Best Places to Work – championing good growth

One of 2023 Best Places to Work in Cornwall, The Peloton

Seven companies from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were chosen in May this year and now programme organisers are looking for a second cohort to award the accolade.

New services at The Growth Hub include business grant funding investment which creates a positive outcome for the local economy and community as well as contributing to at least one “Good Growth Principles”.

At the heart of the principles is a desire to encourage businesses to move beyond best practice and prioritise consideration on the wider impacts their business will have on society and the environment.

Kirsty Miles-Musgrave, Growth Hub investment operations manager, believes businesses working towards or following Good Growth Principles could bolster workforces, the environment, and the community around them – and may also help with applications to the Best Places to Work 2024 programme.

She says: “Our website sets out the principles which is part of the wider Good Growth Fund Programme investment plan for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. There is a variety of links and helpful information you can use to take your business to the next level supporting your growth in a ‘good’ way. They include the environment, diversity in the workplace and supporting both younger and older employees.

“I believe the principles can offer a wealth of opportunities for businesses in the county and Isles of Scilly to make their companies great places to work.”

A recent survey, conducted by Cornwall Council, revealed people living in Cornwall are ‘more concerned about climate change than the rest of the UK’. The survey report ‘Cornwall Council behaviour change and engagement programme – survey of residents’ also showed ‘residents overwhelmingly back climate action’.

Cornwall Council officials have been emphasising the need to consider climate change and in 2019, declared a climate emergency. A report was prepared outlining work needed to become carbon neutral. Officials say the challenge to reach carbon neutrality is an ‘ongoing conversation’ with all who live in the county.

As part of the Best Places to Work Programme, employees will be asked to complete a questionnaire on where they work. One question will ask: ‘Does your organisation promote any sustainable or “green” practices?’

Kirsty believes the environment is an important factor to consider when running a businesses. She says: “It may help applicants to look at the ‘Nature Recovery’ Principle. Here it offers businesses ideas on becoming more sustainable with examples such as installing bee bricks, creating wildflower areas, and using nature friendly lighting.

“Other considerations could include how employees travel to work, how goods are transported and how waste is treated.”

Another Good Growth Principle, and factor in the search for the Best Places to Work 2024 programme is equality and inclusivity. The employee survey for the Business Cornwall programme will ask: “Does your organisation employ any formal programmes and/or practices to actively recruit and/or retain an aging workforce?”

Kirsty says: “Another principle is ‘support for the ageing population to remain economically active’. This encourages businesses to explore how they can use the experience of the older members of their workforce.

“We also have a Good Growth Principle on the importance of helping those under 30 years old get their first footing into businesses, which is important too. “It is also significant to recognise ways of adjusting your business to facilitate the recruitment of retention of those who disclose a disability or long-term health condition.”

Kirsty says The Equality Act 2010 lists the requirements businesses must follow to avoid discrimination, but more can be done. She adds: “Going above and beyond requirements could see businesses stand out from the crowd when applying for the programme.”

Business Cornwall’s Best Places to Work 2024, is supported by the Growth Hub and conducted in association with Best Companies Group. The programme is seeking Cornwall’s most progressive employers (15+ employees).

Registration deadline: December 15, 2023

This article first appeared in the November 2023 issue of Business Cornwall magazine.