Good Work for All: Influencing Team Heathrow companies

As part of their flagship goal to make Heathrow a great place to work, the Heathrow Employment & Skills Academy continues to help businesses operating at the airport with recruiting and retaining local residents. To meet its goal of making Heathrow a great place to work, the Academy set about building the business case among its 400 Team Heathrow businesses for Good Work for All.

Building on the success of the Heathrow Employment & Skills Academy to recruit a diverse workforce for careers at the airport, and as a Living Wage employer itself, Heathrow Airport was in a strong position to lead by example and encourage its suppliers and commercial partners to do the same. The Academy recognised the need for leadership, a compelling narrative, and business case to present to inspire Team Heathrow employers to take action to improve the working lives of their employees. Candidate feedback had highlighted pay and shift patterns as concerns in some areas and some Team Heathrow businesses were experiencing high turnover.

Evidence gathering
Business in the Community (BITC) met with stakeholders at Heathrow Employment and Skills Academy responsible for partnerships, training and development, community engagement, employer account management, recruitment, and communication. Using the Good Work for All action plan, we jointly looked at the three aspects of good work and how these applied to different businesses; discussed barriers to, and drivers for change and identified companies to take part in interviews to provide a clear picture of the challenges and opportunities in the context of Heathrow.

A review of their existing data highlighted the following trends:

  • Hourly rates for roles paying less than London Living Wage compared poorly with equivalent jobs in Central London (for those employers not in Heathrow’s direct supply chain)
  • Taking out apprenticeship roles, only 37% of 200 roles analysed paid the London Living Wage
  • Most of the roles were offered full time, with only 8% of roles advertised as part time
  • There was a clear pay gap between full and part time roles
  • Shifts tended to have earlier and later finishes than those in Central London
  • There were additional barriers to work in order to maintain aviation security standards.

BITC also identified several metrics which weren’t currently collected which could have been used to present a more robust business case. These included the time to recruit for roles by sector, data on why applicants chose not to continue with an application, feedback on why candidates had chosen to work at Heathrow, and the percentage of candidates moving between roles at Heathrow as opposed to off site.

Interviews with five Team Heathrow businesses from sectors including, catering, financial services and entertainment helped to shape recommendations for change.

Influencing action
The Good Work for All framework and methodology will be used to engage several Team Heathrow businesses as forerunners piloting Good Work principles, such as paying the London Living Wage, offering more flexible working (in the form of family-friendly shifts and team-based flexible working) and creating better progression pathways.

Heathrow has also set out some broader commitments in its respond to the recommendations from the Skills Taskforce, chaired by Lord Blunkett.

Top tips for businesses
For some businesses, the biggest impact they can make goes beyond their own workforce and involves influencing suppliers and partners.

Talking directly to these employers and encouraging sharing of workforce data can help to build a shared understanding of the case for change. Think about who to engage, at what level of seniority, in order to influence change.

While individuals in a business may be moved by the social case for change, it is return on investment information and the business case that will help them to make the case across their business. Be flexible to changing timeframes and priorities, set realistic expectations and keep lines of communication open.