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Businesses reveal how they became top employers


Some of the firms accredited by the Top Employers Institute revealed the secrets of their success

The Top Employers Institute revealed its top employers of 2016 last week. HR magazine spoke to some of the accredited firms to find out what sets their organisations apart.

Internal must match external

“We’ve taken an approach designed to inspire and take our people to amazing – we’ve done a number of things to make this happen; supplying our customer-facing employees with a red-hot new uniform and personal iPhones to champion customer communication, introduced a new Virgin Stars recognition scheme, and developed bespoke, cross-functional Virgin Way experiences for all of our people, which focus on our purpose and developing our values.

"We welcome and actively encourage staff to share their ideas and views on how we make our business amazing – from influencing our menus to how to delightfully surprise our customers.”

Clare Burles, people director, Virgin Trains on its East Coast route

Be flexible

“We are a family-friendly firm that offers a good work/life balance, with 30% of our staff working flexibly. Staff health and wellbeing also matters. Social events organised by our ‘Joy Committee’, as well as weekly massages and pilates classes held in the office, help to build a collaborative and productive workforce.”

Sarah Pearman, HR manager, Sackers and Partners

Allow employees to share ideas

"Our ‘ideapreneurship’ culture empowers employees to constantly evaluate, invest in and upgrade themselves in order to be future ready.

“We call this journey of self-discovery and development Design U2.0, which gives them the freedom to develop their ideas,” he said. “Organisations need to invest in shaping a culture that provides autonomy and licence to ideate, creating an experience that is underlined with a sense of purpose, ownership and transparency.”

Prithvi Shergill, chief HR officer, HCL Technologies

Embrace continuous training and lifelong learning

“We ensure our staff can develop personally and professionally through a range of methods, such as our excellent undergraduate and apprentice schemes, leadership development programmes, career development initiatives and our customer-orientated culture, which is supported by our reward and recognition programme. Employee engagement is another key focus, with a calendar of employee events, regular and targeted communications, and frequent business updates all helping to create a motivated and informed workforce.”

Chris Thexton, HR director, Vauxhall Motors