Discrimination? Never! A success story from one of Scotland’s popular destinations.
We can all think of companies who take advantage of lower paid workers who are often women, and where women struggle to get balance work and family life, are paid less or do not get promoted to senior positions. I for one get a lot of enquiries about all sorts of subtle and not so subtle discrimination issues, many of them which are justified.
But it is heartening to know that there are many companies out there who do quite the opposite. They promote women to senior positions, give flexibility around their child care, maternity and other family commitments, and generally look after all their staff in a caring way.
One of my clients does just this: Loch Leven’s Larder www.lochlevenslarder.com. Their story is that Robin and Emma Niven were vegetable farmers, but had become frustrated at the lack of locally grown produce available in the local shops. Raising a young family, they also felt that there was a lack of family-friendly venues in the local area serving healthy, quality food.
In 2005 they decided to start selling the food they grow directly to local customers and offering them a chance to taste it from their café. They are now a multi award-winning dining and retail destination, and people flock to their restaurant café and shop from all across Scotland.
Their family-friendly ethos is not just about customers though. Emma employs many working mothers and starts from their point of view of what they need to balance work and family: flexibility is a given. She believes in promoting on merit and it so happens that her senior team is now mainly women. There are also excellent partnerships with local schools, and many of the younger local workforce have worked there during the holidays or at weekends/evenings. They also support local charities, for example by paying the 5p plastic bag levy themselves to donate to a local hospice (Rachel House).
Loch Leven’s Larder is not alone. There are many other companies out there with excellent values, focussed on the local community and understanding of their workforce. Not a discriminatory thought in sight. Let’s have more of them please.
(c) Ben Thornber, Thornber HR Law