 5 November) fast approaching, it is important for all of us to really think about our greatest asset in business; our workforce. In the cleaning sector, as in many others, our staff are our brand ambassadors and represent the face of our company with our clients. It is therefore important that we prioritise their welfare and ensure they are happy to be part of the team.
In a sector with traditionally high staff turnover, an added bonus is that investing more in your staff, and ensuring they are treated fairly and with dignity, is actually one of the most effective ways to keep costs down.
Confused? Well, organisations that pay the Living Wage, including Julius Rutherfoord, find that when staff feel valued and are paid fairly for the work they carry out, the quality of their work is enhanced and absenteeism is reduced. Staff retention is increased while ongoing recruitment and training costs are minimised.
London Living Wage
We are a Living Wage Recognised Service Provider, which means we’re committed to paying the London Living Wage (LLW) to all our direct employees. We have been active in working in partnership with a number of clients to implement the LLW. These have covered a number of sectors including higher education, finance and charity.
In higher education for example, when we took on a contract where there had been on-going issues, we moved all of the cleaning staff to the LLW and saw an immediate improvement in morale and staff retention (we’ve had a 95% staff retention rate over the past two years).
We have also seen increased staff productivity as there has been less turnover, and less need to retrain and supervise new starters. Our staff feel valued, are happier, more motivated and therefore prepared to ‘go the extra mile’. This means our client is very happy and has seen a marked improvement in standards, consistency and engagement.
Pay alone is not enough
Our advice would be to make sure that any change to LLW is not implemented in isolation. Simply paying the LLW would be a missed opportunity to engage with your staff and to create a more positive environment. The increase in wages needs to be part of a wider plan that reviews productivity, equipment and work practices.
Through working closely in partnership in this way, we have seen wins for all parties, with additional costs being partly offset through improved productivity and cost avoidance.
This has been driven by a combination of factors including retraining and introducing innovative new equipment. Engaging staff provides a great opportunity to discuss ideas to collectively improve service – with the backdrop of knowing that they are receiving a fair wage that allows staff to focus their efforts 100% on the job. It is amazing how this creates a more positive atmosphere where people are open to change and become more productive.
So you see, paying the Living Wage (or in the capital, the LLW) isn’t just good for a business’ ethical reputation, it is vital for a strong team and also good for its bottom line. We wear the Living Wage badge with pride and our staff feel valued and part of the team because of it.
To find out more, visit www.livingwage.org.uk