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It's official, you're a good employer!

Are you? How do you know? Your reputation as an employer is often for others to judge (fairly or otherwise). That reputation depends on many things: the quality of your products and services, your efficiency of operation, and also how you treat your employees.

But how do other people – customers, suppliers, potential future workers – know what kind of employer you are? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a badge you could earn that proved how good you were? That would be a boost to your reputation, image and brand.

If you’re a London business, there is. It’s called the Good Work Standard (GWS), has just been launched and is a collaboration between the Mayor’s office and the CIPD. Mayor Sadiq Khan emphasised that the aim of the GWS is, “social justice, economic fairness and opportunity” for all workers.

Details of the Good Work Standard

Like any business accreditation scheme, the GWS sees participating businesses assessed against a set of criteria – the four pillars – in order to be recognised as a ‘good employer’ in terms of fair pay, working conditions and wellbeing, skills training, and diversity in recruitment. The minimum standards for achievement are as follows (taken from the london.gov.uk website):

Fair pay and conditions

  • Pay all workers and employees the London Living Wage (including internships) and show you are already accredited by the Living Wage Foundation
  • Provide a clear statement about employment status and rights from day one
  • Offer above the statutory paid leave and benefits (maternity, paternity, sick pay etc.)
  • Offer financial benefits to support living costs in addition to pay, e.g. staff discounts, advice services, interest free payroll loans such as Tenancy and Childcare Deposit Loans

Workplace wellbeing

  • Sign up and adhere to the London Healthy Workplace Charter and Women's Night Safety Charter
  • Consult with your workforce to agree shift patterns and times, anti-social working hours and pay premiums
  • Produce a Health and Wellbeing plan for your workforce
  • Implement collective mechanisms, trade unions and/or staff surveys to obtain workforce feedback on important issues in your organisation
  • Make flexible and agile working available for your entire workforce

Skills and progression

  • Implement a structured programme of learning and training for your entire workforce
  • Offer apprenticeships and internships as a pathway to employment
  • Implement training for managers and leaders in managing and developing people
  • Create clear progression pathways accessible to everyone in your workforce
  • Support the progression of women and other under-represented or disadvantaged groups e.g. GLA's Our Time initiative
  • Recognise informal training such as volunteering in personal development plans

Diversity and recruitment

  • Offer Diversity and Inclusion training for everyone in your workforce
  • Put in place a zero tolerance approach to all forms of discrimination, harassment and bullying
  • Broaden recruitment channels and encourage applications from diverse and under-represented groups
  • Collect and analyse data to identify ethnicity/BAME and disability pay gaps
  • Report and publish your gender pay gap even if not legally required

Each pillar also has a set of criteria for “Excellence”, indicating a much higher level of achievement. The standard was developed alongside a number of partners, including the CIPD. Anybody who’s ever been involved with an Investors in People assessment will see plenty of overlap here but the GWS is clearly aiming for a broader in terms of “good employer”.

The benefits of becoming GWS-accredited?

It never hurts business to have a good reputation. And by including the GWS certification in your marketing, bids for work, and recruitment adverts you’re saying that you have a fully-validated reputation as a good employer. Consequently, you can expect a positive impact on attracting the best employees, levels of sickness absence, employee engagement, and overall productivity.

Comprehensive initiative though the GWS is, it’s clearly a London-centric opportunity right now – several London boroughs, the Met Polices, Transport for the London and the London Fire Brigade are already accredited – but it is being suggested as a good example and framework for the rest of the country, especially large metropolitan areas. So, even if you’re in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, etc. the GWS may be coming to you…

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