East Riding of Yorkshire Council – a modern workforce in a modern workplace
As a community leader, it’s important for the council to support and showcase all aspects of equality and diversity.
Darren Stevens is Executive Director of Corporate Resources at East Riding of Yorkshire Council. He outlines the work that East Riding of Yorkshire Council is doing to become an Age-friendly Employer.
- We offer staff free ‘Health MOTs’ in work time to help our people keep fit and well.
- Our flexible retirement policy is designed to help people adjust to eventual full retirement. It allows us to retain employees’ knowledge and expertise, so it’s good for us as an employer too.
“We want everyone to have fulfilling lives working with us, whatever their age. Over half our employees are aged 45+ and almost a third are over 55. We really value everyone, so we take the steps necessary to keep them with us as long as possible.
“We try to challenge stereotypes by being more inclusive in our choice of imagery to represent all the protected characteristics, including age. All our marketing officers have received 'Changing the Narrative' guidelines for age-inclusive communication, for them to consider when putting together marketing campaign work.
“Career development opportunities are available to all staff. We support employees of every age to complete apprenticeships up to level 7. We have 23 apprentices aged 50 or over.”
Responsibility for health and wellbeing sits with everyone across the organisation. Leaders and managers promote a healthy workplace culture where people feel safe, supported and valued and employees raising issues, accessing support when needed and supporting each other. As a Mindful Employer we are keen to ensure that mental health and wellbeing is also given the focus needed.
Many different services contribute to the provision of health and wellbeing support: People Services, Culture and Customer Services. Public Health and trade unions.
“Our employee wellbeing service, ‘LiveWell, WorkWell’ – commissioned by our Public Health team – is an important part of this. Our service focuses on prevention and is designed to keep our people fit and well.
“We offer staff confidential one-to-one consultations on any aspect of physical or mental health, financial or social wellbeing, and that can be in-person, on video call or by phone. You can refer yourself, or your line manager can refer you as part of a performance review or check-in."
We know that agile and flexible working options are important to all employees, including people aged 50 and over.
“Unusually for an employer, we offer staff free ‘Health MOTs’ that can be carried out in work time. These measure markers like blood pressure, bone density, Body Mass Index (BMI), metabolic age, muscle mass and hydration. Diabetes screening and cholesterol checks are also included. We can send the results confidentially to their GP. We’ve sometimes found indicators of potential health issues among people who are asymptomatic, and this early warning means that problems can often be nipped in the bud. Over 1,500 employees have taken the MOT at least once in the first two years.
“With respect to healthy ageing in particular, we offer employees and managers guidance on the menopause; resources on how to be ready for winter and prevent falls; flu and COVID vaccinations; and free resources and support for carers.”
“We know that agile and flexible working options are important to all employees, including people aged 50 and over. So where possible we offer blended working (location and hours of work), part-time working, flexitime (the opportunity to record your hours and take time back when needed), compressed working (for example working a full week over four days), career breaks and varying hours – for example to fit with caring responsibilities.”
“Alongside this flexible working, we offer a wide range of flexible retirement options to employees aged 55 or over who have been paying into the local government pension scheme for at least two years. Staff approaching retirement can attend a pre-retirement course run by East Riding Pension Fund and there is signposting to pensions and retirement guidance on our health and wellbeing site.
“Our flexible retirement policy is designed with lots of choice to help people adjust to eventual full retirement. You can, for example, choose to draw some or all of your pension while still working by reducing your working hours or grade. This enables employees to pass on their skills, and since it allows us to retain the knowledge and expertise that people have built up, it’s good for us as an employer too.”
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