Guest Blog: Jane Boulton, Axminster Tools and Machinery
Axminster Tools & Machinery is a family business that believes paying the real Living Wage is good for business, good for staff and good for society. We became an accredited Living Wage Employer in November 2013 because we recognised staff skill sets should be valued, regardless of our rural location; people’s salaries should not be based on a lower scale because they live in an area where wages are expected to be low. We wanted to secure our future and it was and still is important to continue to attract talent and expertise that is both vibrant and skilled and create a workplace where staff are remunerated according to their skills and experience. Because staff feel valued, they work harder and are more engaged in the company, therefore productivity and sales are increased; all staff take ownership and want to be the best. We’re proud to be one of only three Living Wage Employers in Axminster because we believe a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.
In 2016 Axminster Tools & Machinery won the Living Wage Champion Awards for the South West region for celebrating and championing the Living Wage in Axminster and Devon; we were delighted to win the award in recognition of our leadership in promoting the real Living Wage, cementing our belief that we are a quality employer. We were invited up to London to showcase our award; we talked to MPs and other employers about the Living Wage, what it meant to us, and more importantly, how it impacted on our employees.
Paying the real Living Wage is part of the package we offer employees as a responsible employer. We put our staff at the heart of our business by ensuring we complement fair wages with other initiatives to tackle in-work poverty. These include a non-profitable canteen, a well-being programme which include free health assessments, flu jabs, reduced gym membership, and a very beneficial 12 week full sick pay scheme. The company also runs initiatives that can help employees build on their salaries such as a green travel scheme and a “refer a friend” scheme. More recently, the company has introduced a reduction in the working week without loss of pay; this has been most beneficial to staff supporting their work-life balance.
Building on these initiatives and paying the real Living Wage brings many business benefits to the organisation. Our employees are more motivated, engaged with our customers and passionate about the products we sell. We also stand out as a unique business that can continue to grow as we have done for over 40 years.
Jane Boulton, Human Resources & H&S Director, Axminster Tools & Machinery