Helping organisations understand Social Value

In this video and blog I’m talking about losing employees who’ve relocated to the area because they or their families haven’t settled. So it’s nothing to do with the job, your HR procedures or the relocation package. They’re just lonely. Their children miss their friends. They don’t feel part of where they now live.

This is particularly relevant if you’re an employer working in a location or sector that finds it difficult to recruit the skills you need. Having worked in Cumbria for much of my life, rural or geographically isolated industries find this a particular challenge, and it’s prevalent across most industries, whether trying to recruit GP’s in Barrow in Furness or Engineers in Workington.

Because of difficulties in recruitment, companies can pay a fortune to recruitment agencies, invest heavily in relocation packages and pull out all the stops to make the practical transition (moving house etc) as smooth as possible. More than a little annoying when the new starter doesn’t last more than 6 months.

So, how do you tackle this?

It’s a tough one, and there is no magic wand, however, recognizing the inter-personal barriers that people face when relocating to an area and setting up systems to manage this can be very helpful. Local Authority Inward Investment teams understand that you can have the greatest job in the world, but unless there’s social infrastructure to make somewhere a place where people WANT to live, it’s a tough call.

An effective Corporate Responsibility strategy can play a valuable part in creating cultures where new starters are supported emotionally, and to be valued within the community.

If you have an active schools partnership, community programme and encourage employees to be active in their well-being, you create cultures where staff develop self-support networks, which extend outside the workplace.

Encouraging staff members to be active in their communities builds stronger links. Your staff will be able to talk with confidence about what’s going on at the local school or within community groups. Creating communities of interest within the workplace (for example a lunchtime walk group, or an environmental group, or a staff football team) give opportunities outside of a workplace setting (this is important as it’s not affecting productivity) for people to build relationships and be networked quickly into a pre-existing community.

If you’re recruiting internationally, it can be incredibility difficult for a staff member to adjust not only to a new job but also a potentially new culture – how do you embrace that difference? Invite people to talk about their own cultures, and differences. It’s the little things – I lived in Germany for a while, and would have killed for a proper cup of tea – this would have been my Don Draper Clause in any contract!

Social connectivity keeps people motivated and engaged at work, and in their home lives. Corporate Responsibility is the science of working out how that connectivity works best for your organization.