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Northern Star Sponsor Because Staff Matter

3rd October 2018

When people think of a great workplace what springs to mind? Images of glass, steel and white buildings with pod work spaces? Communal brainstorming areas decked out like Chelsea Flower Show? Foosball tables and hangout hammocks or aquarium quiet zones? As seductive as these environments are, a great workplace goes much deeper than its aesthetics.

Great workplaces are built through the relationships that employees experience in their day-to-day working lives. The Great Place To Work® Institute (GPTW) reports that a great place to work from an employee's perspective is one where they:

  • TRUST in the people they work for;
  • Have PRIDE in what they do; and
  • ENJOY the people they work with.

And from a manager's perspective, these GPTW criteria for a great workplace will resonate too:

  • with employees who GIVE THEIR PERSONAL BEST and
  • WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM / FAMILY in an environment of TRUST.

This isn't just theoretical musing. The research backs up what you probably intuitively know – staff matter and their well-being matters. They matter on an individual level, but also on an organisational level with companies that build a culture of trust and engagement achieving sustainable and outstanding business performance.

The finalists in this year's Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Northern Star Business Awards : Staff Matter category could hardly be more different, but what they do have in common is a commitment to taking care of their people so their people can take care of their business.

Phil Anderson, Managing Director of Phil Anderson Financial Services, considers the contribution of his staff to his business success to be immense and rewards their efforts and loyalty through a generous incentive scheme. This runs in parallel with a robust training and competence scheme which develops staff to become specialists in their field and an internal communications strategy which includes monthly one-to-one meetings with every member of staff. These initiatives have nurtured a team motivated to support the company's growth; staff retention is high with clients benefiting from continuity with their financial advisor and recruitment costs are minimal with new staff joining the company by personal referral.

Phil Anderson with Amanda McCulloch

Winner of the Staff Matter award Phil Anderson of Phil Anderson Financial Services Ltd with sponsor Amanda McCulloch of Thorpe Molloy Recruitment Ltd. Photo courtesy of Abermedia.

Transformational change has been well managed at Bon Accord Care by helping employees make a connection between the organisation's strategic aims and their fulfilling individual jobs. A holistic review of the service gave everyone the opportunity to inform the measures needed to increase capacity, reduce resources and look for innovative ways of working. A big investment in terms of time and involvement by all, the subsequent engagement strategy led to a more open working culture; clear processes for staff to be treated consistently and fairly; lower staff turnover and a significant reduction in staff absence. The well-being at work service is accessible to all employees and skills needs are being addressed through a manager development programme and behavioural profiling during the recruitment process. From the holistic review employee development and performance processes have been streamlined with richer career development leading to higher levels of employee engagement and higher quality for service users.

In response to operating in a lower oil price environment Marathon Oil UK established its inclusive UK Professional Development (UKPD) Programme. Aimed at early career professionals this initiative creates an atmosphere of constant self-improvement because, rather than relying upon prescribed training courses, staff identify their own needs and follow their own, bespoke training plan. Employees also provide ideas for training that will further the development of the wider staff base. A Steering Group of peers develops the ideas and delivers the programme, drawing upon company experts, senior leadership, research and workshop activities. By utilising in-house expertise Marathon specific training is now delivered, compared to the more generic training of the past. The programme has boosted morale, expanded the knowledge of employees, developed soft skills and promoted inter-disciplinary working. In turn this has enabled competitive advantage, robust succession planning and enhanced staff retention and recruitment practice.

This article was also published in the October edition of Business Now magazine.

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