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'Bow and Arrow - The Ghosts of Sherwood' at the Epstein Theatre
Photographs by Patrick Trollope.

ON Friday, 27 May 2022, we had the privilege of attending the premier of City Theatre's latest show, entitled:- 'Bow and Arrow: The Ghosts of Sherwood,' which was performed at the Epstein Theatre, in Liverpool. A show that was so hot, it even set off the Fire Alarm. Yes, it really did go off in the interval..! Fire alarms aside, it was a fantastic night. Considering the show was only on for just 1 night, at this venue, and was produced on a shoestring budget, this was not lacking in substance. This performance did have a few issues, but overall, the acting and script was very entertaining. It was definitely an adult show, that would upset some, but nearly all those who attended seemed to fully enjoy it. This was an extremely good starting point for the theatre group, who hope to develop this show and take on the road. We look forward to seeing more about this show and also other shows from this Theatre company in the future. For more information about the Theatre Company, please go to:- CityEntertainmentGroup.Co.UK and for information about Liverpool's Epstein Theatre, please visit:- EpsteinTheatre.Co.UK.

1 in 4 Northern SME's under resourced amid ongoing labour crisis - WorkLife Small Business Monitor

EMPLOYEE retention challenges have left many SMEs in the North of England under staffed, new analysis by WorkLife by OpenMoney has found. 26% of smaller firms in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside surveyed by WorkLife as part of its Spring 2022 Small Business Monitor claimed to be under-resourced from a staffing point of view. Among those facing resourcing constraints, the key drivers were employees leaving to pursue new opportunities (31%) and better pay and benefits (28%).

Other contributors included:- financial challenges (23%), labour shortages (19%), slowing customer demand (19%) and employees not wanting to return post-furlough (22%).

With 46% of respondents in the Region experiencing challenges in regard to employee retention at a broader level, resourcing challenges could become more prevalent. Small businesses struggling to retain staff said the key issue was the cost of rewarding and incentivising employees in line with their expectations (28%), along with a perception that competitors are offering more attractive pay and benefits (28%) and low staff morale (31%).

There also clear indicators staff expect more flexible working arrangements Post Pandemic, with some respondents acknowledging staff don't want to return to the physical workplace (25%) and also difficulties with keeping employees engaged remotely (25%). 21% of firms noted that employees still had concerns around job insecurity, while 16% cited a lack of understanding around how employees want to be incentivised.

It's not just holding onto employees that could compound resourcing issues, with 23% of North of England respondents citing challenges enacting recruitment plans. Among those facing problems, the most significant contributor was finding quality talent with relevant experience (55%), followed by a perceived inability to reward and incentivise employees in line with their expectations (41%) and meet salary demands (36%). 33% of businesses in the Region are worried about competing with their peers for talent.

Rob Marshall, Head of Product and Proposition at WorkLife by OpenMoney commented:- "These figures paint a clear picture of the maze of complexities smaller businesses are faced with right now in recruiting, retaining, and rewarding employees. While employers are aware of the issues, after a tough 2 years it's unsurprising to see cost coming up as a key concern when thinking about their ability to overcome them. This strongly implies that smaller firms need to be exploring more cost-effective means of rewarding employees if they are to recruit and retain a team who can help them successfully see through the months ahead. Having an attractive rewards package in place doesn't always call for significant - and permanent - financial outlay from the company, but rather support, flexibility and opportunity that fits with employees' individual needs. Showing that you're prepared to go above and beyond to keep valued employees won't go unnoticed by talented individuals who might be thinking about whether or not they want to stick around."

WorkLife's Small Business Monitor is based on research carried out by 3Gem among 250 senior financial and HR decision makers in SME companies with:- 5 to 250 employees across the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside. Fieldwork for the Spring report took place between:- 9 March to 17 March 2022.


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