Most children in poverty live in households where at least one adults works. Should businesses go above and beyond their legal obligations, to help those suffering “in work poverty”? Should commercial organisations be concerned with the wider community as-well as individuals who work for them? Some business models such as Community Interest Companies (“CICs”) are set up specifically to generate benefits for the community but the CIC model is still relatively new. As we all know, more traditional business models are primarily about generating profit. Is it possible for Business owners to strike a balance between doing their bit whilst maintaining commerciality?

The introduction of the National Living Wage is part of the governments stated aim of “moving to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society”. The government believes that “now is the right time to take action to ensure low wage workers can take a greater share of the gains from growth”.

Kingfisher HR were recently received an invitation to attend a round-table event hosted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Britain Thinks. The purpose was to consider how Employers can help build a more prosperous society and help tackle poverty. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation will be making recommendations to the government in the autumn. Issues that came up for discussion included potential abuse of zero hours contracts, increased access to flexible working, workforce development, encouraging staff to take up auto-enrolment rather than opting out and successful delivery of apprenticeship training. The focus was on the role which employers can play in reducing poverty. Participants also considered the benefits of a positive work culture where staff are valued and treated well – leading to increased productivity and prosperity for all. We don’t have to look far to find evidence that helping others can lead to a greater sense of personal happiness.

Imagine then a highly motivated workforce who feel that they are part of a bigger picture and that their work is in some way contributing to their own well-being and that of others. Is that always possible? Is it more difficult for smaller organisations to achieve with their respective size and resources? “Action for happiness” have stated that “it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy.”

In a future edition of our newsletter, we are going to review case studies for creative workplace schemes which have been adopted not just by large organisations but also by small employers who have chosen to make corporate social responsibility part of their bottom line.

If you have any case studies that you would like to send to us for use in a future article (and to be used anonymously) then we would love to hear from you.

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