When George Osborne introduced the Living Wage in his Summer Budget.
there were sharp intakes of breath from a variety of industry sectors. Not least from my own sector, which has the privilege of supporting older people in retirement and care.
But as successful SMEs have known for many years, and incidentally have been paying close to if not the Living Wage, a committed and long-serving workforce enables us to adapt, grow and sustain our businesses in both good times and bad.
Small Business Saturday last weekend reinforced the importance of SMEs to the economy of Great Britain. I certainly hadn’t appreciated that there are 5.3million small businesses operating in the UK and that we make up 99.3% of all UK private sector business.
We are truly the engine room of the UK.
To survive and thrive, we know that we have to innovate, invest in new products, develop our people and continue to provide outstanding customer service. That’s not going to be possible without a fully engaged workforce. It is a commercial imperative not only to reward fairly but also to develop our people so that they have real autonomy, mastery and a sense of purpose at work (ref: Daniel Pink “Drive” http://www.danpink.com/drive/) Living Wage is merely the hygiene factor and part of the jigsaw with which to build dynamic teams.
We spend most of our waking lives at work. We’re all looking to achieve different things out of life. What we know is that together we are stronger. So lets grasp the opportunity that the Living Wage decision brings: reengage with our workforce, demonstrate that we truly value their input and expect and encourage their ideas and energy to drive our businesses forward.
The next generation wants more than “a job”. Lets make sure we deliver – we will all win.
Sara McKee, Founder & Market Innovation Director
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Sara is on a mission to revolutionise the lifestyle choices for older people, abolishing the current institutional models and building homes where love matters. Her extensive experience in market innovation and business transformation for start-ups, small to medium enterprises and large corporates makes her a force to be reckoned with. Combine this with her unbeatable connections and ability to influence policy through roles like Chair of the Centre for Social Justice’s Older Age Review, and there’s no doubt that Evermore will become the beacon for innovative services for older people.