Competing with the best
It’s only when reward and recognition is developed as part of a comprehensive strategy that it begins to have a lasting impact. It’s arguable that the way in which firms choose to approach benefits has become a key marker of company culture and brand identity. These days it might even seem that businesses are judged by the way they treat their staff as much as their profit-making potential. The good thing is that this gives smaller companies a much better chance of attracting top talent, even when the purse strings are a little tight.
Yet, when thinking of the world’s leading companies for employee experience and reward, it’s too easy to think of Google, Facebook or any other of the Silicon Valley start-ups. However, more locally, Anglian Water are making big waves in the creative remuneration pool. The company recently topped Glassdoor’s annual Best Places to Work UK list – and a large part of that success is down to the company’s focus on employee experience.
“A UK water company beating Google for first place in what is, in effect, the Trip Advisor for employee attraction, is no mean feat,” admits Phil Brown, Head of People Development at Anglian Water. “The truth is that Anglian Water has been taking employee engagement and reward seriously for more than a decade; it certainly hasn’t been an overnight task. The rather glib phrase ‘happy employees make happy customers’ is true but our wellbeing strategy has the strapline ‘heathier, happier and, safer’ for a reason. We take all those topics seriously.
“During that time, we’ve committed to pushing practical initiatives for both our people and their families – and they certainly don’t have to break the bank. We regularly run mental and physical wellbeing campaigns on diet, exercise and personal resilience, for instance. It’s often the smaller things that make the biggest difference, such as encouraging everyone to talk about mindfulness and conducting walking one-to-ones rather than sitting opposite each other at a desk. It’s easy to overlook but it all contributes to our overall experience of work.”