How a socially responsible recruitment firm is driving staff retention

SR2 is a socially responsible recruitment agency proving that investing in employee wellbeing is good for business. With offices in Bristol and London, SR2 connects the best and brightest in tech & digital talent with innovative organisations.

Not only are they one of just 8 B Corp certified recruitment agencies in the UK, they scored over 100 points, which earned them the rare classification of an “outstanding” B Corp.

CEO, Chris Sheard, credits the fact that he built the business with social responsibility at the heart. They donate 5% of their profits to charity, giving away over £200,000 and 1,200+ hours of volunteering in the first five years of the business. And, of course, their “people before profit” mission extends to their employees too. 

Investing in Financial Wellbeing

“Recruitment as an industry isn’t renowned for looking after people in the way that I think a business should,” Chris says. SR2 looks at wellbeing holistically – with support across physical, mental and financial wellbeing. When it comes to financial wellbeing, Chris saw an opportunity to invest in financial guidance that would build better money habits for his staff. 

“Back in the early days of my career, the culture was always one that encouraged you to spend money as quickly as you were making it. I assume the thinking was the quicker you spend it, the quicker you need to repeat the process all over again and do some more work.”

Chris’s desire to build a difficult culture around money led him to Octopus Money. “Had I had access to money coaching back when I was starting in the industry, without question I would be in a better position financially.”

After mixed feedback from employees on a previous benefit, SR2 were looking for a new financial wellbeing solution that would give employees both personalised and impartial guidance.

“What we’ve seen since launching is that whether you’re in operations or sales, whether you’re a trainee or further in your career, the coaching is tailored to you. People earning less are getting just as much from it as those with higher earnings.”

Real, Tangible Impact

SR2 covers the cost for all of their employees to work with a money coach and build a personal plan tailored to their situation and goals. And the employee uptake has been phenomenal – 89% of employees met with their coach!

But what’s more valuable to Chris is that he’s seeing the tangible impact in his employees’ lives. “One employee has been saving for a house. He thought he was at least a year away from the house he wanted. But after 2 sessions and the coach building a plan, he realised they could start looking now. If he hadn’t had that conversation he would never have known.”

In an industry with higher than average employee turnover, the impact of SR2’s culture and benefits like Octopus Money is clear: “Last year, we grew our headcount by 100% and had 100% retention. We measure employee engagement and it’s over 90%. And of course, this has a positive impact on the clients we engage with every day.”

What’s his advice for anyone considering how to support the financial wellbeing of their team? “You need to create an environment where people are comfortable talking about money because if you don’t, it will be a worry for people. We all need to put these conversations on the table.”

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