Taylor review: Six stories of business improvement and worker development

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The Taylor Review’s recommendations around employment rights could well shape government policy – and affect businesses and their employment strategies – in the months and years ahead. AccountingWEB presents six stories in the report that are worth sharing

Matthew Taylor’s independent review of modern working practices was published on 11 July and launched with some fanfare at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) by Taylor and the prime minister Theresa May.

Taylor is chief executive of the RSA and he headed a four-strong review team to deliver the report. He presented himself as a champion of workers’ rights and fair and decent working practices, even if not all the reaction to the report has been positive.

To this end, the report contained case studies illustrating best practice – or at least progressive actions – by companies. Here are five worth sharing with those among our AccountingWEB readership who are looking for direction and/or inspiration (there’s a bias in the report’s story-telling towards illustrating how clever regulation is the answer, but then you’d arguably expect that from a government-commissioned report.

1. McDonald’s moves away from zero-hours contracts

In April 2017, McDonald’s offered 115,000 UK workers on zero-hours contracts the option of moving to fixed contracts with a minimum number of guaranteed hours every week. The fast-food chain offered fixed-hours contracts after staff in its restaurants complained they were struggling to get loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts because they were not guaranteed employment each week.

The company found that about 80% of workers in the trial chose to remain on flexible contracts and it reported an increase in levels of employee and customer satisfaction after the offer. Staff were offered contracts in line with the average hours per week they worked. This included contracts of four, eight, 16, 30 or 35 hours a week.

They initially offered these fixed-hour contracts to 50 more restaurants, but plan to roll it out nationwide to existing and new employees later this year.

2. Regulation cuts copper theft

In 2012/13, there were over 65,000 incidents of metal theft in the UK, some of which, for instance railway cable theft, caused huge disruption for commuters and the economy. On 3 December 2012, all cash transactions for scrap metal recycling were banned. This was coupled with licensing requirements for sellers the following year through provisions in the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

The impact has been huge, with only around 16,000 incidents of metal theft reported in 2015/16 – a reduction of 74% on 2012/13. While the precise cost of metal theft before these changes was not known – estimated to be between £260m-£770m a year – the reduction in levels to less than a quarter in such a short period of time shows how cashless transactions can have a significant impact.

3. An industry-led apprenticeships campaign

The 5% Club is an industry-led campaign to increase the proportion of the workforce made up from those on an apprenticeship, sponsored student placement or graduates on recognised training schemes. Members aim to have 5% of their workforce on one of these schemes within five years of joining the club. Members report progress annually – in their annual report and accounts.

4. Digital badges recognise workplace excellence

World Chefs, the global association of chef societies, has worked with DigitalMe and City & Guilds to create digital badges that cover a range of levels and different specialisms within the culinary sector.

These badges allow people to follow a schedule and submit their evidence to the awarding company, for example around dishes created or support given to others in the workplace. If their evidence meets the criteria they are then awarded the badge which contains all the information about what exactly they did to achieve the badge and they can take it with them through their working lives. World Chefs would like these badges to become the global industry benchmark.

5. BRC initiative looks for better jobs in retail

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has launched its Retail 2020 campaign, setting out a vision for the future retail workforce. Specifically recognising the role of technology and financial pressures on retailers, the campaign accepts there may be fewer retail jobs in the future but sets out an aspiration to improve the jobs that remain.

As part of this, the Retail 2020 Dashboard was developed to track progress across the industry on the journey to better jobs. The dashboard covers the level of employment, productivity, hourly pay, and engagement. The engagement index tracks progress against the objective for ‘better jobs’.

The engagement index is a composite assessment of job satisfaction, motivation and empowerment among retail colleagues derived from an annual survey of retail workers.

This index complements work to better understand retail workers, what motivates them and why they work in retail. In particular, this research highlights the variation amongst workers of different ages.

6. Happy now? How one consultancy keeps the team on track

TRAC is a small independent regulatory affairs consultancy employing around 30 people and serving the global pharmaceutical industry.

TRAC’s good practices and wellbeing initiatives in the workplace have been recognised in the NHS Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Workplace Health Award Programme. As a result of their efforts, TRAC has a happier, healthier more productive team – it has sickness levels of 1.6 days per employee per year, compared with 6.8 days on average for the private sector.

About Christian Annesley


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14th Jul 2017 11:46

Rather ahead of you here, Chris!


Quite how regulating scrap metal dealing would improve the quality of work experience of metal thieves is rather beyond me, I'm afraid...

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