Future Path applied for Charter accreditation in May 2015 - as a micro-business at the time, we opted for “Commitment”, the most basic level of accreditation. This allowed us to work towards gaining the Chartermark, without needing to evidence the types of formal procedures that are more befitting of medium and large sized employers.
As a result of an initial situation analysis, we found that we were already meeting over 70% of the assessment criteria, although without formal evidence to prove it. We gathered some evidence just for the sake of proof (e.g. photographs of refreshment areas), whereas other evidence gathering also proved useful to the business in the longer term. For instance, we already involved staff in deciding the work environment, but formalising this into a wellbeing strategy has led to every staff meeting now including a dedicated wellbeing agenda item.
All of the 30% that we weren’t meeting proved to be useful to us in evolving our organisation. For instance, we have introduced fresh fruit at weekly team meetings, conduct daily “how are you?” conversations and now have a formal policy for contacting staff whilst they are absent from work.
We found the portfolio gathering and the assessment process to be robust, giving a sense of “earning” the accreditation, rather than just being given it. We have also committed to using the framework to help us as we grow – we will work towards Achievement level once we get to 50 staff, and Excellence when we arrive at 100. We are sure that the framework will be useful in helping us grow, as the difference between the three levels is significant.
Overall, we are proud to hold the Charter and glad to have gone on the accreditation journey. As a result, prospective staff can see that we are focussed on their well-being, current staff have a say in how we support them and external partners are reassured that staff’s health is a vital factor to us as an organisation.