Flexible working cuts staff turnover and absenteeism

Wilts Wholesale has reduced staff turnover and sickness
absence and improved sales by introducing a number of flexible working
initiatives.

The electrical wholesale company used a DTI Challenge Fund
award to employ a consultancy to look at its working practises and suggest ways
of improving work-life balance opportunities for its employees.

HR manager Ruth Pryor said that as a result the company
introduced flexible working at its head office, which employs 140 people.

She commented, “We had a problem with high employee turnover
because we are an area with almost zero unemployment and we had another large
employer Virgin just down the road. We introduced a scheme where our employees
could take flexi days as long as they did their core hours.

“For example in our accounts department staff might work
lots of hours during their busy period but they would be able to take more time
during quiet periods.”

Pryor told Personnel Today that as a result only three
members of staff out of the 140 it employs at its head office had left last
year compared to 15 during the previous 12 months and sick leave had reduced
from 6.5 per cent to 3 per cent.

Wilts Wholesale has also introduced a Saturday working pilot
scheme at one of its 42 branches without increasing labour costs, which has led
to increased sales.

By Ben Willmott

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