Biffa secured the People and Purpose Award for its work in helping colleagues see the link between what they do each day and its purpose as a sustainable waste management company. We take a closer look at its winning entry and those of our other finalists.
Biffa is one of the UK’s leading waste management companies and much of its business activity is centred on environmental sustainability. While its people strategy has always clearly reflected this, it wanted to go a step further and help its 9,000 colleagues see the link between what they do each day and its purpose as a sustainable waste management company.
In early 2020 it launched a communications campaign – little acts, big impacts – to highlight its purpose among staff. The executive team toured the UK on employee roadshows to spread the message that “whatever you do, in whatever part of the business, the little acts you do day in day out, are part of creating a bigger impact on society”. Following this, learning sessions were held to help demonstrate how individual roles were aligned to the firm’s overall purpose.
Sensing that staff were becoming more engaged in its overall purpose, it set up the Biffa Involvement Group among largely frontline workers. The group regularly meets with the executive team to propose ways to reinforce its purpose and values.Recognising that many employees did not have regular access to Biffa’s intranet, it launched an employee app – Biffa Beat – that can be downloaded to any device. This came into its own during the lockdown, where photos of thank you notes and gifts were shared as the public thanked waste management staff for their work . This prompted the launch of its HiVis Heroes campaign to celebrate individuals’ achievements.
Biffa has seen its employee engagement score soar to 59% – its highest ever. Asked whether they felt the company was succeeding in keeping employees informed 71% said yes, compared to 51% the previous year.
Judges said that Biffa had made waste management “sexy” and had brought meaning to the experience it offers its staff.
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects customers when authorised financial services firms fail. Although its purpose is clear, it wanted to develop a multi-faceted approach that would enable employees to understand and feel excited their personal connection to customers, strategy and core purpose, as well as ensure they feel motivated nurtured in reaching their personal and professional goals.
Initiatives to reinforce these goals include a series of virtual workshops that support team and individual performance; regular messaging around its Covid Response Programme and commitment to delivering the best possible service for customers in unprecedented times; and placing a strong emphasis on vulnerable customers and ensuring that staff were equipped to work with them by offering training and support for case handlers who dealt with difficult or upsetting cases.
To cultivate a sense of pride, FSCS regularly shares customer stories, satisfaction scores and feedback through people briefings, a weekly CEO message, monthly Customer Shout sessions and Customer Focus Bulletins.
It also aims to be a force for good, offering all staff two days’ volunteering leave per year and partnering with Full Frontiers – an organisation that helps disadvantaged young people – with employees signing up to act as coaches. Feeling strongly about its environmental responsibilities and reducing carbon emissions, it will also be launching a colleague network to ensure everyone can be involved.
Its latest people survey revealed that 87% felt working at FSCS allowed them to make a positive difference, while 89% felt inspired by the mission and purpose of the organisation. Ninety-one per cent felt proud to work for FSCS.
New Street Consulting Group
As a business with many service lines across multiple sectors and locations, New Street Consulting Group wanted to ensure all staff were connected to its mission: “enabling individuals and organisations to fulfil their full potential”.
It made a significant investment in its infrastructure to connect employees to the purpose, including a rebrand that united all divisions under one umbrella. The new identity was launched via a virtual event and ongoing internal communications across a variety of channels, including newsletters and competitions.
It provides opportunities for personal and professional development, including external qualifications, mentoring programmes, and peer-to-peer support. It also helps people find purpose outside of their roles by encouraging “side hustles”, volunteering during working hours, and raising money for charity.
NSCG says it has a culture where employees are truly connected with its mission, which has resulted in a happy and engaged workforce who deliver excellent results for clients and candidates.The company has dedicated internal resources for charitable diversity and inclusion programmes. These include a graduate challenge for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, allowing them to gain real-world experience to add to their CVs; and the People of Colour Accelerate Leadership Programme which is delivered in partnership with the National Housing Federation and One Housing and aims to increase BAME leadership in the social housing sector.
Since 2016, Now Teach has recruited 500 career changers to become secondary school teachers in shortage subjects including maths, science, and modern foreign languages.
All of its employees have a deep understanding of the organisation’s purpose, which it credits with keeping them engaged. A recent survey found 100% of employees were proud to work at Now Teach, with many feeling confident about leadership decision-making.
During the pandemic, staff helped develop its virtual response which included events and resources such as online Teach Meets and school insight videos when schools were closed, and helped to introduce new ways of working with the Department for Education, training providers and schools.
It has developed a set of KPIs on attraction, retention and engagement. Reports to the Department for Education and the trustee board only include KPIs that are linked to societal need.
One of its key objectives has been to improve equality, diversity and inclusion internally and externally. It introduced a suite of EDI training in 2020 for employees and teachers to gain a deep understanding of the issues, including unconscious bias training.
Now Teach was included in Escape the City’s Top 100 employers. The award looked at six key criteria to assess organisations on their impact, planet, mission, people innovation and B-corp. It claims to have improved both the age and gender spread of teachers in the profession, with most Now Teachers being male with an average age of 47, compared to most teachers who are young women.
Offploy is a social enterprise that helps organisations realise the societal and commercial benefits of employing ex-offenders.
The company leads by example and more than half of its 19 employees have been in prison, including its founder Jacob Hill. Often, an Offploy representative is the first time an employer has knowingly interacted with someone with a conviction. The meeting of targets are celebrated, but how staff embody Offploy’s values is equally important, as well as the feedback received from partners and candidates.
Offploy’s employees are united in its mission and are often driven by personal experience, getting value out of their work in supporting candidates and their probation officers to become “work ready”. This includes a structured programme of building confidence in applying for roles and interviewing, to providing support ahead of their start date and on payday.
Candidates know their experience is understood by their case workers, who become trusted mentors. It has so far worked with more than 1,000 candidates and 50 employers, widening their talent pools and allowing them to access skilled individuals.
The organisation is currently developing a Glassdoor-inspired platform whereby ex-offenders can rate recruitment processes. Offploy says this should hold businesses accountable and assist Offploy in working towards a more inclusive experience for applicants of all backgrounds.