Posted: 26/08/2021

Mental health case study: ‘Even if you’re only interested in profit, you should still treat your team well’

Paul Hargreaves
CEO, Cotswold Fayre & Flourish Foodhall

It’s appalled me how badly some employers treat their people – it makes no sense. Even if you’re only interested in profit, you should still treat your team well because they’re going to be more productive and make you more money.

You get employers who complain when the minimum wage goes up. Why wouldn’t you want to pay your people enough to live on?

We do a lot of things at Cotswold Fayre and Flourish to look after our staff: we pay over the Living Wage, we offer long holidays which increase with service and we run things like wellness sessions. 

However, the main thing is creating a culture where it’s okay to be yourself at work and you’re enjoying the job. One of the things I’m most proud about in our employee survey is the answers we get to the question, ‘do you enjoy coming to work?’. The lowest score we’ve had on that is 94%. 

Having that good, open workplace culture is key to looking after wellbeing.

The one challenge we have currently is maintaining that culture, having almost doubled the number of people who work for us by opening Flourish. It’s a work in progress, but there are encouraging signs.

As an example, a new member of staff had their first payday with us last week, but prior to that, because he’d been paid a pittance at his last job, he’d run out of money, and he was walking miles to work because he couldn’t pay his bus fare. A senior team member found out about it and gave him a bike, which I thought was a lovely way of demonstrating a caring culture. With no prompting from anyone else, he knew it was the right thing to do, so he did it.

You can say you want the culture a certain way, but if it’s not being demonstrated by the directors and managers, it’s a waste of time. The strongest thing you can do is demonstrate that you mean what you say.

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