Phoenix Group – recruitment, retention, retraining
For Phoenix, being an Age-friendly Employer is not only in the interests of employees but also good for the business itself.
- Our carers’ leave can be taken as individual hours or days. It means that people remain working with us, ensuring we retain valuable experience and avoid costly recruitment.
- In advertising our jobs, we pay attention to the words we use, the imagery that appears and the places we promote the vacancies.
“We want to be a workplace of choice. If we succeed in that, we’ll have motivated employees and all the benefits of diversity. We consider that what is good for older workers is also good for younger workers and vice versa.
“We look at employment through three lenses: recruitment, retention and (re)training.”
“In advertising our jobs, we pay attention to the words we use, the imagery that appears and the places we promote the vacancies. It’s important to get the verbal and visual language right, so that you avoid bias. We make sure that the people we feature are just as likely to have grey hair or no hair as a full head of it. In terms of the channels we use, we choose outlets that engage everyone, from young to old.”
People over 50 in the UK are less likely to be offered training than any others. We correct this in our company by ensuring that we offer opportunities to everyone regardless of age.
“We are pleased to have all five generations, from age 18 to 71, more or less equally represented in our company. Young people can teach a lot to older folk, and people with long experience are invaluable in the wisdom and knowledge they offer.
“Flexibility is a watchword for us. We promote this to all our employees, from day one, because we want people to be able to work in the way they need to.
“One in seven people are carers and we make it our duty to support them. It’s really hard to juggle care and work, and we believe you shouldn’t have to choose between love and money. Half of women have caring responsibilities by the age of 46 and half of men by the age of 56. In our lives nearly all of us we will care for others, or be cared for. The system would fall over without family carers and yet Carers’ Allowance is only £69.70 per week. If you had to rely on that, instead of working, it’s hard to imagine you could end up with enough for a comfortable retirement.
“So we have a carers’ leave benefit open to everyone, which can be taken as individual hours or days, as people wish. We originally introduced it at five days per year, and it was so cherished that we increased it to 10 days paid leave and further days of unpaid leave. It means that talented people can join, and stay, working with us, and it’s worth it to us as an employer considering that it can cost tens of thousands of pounds for every recruit.
“Rather than having a menopause policy, we treat menopause as a normal part of life. We offer training to managers and staff and have ‘menopause champions’ who are there to listen and talk – not least about the 32-plus symptoms associated with that life stage. We say the word menopause over and over again to normalise it for everyone. We offer MEN-o-pause sessions for male employees, so that they can share their experiences and learn how to support and empathise with partners or others going through it.”
“People over 50 in the UK are less likely to be offered training than any others. We correct this in our company by ensuring that we offer opportunities to everyone regardless of age, and we check that participation of over 50s is proportional to their representation in the company. Again, developing people is in the company’s interest too: we grow as a business because of our brilliant people.”
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