Flexible working key to £250,000 saving

The adoption of comprehensive family-friendly working practices has helped
Northumbrian Water more than halve its staff turnover rate and save costs.

Annette Gibson, the firm’s personnel support manager, said the utility
company introduced a family-friendly package in October 1999 based on the
recommendations of a group consisting of employees, managers and employee

The company provides generous and flexible maternity leave including a
phased return to work on full pay, paternity leave and a whole range of
flexible working arrangements.

Northumbrian Water has also introduced a flexitime scheme which allows
employees to choose their hours between 7am and 7pm and has led to the
scrapping of a costly time recording system.

Not only did this generate an immediate saving of £250,000, but it
demonstrated to the firm’s 1,500 staff that they are trusted to manage their
own time.

These policies have reduced staff turnover from 8 per cent to 3 per cent
since their introduction.

Gibson is in no doubt that eventually all employers will have to offer a
full range of family-friendly working policies.

"People ask themselves when they are considering moving to a different
employer, ‘What about family-friendly polices?’," she said.

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