Focusing on work-life balance helps council reduce employee turnover

Hertfordshire
County Council aims to reduce its staff turnover rate to 10 per cent by
radically overhauling its flexible working and benefits package.

The
staff turnover rate has already reduced by 2 per cent to 14 per cent since the
introduction of its comprehensive flexible benefits LifeWISE scheme.

The
programme, which had £10,000 funding from the Department for Education and
Skills’ Work-Life Balance Fund, has four areas: flexible working, care support,
health services, and flexible benefits.

Assistant
director of personnel at Hertfordshire County Council Gillian Hibberd is
confident the project will help the council meet its targets.

The
council has already surpassed its staff take-up target of 2 per cent in the
scheme’s first year and has 40-50 per cent of its 28,500 staff working
flexibility.

"Work-life
balance was not at the top of the managers agenda, but thanks to the scheme it
is slowly moving up. "The long-hours culture is not dead and buried, but
it will become a thing of the past," she said.

The
council has introduced a full range of flexible working policies – including
home working, compressed hours, flexi-time and annualised hours – to help suit
staffs’ different needs.

For
parents an on-site nursery has been set up and nursery vouchers for the
council’s internal and external nurseries have been introduced in the flexible
benefits package.

The
scheme includes stress and bullying workshops, health screenings, counselling
and accident insurance.

The
council also wants the to reduce the current staff sickness absence rate of
around seven days a year per employee by 5 per cent as well as improve staff
commitment and motivation.

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