Engineering group IMI impressed our judging panel by demonstrating how a global company can create ‘one big team’ and connect multiple sites with a consistent culture. This award is sponsored by HSBC UK.
Operating across three central divisions – precision engineering, critical engineering and hydronic engineering – IMI has sites in 50 countries, employing more than 10,000 people. As a result, creating a positive and engaging workplace culture is a challenge.
To understand where and how the business could improve, IMI turned to its annual employee survey. It revealed that 83% of its employees were positively engaged – an impressive 10% improvement from the previous year. Yet, despite some very positive scores, some IMI sites were much more engaged than others.
The first step in overcoming this was launching the OneBigVoice survey, to guide IMI to make real tangible changes. IMI used insights from the OneBigVoice survey to roll out new initiatives across the business. There is also Facebook at Work (Workplace). Following its implementation, more than 70% of employees now hold an active account on Workplace – and the most active member is IMI CEO Roy Twite. Not only is Workplace allowing the business to share business updates and communication, but employees can also create sub-groups based on their hobbies and interests outside work, creating new communities across the organisation.
IMI Growth Hub connectsemployees from across the globe and across different sectors and specialisms – inside and outside of engineering – to collaborate and discuss new ideas to solve industry challenges. The fresh thinking bought in by the Growth Hub teams is seeing real innovation brought to life, adding real value to customers but also supporting the business on its overarching purpose to create engineering solutions for a better world.
Citipost Mail wanted to enhance its workplace culture to become an employer of choice, while maintaining its family values. Settling into a new office environment after such a long time away from the office during lockdowns was key to rebuilding the firm’s business post pandemic.
Keep updated on the Personnel Today Awards
Mixed teams were initially welcomed back through office open-days and wellness sessions where individuals were encouraged to share how they felt about returning to office and hybrid working.
The firm is confident that the majority of colleagues feel valued, and this shone through in its survey results, plus the fact that staff retention rates continue to grow with 28% of its workforce being employed by the company for over 10 years. There is a strong sense of togetherness, as people understand their roles, their purpose, and the requirements of their teams. Colleagues are encouraged to share their wellbeing status, and are free to submit suggestions at any time, either within the frameworks provided to them or via their managers.
Cornerstone helps organisations unite their people growth with business success to create work environments that inspire productivity. Building a workplace culture and employee experience, grounded on potential over performance, brings out the best in its people. The firm encourages everyone to show their authentic self at work.
The firm’s focus on mental health has led it to kick off a number of offerings, including access to wellness resources through its Fringe benefit subscription, and designated meeting-free or camera-off meeting days. A new company-wide practice has also expanded its wellness days, encouraging colleagues to take the first Friday of each month off between July and September. Career progression and flexibility is also top priority for employees. One particular initiative that launched last year which empowers internal movement is its Gig Programme, an internal talent marketplace that allows employees to explore internal opportunities to take part in short-term projects outside their department.
The company drives its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts beyond the workplace. In 2020, the firm hired its first-ever chief diversity officer to drive the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.
Cornerstone has fostered a transparent culture to not only encourage it to be upfront with employees, but to ensure they are honest with each other. The firm aims to encourage open lines of communication between employees, managers and executives through the likes of internal social media and other communication platforms.
The hospitality sector has taken hits from every angle, and at Dishoom, this is no different. During lockdown, the firm made every effort to create and maintain a strong culture while supporting its teams. At that time, all-team meeting attendance (averaging 80%), alongside team survey feedback, showed that team members were engaged, trusted the company, and were ready to come back. But inevitably, staff left the company during lockdown – in 2019, it had 1,200 team members but by 2021, it had 800.
It as essential that it should deepen and not dilute its culture. Dishoom spoke with new hires and learned that their working conditions, shared team values and connections across teams were more important now than ever – which changed its approach.
With 30+ weekly new-starters, Dishoom introduced a two-day induction on-top-of their first-week of training. This was a big investment, and meant it didn’t dilute culture by flooding its cafes with new-starters who hadn’t been immersed in the firm’s values and ways of doing things.
These culture-base-projects helped Dishoom achieve first place in hospitality on Glassdoor, and team feedback is at an all-time high.
Leaders Romans Group
Corporate property services firm Leaders Romans Group implemented new core values in March 2022 that were chosen by its people. With videos of staff championing each other, providing educational resources, webinars, speakers and podcasts, the company was able to create an inclusive working environment.
The company’s ‘The Hub’ intranet, Instagram, and even desktop wallpapers are used to weave together the workplace culture, and internal awards, like the Central Service Awards and KPI-related branch awards, play an important role too. These are about recognising top performers, keeping teams engaged and shouting about employee stars.
This year, the firm aligned its awards to its values and named the award categories Passion, Bravery, Respect, Integrity and added an additional award, Helping Hand for those who go that extra mile at work. Central Service award winners receive a glass trophy, £350 in Love2Shop vouchers and an end of year directors dinner. Branch awards were held at a hotel where colleagues received glass trophies and enjoyed a dinner and dance event with a paid overnight stay. This year award winners also had a trip to South Africa or Ibiza.
In January a Wellbeing, Diversity, Equality & Inclusion manager was hired to ensure that colleagues were given the right support at work. The firm also carries out annual engagement surveys which help it to assess areas of improvement and other areas to celebrate. At the beginning of the year, it changed its Saturday working hours from 9-4 to 9-1 for a better work life balance for people following feedback from the engagement survey. Before making any important decisions, employees are consulted. Feedback from a recent pulse survey showed an overall score of 4.1 star rating for communication. On Glassdoor, the company is sitting at 4.3 stars out of 5.
Pets at Home Group
The pandemic meant Pets at Home Group needed to start from scratch and examine how to lead its teams, connect with colleagues and delight customers in a new way. During the pandemic, engagement and satisfaction ratings dropped by 8% – in line with the UK norm. With more than half the firm’s colleagues having been with it for less than three years, the business needed to act fast. Restating its values and creating a workplace culture that people loved became vital.
In particular, the firm asked staff to look at its values and consider whether they reflected its ongoing brand. Consulting all 16,000 colleagues between December 2021 and February 2022 it questioned whether ‘We’re better with pets’ still summed up its unique appeal to customers. Over 1,500 feedback submissions were received.
In February 2022, the firm collectively crafted a new set of values that were inclusive, authentic, unique and in line with its evolving brand. The results of Pets at Home Group’s initiatives speak for themselves. In its May listening survey, 86% of colleagues said they felt they could be themselves at work, that they are treated with fairness and respect, and that they enjoyed a safe environment in which they can speak up.
In 2019 the company decided to focus on improving culture and designing work systems to drive higher productivity and improve performance. The HR team saw that business acumen and the ability to influence sustainability and growth of the business was crucial. Since HR is no longer administrative and processing in nature, it was felt that professionals must align skills with their role as a strategic business partner.
Saga works to put its employees at the heart of its business, and has worked hard in recent years to transform its people strategy amid the coronavirus pandemic and a company-wide turnaround. Over the past two years, the HR team has led focus groups and employee forums as part of a listening exercise.
A transformative people strategy was launched in February 2020, alongside turnaround work within the wider company. One significant change was HR’s approach to company communication and engagement, specifically through the introduction of digital platform Workplace. The HR team led the use of this technology to get a new level of transparent dialogue between the business, leaders, the HR team and colleagues. Workplace offers a “virtual sense of community”.
Saga has also used a quarterly engagement survey to check in with colleagues. In December 2019, Saga’s engagement score was around 6.5 out of 10 but, by November 2021, it had jumped to 7.7 and in 2022, this now stands at 8. Its health and wellbeing score is 8.3. These scores reflect the HR team’s hard work to create exceptional experiences for colleagues.
South Western Railway
The past few years have been extremely challenging for the train operator, with multiple strikes since 2017 leading to employees feeling disengaged, unheard and unsupported. By the end of 2019 the company had a plan in place to tackle the issues but then Covid-19 hit.
The firm needed to improve its workplace culture and reignite employees’ passion for working at South Western Railway (SWR). It set out a company-wide strategy – called Journey to Better, with the following objectives: increase its empowerment index score from 44% pre-pandemic (2019); increase ratings of managers from an average of 68%; increase the percentage of employees who agree that they enjoy their job from 68%.
The company focused on leadership development because one of the biggest areas of concern from employee feedback was relationships with managers, especially communication, feedback, being treated fairly and praise. To tackle this, it delivered a series of one-day workshops, for all 850 leaders, centred around becoming better leaders. Following the workshops, leaders were given a six-week challenge which included different daily activities, designed to reinforce the messages of the events and help them further develop their skills/competencies.
In association with