Written by Alex Fleming - Managing Director at Adecco Retail

There have been a lot of changes to the working practices at Sports Direct during the last week.

A review commissioned through legal advisors Reynolds Porter Chamberlain said that its working practices were closer to “that of a Victorian workhouse than that of a modern high street retailer”. The report also suggested that staff were effectively paid below the minimum wage given the required searches and punitive deductions.

Whilst it is rare for a business to be so heavily scrutinised for its practices in public, employers should see this case as an example of how it can affect their staff.

Poor working practices can severely influence a business’s ability to recruit and retain staff, and reduce the productivity of those that do remain. Employers who seek to optimise the working environment will be aware of the tangible business benefits that come with this.

In the USA, a professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, recently found that both compliments from a superior and a non-cash benefit both had a better impact on productivity than a cash bonus.

Businesses who are known to have or can demonstrate a positive working culture and environment are likely to attract more candidate applications and be able to choose the correct fit more easily. Company review website Glassdoor recently announced the employers offering the best work/life balance in the UK, according to their own employees. This will prove a powerful draw for candidates over the coming months. Apple, American Express and John Lewis were all expected names inside the top 20, but Screwfix at number 5 might surprise some people – not their employees however.

Alex Fleming says:
Employers who value their staff and treat them with respect will always see the benefits – in many different ways. You can expect higher retention rates, more productivity, greater engagement and generally a better working environment. Ultimately this will create a more profitable, sustainable company in the long run.