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Published: 14 Jul 2017

Inspiring Scotland, Winner 2017, Best Third Sector Employer

  • Uses flexibility to compete with the salaries offered by larger organisations
  • Flexibility is proactively offered and is the norm
  • Employees are encouraged to suggest new ways of working

The judges were impressed by the way Inspiring Scotland uses time to compete with private sector organisations offering bigger salaries. Its flexible culture attracts and retains high calibre staff.

Flexible working is at the heart of Inspiring Scotland’s business – 87 per cent of employees work flexibly, including three out of five members of the senior executive team.

The leadership team all have children, and understand that when work-life balance causes family pressures, employees are less positive, productive and likely to go the extra mile for the organisation.

The organisation pro-actively encourages staff to consider flexible working. It offers home working, reduced hours, compressed hours, sabbaticals and non-standard working hours to all and encourages staff to suggest new ideas. One staff suggestion for enhanced wellbeing and work life balance was to introduce a cycle scheme. A third of staff have now participated in the scheme.

It is accepted, and expected, that many colleagues are only in the office one or two days a week. Flexible working is the norm rather than the exception, and the times that people are in the office are relaxed and focused.

Enhanced maternity pay provides an extra £100 per week in weeks seven to 39 of the maternity period. All keeping in touch days are paid, in addition to the statutory and enhanced maternity pay entitlement. Paternity leave is paid and shared parental leave is enhanced in the same way as maternity leave. All employees are encouraged to take the time they need.

As a third sector organisation Inspiring Scotland is unable to compete with the salaries offered by commercial organisations, but its staff-centric culture enables it to attract a calibre of colleague that salary alone could not. The majority have taken pay cuts of 30 – 60 per cent to join the organisation, helped significantly by the flexible working culture. Staff retention rates are significantly above the sector norm.

“Inspiring Scotland understood my domestic commitments prior to employing me, and have supported my flexible approach to working. There is the same expectation of high performance but without a restrictive ‘9 to 5’ view of a working day. This has provided me with the ability to not only support my children appropriately but to enjoy a challenging and rewarding job.”