How wise is recruiting for ‘culture fit’?

I hear so many recruiters say they are looking for ‘culture fit’ when assessing candidates. Is this wise? In my experience, very rarely.

Culture is defined as “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs of a particular group of people at a particular time” in the Cambridge English Dictionary. Or, put more simply, ‘the way we do things around here’. Seeking out culture fit in candidates assumes that ‘the way we do things around here’ is the best, or even the only way things should be done.

The risk (and I think it’s a big risk) is that the practice of appointing people who share your customs and beliefs feeds into ‘group think’. This is where decision-makers sit around violently agreeing with each other, seeing every situation from the same viewpoint. It has been described as “A phenomenon that occurs when the desire for group consensus overrides people’s common sense desire to present alternatives, critique a position, or express an unpopular opinion. Here, the desire for group cohesion effectively drives out good decision-making and problem solving.” (source)

An organisational culture which has become complacent in thinking it already has all of the answers and can’t be improved prevents growth, innovation, disruption and is potentially dangerous to its future success. Including people who will look at issues through fresh eyes, with different ways of thinking and perspectives, and who will question and challenge the status quo is surely more healthy for the business?

Often, those organisations looking for culture fit are afraid of being questioned or challenged. They want people similar to them, with similar ways of thinking, who will just seamlessly slip in to the organisation without causing any ripples. Whilst this may be easier and more comfortable in the short-term, the long-term risks to the business can be huge.

The world is changing. Rapidly. Those who rely on ‘but we’ve always done it this way’ are denying the reality of the need to change, innovate and develop. Those who look for new, exciting and different ways to do things are able to not just adapt to the changing business environment, but to influence that change.

The next time you are recruiting, instead of looking for someone who will disappear into the background of your existing culture, actively seek someone who might challenge and question the status quo. Someone who is different from you. Someone who brings different experiences and ways of thinking with them. Are you brave enough?

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

Empowering abilities – what you need to know…

Image shows three face symbols. The first is sad, the second has been turned into a smile by a person’s hand and the third is neutral.

I recently read an article that made me grin. Dustin Maynard entitled his article ‘The Secret to Disability Inclusion’. It made a strong impression because everything he said was just so darn true. Disability inclusion isn’t as complicated as people think. Focus on what people can do, rather than what they can’t. Look for strengths first, look at what people can offer. Focus on ability, not the disability. Once this mindset is in place, the rest gets easier. Here are three simple mindset leaps for you and your organisation to soar with:

Mindset leap 1: Why hire disabled people? Won’t it be a load of hassle?

Quit looking at the negatives about disability that you see in the media. There are rather a lot of benefits your organisation can’t afford to miss out on. Are you ready? Here are just a few…

If you include disabled people in your search for talent, you’ve got a wider talent pool to recruit from and a greater chance of finding the best person for the job. Disabled people tend to stay in their jobs longer, increasing retention. We are just as productive as non-disabled people but have fewer workplace accidents. And less sick time. Disabled people and their families are consumers with valuable spending power (£249 billion a year in the UK alone). Can you afford to ignore this? The costs associated with inclusion are far less than you might think, and the benefits far outweigh them.

Mindset leap 2: What if we do/say the wrong thing?

There’s no doubt about it. This is a scary mindset to overcome. It’s easy to say the wrong thing, but equally easy to ask what language is preferred. And it’s easy to learn. One of the best benefits of employing disabled people is that we’ll help your organisational culture shift naturally. We offer a different viewpoint, a fresh perspective as it were. Inclusive cultures attract more customers and the best candidates. Diversity increases both innovation and the bottom line.

To help people jump over this hurdle, Evenbreak developed a best practice portal. It allows everyone in the organisation to have access to a comprehensive and practical set of resources. And it’s for everyone, not just senior leaders. The resources are kept bite-sized, so you can dip in and learn as time allows. And it’s developed by the real experts: disabled people and employers who are already implementing best practice.

Mindset leap 3: How did you say we start again?

Just do it. Have a read of Dustin’s excellent article. Look at ability rather than disability. And if you get in a pickle and want a hand, drop us a line at info@evenbreak.co.uk

The rewards of an open and flexible recruitment process

In this blog I described the recruitment process Evenbreak used in a recent hiring round. Any recruitment process can only really be evaluated by the outcomes it produces. In our case, we were aiming to attract a number of diverse candidates who had the qualities and strengths required to do the two roles we were trying to fill.

As described previously, we received over forty applications from a diverse range of incredibly talented people, and had the somewhat enviable ‘problem’ of identifying the most suitable ones. They had a lot to live up to, as our existing team, at the risk of sounding immodest (and just a little smug), is pretty remarkable.

In the end, although we were advertising two roles, we just couldn’t choose between two candidates for one of them, and decided to employ them both. So the Evenbreak team gained three new members instead of two. I’d like to introduce them to you.

Kiana, Candidate Engagement Manager

I must confess, my own prejudices kicked in a bit with Kiana at first. How could a young woman of only 24 have the life experience required to carry out such a crucial role for the business? However, I very quickly understood that she has the most amazingly creative mind (demonstrated in part by a videoshe had produced), and had all the qualities we had hoped for and so much more. Her degree in film-making, her experience in campaigning, her human rights approach to disability, and her ability to communicate complex issues articulately and persuasively made her the perfect choice.

Other employers may have hesitated because she has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, meaning she requires a lot of personal assistance, and as a full time wheelchair user would need to work in an accessible buiding. They sometimes also make (inaccurate) assumptions about what she is, or isn’t, capable of. If so, it would be their loss entirely. She may not be able to remove the top from her pen independently, but she engages really well with people, organisations and media and is already making a huge positive impact on the team and Evenbreak’s stakeholders. Thank goodness I ignored my initial prejudice (there’s perhaps a lesson there for us all!).

Cassandra (Employer Engagement Manager)

Cassandra was the first person to respond to the advert, and she was very keen, but concerned that she “might not be disabled enough” as her impairment is a mental health condition. We laughed that in most recruitment situations candidates would be concerned that they might be considered “too disabled”, and it was good to have turned the tables for once.

Cass immediately appealed, because she had a diverse background, including PR and health. She is particularly talented in marketing and social media, and has great writing skills. Her enthusiasm and motivation were what first impressed me, along with her strong desire to make the world, especially the world of work, more inclusive and accessible to disabled people. Another creative mind (like Kiana), she comes up with some amazing ideas, and is incredibly pro-active at finding solutions to improve the way we work. Evenbreak is already more effective as a result.

Adam (Employer Engagement Manager)

When it comes to working with large employers, Adam has experience in spades. Most of his working life has been spent working and engaging with a range of diverse companies. Over those years he has developed remarkable skills in problem-solving, strategic thinking, analytical skills and stakeholder engagement. His progressive condition, Multiple Sclerosis, had made his previous job increasingly difficult, and so reluctantly he left. His personal experience in trying to find work flexible enough to accommodate his health condition attracted him to the approach Evenbreak takes to addressing some of those problems.

Adam describes his immense skillset as ‘old school’ and ‘traditional’. I describe them, even after only two months, as ‘impressive’ and ‘successful’. He is already making some productive relationships with existing employers and ensuring they gain maximum benefit from using Evenbreak.

 

In addition to the demonstrable and amazing qualities that these individual people possess, the magic really happens when they come together as a team.  The four of us share fundamental values around inclusion and diversity, and also have different and complementary life experiences, work experiences, skills, qualifications and talents which combine together to form something really special. It’s early days – we have only been working together for a couple of months at the time of writing – but I feel really excited and optimistic about the future of Evenbreak.

I’m not sure that this would have happened with a ‘traditional’ recruitment process. And I know that such an open and flexible process won’t suit every employer. However, are there elements you could take from it to improve yours? The rewards are plain to see!

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

The Unemployment Epidemic for People with Disabilities

A view from America:

How many emails do you get every day? How much of it is junk? While you can have the best spam filter, such as Everycloudtech spam filter, a lot will still get through. But, most of us also realize some legitimate and even important email gets caught up in that mess, and we could miss it.

What if you were one of those legitimate and important emails that got caught up in someone’s spam filter and they never, ever saw it?

Now you may have some small idea or notion about what it could be like as a person with a disability trying to find work.

The Constant Struggle

Disabilities cover a wide range of physical abilities, or limitations. An individual could be deaf, blind, developmentally delayed, diagnosed with a specific condition, paraplegic, and so much more. For millions of men and women around the world who have a disability, unemployment is a major concern, despite some wonderful stride made with legislation to protect them in the workplace.

In the United States, for example, a person cannot be denied employment or terminated due to a disability. However, it’s not easy to prove a person has been passed over for employment, a promotion, or even terminated based solely on their disability. And it happens far too often.

The unemployment rate among people with disabilities in the U.S. hovers at slightly less than double that for people without disabilities. A small percentage discrepancy could certainly be explained in a number of ways, but when it’s double, there’s a glaring problem.

And the situation is even more challenging in other parts of the world.

More people today are acutely aware of the challenges people with disabilities face, not just in finding and maintaining work but in many other facets of life. Numerous organizations and non-profits work tirelessly to improve quality of life and opportunities for these men and women and the vast majority of consumers support those efforts.

Therein lies the opportunity. Businesses, hiring supervisors, managers, and others may avoid hiring certain men and women with disabilities simply because they don’t want the hassle of potentially added expenses for them to make modifications or purchase equipment specifically designed to offers this new employee the tools he or she needs to perform their job, but it can actually be a boon to their company.

How hiring people with disabilities is beneficial for business.

Every year, consumers spend hundreds of billions of dollars on products and services. Some focus only on finding the cheapest prices, but the majority actually care about what a business does, what it’s practices are, and how it treats its employees.

When a company sets out to hire more people with disabilities, they not only gain valued and often more loyal employees, but goodwill among their target consumer base.

People want to support businesses that share their values and giving people with disabilities are fair chance at employment is one of those opportunities. That goodwill leads to word of mouth support and that is one of the most powerful marketing strategies in the world today.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

Why Employ Disabled People?

Its worth regularly reminding ourselves of the real value that disabled people bring to our organisations. There have been recent mutterings about disabled people being “not worth” the minimum wage, which sends out the opposite message to reality – that disabled employees are a positive asset to any workplace.

Organisations who have employed disabled people before are almost always keen to do so again. Those that haven’t can be wary of employing us. They fear that we will be unproductive, have high levels of sickness absence, we might leave if we can’t cope with the work, and we might be a health and safety hazard. And we might cost them a fortune in providing “reasonable adjustments”. I can understand why these fears might put employers off us, if these fears were based on reality.

However, they are just myths. Much research has been carried out around disability and employment over the years and in different countries, and they all come up with similar findings*. This research suggests that:

  • disabled employees on average are just as productive as our non-disabled colleagues
  • disabled employees generally have significantly less time off sick
  • disabled employees have fewer workplace accidents
  • disabled people stay in our jobs longer
  • disabled people bring additional qualities (such as persistence, problem-solving, innovation, determination, creativity) that we have had to develop to navigate our way around a world not designed for us
  • disabled people bring inside intelligence into the “purple pound” – estimated at over £200 billion a year in the UK
  • having a workforce which reflects the public they serve gives that public confidence in those services
  • people prefer to buy their goods and services from organisations who employ disabled people
  • people prefer to work for organisations which are inclusive and accessible and look after their staff – so they attract the best talent
  • some disabled people bring specific additional skills (e.g. many people on the autistic spectrum are good at work which requires attention to detail or visual thinking)
  • a diverse workforce makes better decisions by tapping into different points of view

On that basis, employers in both the public and private sectors should be paying a premium for disabled staff, not paying us less!

So, if you are looking for productive, loyal, creative and dedicated staff then you need to consider the talent pool of disabled people.

 

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

*If you would like the sources of this research, please email me at janeh@evenbreak.co.uk and I will be happy to send it to you.

The Different Thinking Styles of People With Autism

Another article from candidate Will van Zwanenberg about autism and employment. His first article looked at how employers can benefit from autistic employees, and the second addressed how interviews can exclude candidates with autism. This article looks more deeply at the differences in thinking styles between people with autism and neuro-typical people, and why they matter.

Amongst the vast majority of employers, the very different cognitive, reasoning and analytical styles of autistics is not well understood or appreciated. This is terrible shame – not to say waste – because if properly utilised, these very different thinking styles that are characteristic of autism can actually be a valuable asset. It’s a key reason (amongst several others) why employers are foolish to ignore autistics.

Unlike their non-autistic (“neurotypical”) brethren, a thinking process based solely in terms of language and words is completely alien to autistics. First and foremost, they’re visual thinkers constructing fluid, evolving pictures and images in their mind’s eye as they analyse a given problem or consider a given phenomenon. The words they use to describe that which they “see” come later; often much later. It’s only after these images have stabilised – that is, have taken concrete form – that they set about the task of describing that which they visualise by utilising language. Often that “language” isn’t actually made up of words born of linguistics, but is in fact another form of language such as mathematics, computer code or music.

Autistics do this as a consequence of their need for both precision and exactitude, coupled with a recognition that language, by its very nature, is none of these things and instead is both nuanced and nebulous such it that cannot ever satisfy this need. Simply put, language can never ever describe an object, idea, concept, or argument as efficiently or accurately as an image or diagram can.

When considering a given problem or concept, many moving images will appear and disappear concurrently. To use an analogy, it’s like playing different disks in a DVD player in their imagination and so running several different films at the same time.

It’s contrary to what one might imagine, but being able to construct images like this in one’s mind is actually a very valuable skill to have in many occupations. The ability to visualise both the shape and structure of, say, a new engine component and to be able to run test simulations of it without the need to physically build the thing or model it on a computer, could be tremendously beneficial in a profession such as mechanical engineering or aeronautical design. A product or furniture designer can save thousands of pounds and many man hours if they’re able to evaluate a new product in just their mind. Equally, to be able to conceive of a new building design, to be able to evaluate others, and to be able to identify any possible flaws with it before it’s ever built, is enormously useful in architecture. Maybe this is why the renowned architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, who are both autistic, are so successful.

Visual methods of thinking, when applied to tasks or problems that are conventionally tackled in nonvisual manner, often lead to a final conclusion that much sooner and that much more efficiently. An autistic computer programmer, when tasked with creating new software will first visualise the entire program tree in their mind and then fill in the program code on each branch. This method also works in reverse however – i.e. when faced with totally new kind of problem and you don’t have any idea from outset what the solution will look like and you only have some of the data needed or the components needed to derive the answer.

With any problem they have to address, however abstract or imprecise, an autistic will formulate a general outline of the solution in their head in the form of a fuzzy, out-of-focus image. As facts or facets regarding the problem become better understood or inferences are made, it becomes ever clearer. Once a sharp image has formed, it’s then that the solution will reveal itself and its then a relatively simple matter of both describing and implementing the solution.

The process is analogous to deducing what the picture on a completed jig saw puzzle is when only some of the pieces are put together. A piece is placed in one corner, and then another, and then after about a quarter of all the pieces are in place, the autistic can determine that the puzzle has a picture of a house on it.

Precisely because of their exemplary visual cognitive skills, autistics are ideally suited for careers as:

  • Cartographers
  • Games Designers
  • Interior Designers
  • Draftsmen
  • Artists
  • Graphic Designers
  • Physicists
  • Astronomers
  • Engineers
  • Mechanics
  • Film Makers
  • Surgeons
  • Air Traffic Controllers

Employers should forgo their communication difficulties in order to foster this natural talent. Ironically, the very skills that autistics excel at are, more often than not, the very same skills employers find hardest to find people with. Why? Because in their ignorance, they’re overlooking autistics and are instead are focusing on what they can’t do rather than what they can.

William van Zwanenberg © May 2016

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

Employers Need Autistic Employees to Fuel Innovation

Evenbreak has enlisted an expert to write about the barriers to employment faced by candidates with neurological conditions. Will van Zwanenberg has exceptional attributes in the fields of law and technology, but has found that most recruitment processes are incompatible with his reality of living with the double whammy of both Asperger’s and Dyslexia, and so employers are unable to access his talent. This, the first of three articles he has written for us, explains why employers should be exploring this particular pool of talent.

Some call it acknowledging neurological diversity, others see it as autism’s fight back. Whatever the reason, people diagnosed as being “on the autistic spectrum” are increasingly in demand by employers seeking a competitive advantage from autistic workers more used to being considered disabled than special. The reason being that employers are coming to realise that far from being a burden, autistics do in fact have many innate talents that are a positive asset for many companies which serve to distinguish them from their non-autistic peers.

Expressing a belief that “innovation comes from the edges”, German computer software giant SAP launched a recruitment drive in 2013 to attract people with autism to join it as software testers. It did so in the belief that autistics are, as a consequence of their neurology, ideally suited for such jobs. It has since spread to include all its offices worldwide. A year later, U.S. home financing firm Freddie Mac advertised a second round of paid internships aimed specifically at autistic students or new graduates.

These multinationals both say they hope to harness the unique talents of autistic people as well as giving people previously marginalized in the workforce a chance to flourish in a job.

The notion that autism bestows specific advantages upon those affected by it may be controversial, but it is nonetheless true. Irrespective of where you stand on the question of whether autism is in fact an impairment or a disability, what is indisputable is that autistics exhibit a qualitative advantage over non-autistics in terms their social interaction as manifested by a majority or all of the following traits:

  1. peer relationships characterised by absolute loyalty and impeccable dependability which are free of sexist, “ageist”, or culturalist biases;
  2. an ability to regard others at “face value”;
  3. speaking one’s mind irrespective of social context or adherence to personal beliefs;
  4. an ability to pursue a personal theory or perspective despite conflicting evidence;
  5. consideration of details; spending time discussing a topic that may not be of primary interest;
  6. listening without continual judgement or assumption;
  7. interested primarily in significant contributions to conversation; preferring to avoid ritualistic small talk or socially trivial statements and superficial conversation;
  8. seeking sincere, positive, genuine friends with an unassuming sense of humour

Moreover, they present with a social language that is characterized by at least three of the following:

  1. a determination to seek the truth;
  2. conversation free of hidden meaning or agenda;
  3. an advanced vocabulary and interest in words;
  4. an advanced use of pictorial metaphor.

Although it is always difficult to generalise, there are areas where people with an autism may excel. These include:

  • tasks where attention to detail and accuracy is required – e.g. research work, data input or word processing;
  • tasks involving numbers, statistics and facts – e.g. finance or accounting;
  • tasks where there is a clear procedure to follow – e.g. dealing with incoming and outgoing post, archiving, library work or filing;
  • highly structured tasks with a right and a wrong way of doing something – e.g. IT support, computer programming or systems testing;
  • spotting patterns or errors in data that are invisible to most non-autistics, making them attractive employees for software firms.

Even less gifted autistic people often have an extraordinary capacity to focus and an eye for detail that makes them very effective workers. They can excel at jobs that require precision and repetition, such as updating databases, stocking shelves, organising libraries or tinkering with broken cars.

It’s foolish to ignore such people. New ways of thinking often lead to discoveries that consequently discard their outdated predecessors. Similarly, the change from seeing autism as a disability to a person with unusual skills and abilities, holds interesting implications and opportunities. It could result in employers rethinking their responses and rescuing a missed opportunity to take advantage of the contribution autistics make to culture and knowledge.

Will van Zwanenberg © 18 April 2016

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

Infograph: Why diversity in staff can improve business performance

It is estimated that over one billion people in the world suffer from a disability and that of this one billion, between 110 and 190 million have difficulty in functioning. The rate of disability continues to increase due to ageing population and an increase in chronic health conditions. While many persons with disabilities are of working age and available for work, the figures for persons with disabilities that are unemployed are incredibly high.

This infographic from Burning Nights aims to increase awareness on the plight faced by persons with disabilities. We examine the reasonable adjustments that may be necessary in the place of employment, while also focusing on the benefits that can be attained for both the employer and employee from hiring people with disabilities.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/Evenbreak

Scope Report – Enabling Work

I was delighted to read a fascinating report produced by Scope entitled “Enabling Work: disabled people, employment and the UK economy”. Whilst we all know that employing disabled people is A Good Thing for disabled people, employers and the economy, this report explores how the world would look if more disabled people were employed.

Landman Economics have modelled the economic impact of a sustained increase in the rate of employment amongst disabled people between now and 2030. This report explores their findings as to what this impact might be and points to some of the actions which could enable such an increase.

Some of the conclusions reached were very positive:

  • A five percentage point rise in the employment rate amongst disabled adults below pension age would mean that, by 2030 the Excehequer would gain £6 billion and the GDP would rise by £23 billion
  • A 10 percentage point rise in the employment rate amongst disabled adults below pension age would mean that, by 2030 the Exchequer would gain £12 billion and the GDP would rise by £45 billion.

In terms of the impact of relative and absolute poverty among disabled people, the following was identified:

  • An increase in the disability employment rate would significantly reduce the rate of relative and absolute poverty among disabled people, with a five or 10 point rise in employment reducing absolute poverty by either two or three percentage points, and relative poverty by three or five points.
  • If the disability employment rate stays the same and there are no changes in how the benefits system works, wider societal changes mean by 2030 the incidence of relative poverty for disabled adults below pension age will rise from 19 percent to 30 percent, and absolute poverty will rise from 20 to 24 percent.

Clearly it is vital that any strategy for economic growth includes the growth of employment amongst those disabled people who can and wish to work. This will require a number of actions, covering four main areas, which are outlined in the report:

  • Employer attitudes
  • Improving job retention – government interventions
  • Personalised employment support
  • Disability, localism and growth

The report states, “The actions which can be taken are many and diverse. More important than any individual step is the recognition that the untapped potential of the disabled labour market is vast. Disabled people must be at the heart of future plans to develop Britain’s workforce and grow our economy.”

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak

Why Evenbreak is a Living Wage employer

Living Wage week begins next Sunday (2nd November), and I thought it might be useful to talk about why being a Living Wage employer is so important to us at Evenbreak.

There has been discussion recently from a number of prominent figures around whether some disabled people are “worth the minimum wage”. Whether or not their comments have been misunderstood, or taken out of context, the message they send is baffling. If the law states that all workers should be paid at least the minimum wage, by what criteria do we break that law for some of our citizens?

In my view, disabled people tend to add so much to any organisation that if anything, they should be paid a premium! We know that there is much evidence supporting the commercial business benefits that employing disabled people brings to an organisation (if you would like further information on that evidence, just email me on janeh@evenbreak.co.uk and I will send it to you). We also know that living costs for most disabled people are higher than those for non-disabled people. We also know that the minimum wage doesn’t provide enough to live on, whether disabled or not, and so has to be subsidised by the tax payer through working tax credits.

Evenbreak depends on our team for its success. As a social firm, we only employ disabled people, and every member of the team is vital in contributing their skills and talents to the work we do. It would be unthinkable to pay any of them less than the Living Wage. I hear other people who run small businesses saying that paying the Living Wage is a luxury they cannot afford. Evenbreak is a small (but powerful!) not-for-profit social enterprise, currently employing four people which will rise to seven in the next few months.  So we are, by any definition, a small business, and yet we value our people enough to pay them a decent wage.

Foe example, our Data Entry Clerk, Lewis, does what many would consider to be an unskilled job. He copies jobs from the job boards of some of our clients on to the Evenbreak job board. However, it is crucial that he does this well, accurately and timely. If this part of the operation goes wrong we are letting down our clients (employers) and our customers (disabled candidates). To my knowledge, in the 19 months he has been working for us (he was 16 when he started and is now 18) he has never made a mistake and never taken a day off sick. That would have been the case whatever we had paid him – he is a very conscientious and talented young man – but I strongly feel that his vital role should be well-rewarded.

In fact, all of the Evenbreak team are conscientious, talented and loyal, and I feel that should be reflected in their pay. As a not-for-profit social enterprise we are careful with every penny we spend, and investing in our talented staff is money well-spent, in my view. The founder/director does not draw the highest salary (in terms of hourly rate) from Evenbreak – and that is fine too. Pay is known not to be the highest motivator for employees, and it certainly isn’t with the Evenbreak team, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be paid what they are worth.

Apparently, Evenbreak is not unusual in taking this view, and certainly not un-business-like. Here are some interesting facts to back this up:

  • 80% of employers noticed an increase in productivity after implementing the Living Wage
  • 75% of employees reported an increase in the quality of their work after receiving the Living Wage
  • 85% of people think that companies that can afford to pay the Living Wage should voluntarily pay the Living Wage
  • One in five people in the UK earn below the Living Wage.

For context, the UK Living Wage for outside of London is currently £7.65 per hour (£8.80 per hour within London). This will be revised next week. The UK rate is set annually by the Living Wage Foundation and calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University.

For more information, see The Living Wage website.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs/

To make a donation to Evenbreak go here – https://localgiving.com/charity/evenbreak