Best Workplace

UK recruiter credits culture as key asset during lockdown

One of the country’s most progressive recruitment firms has charted at number 11 in this year’s prestigious UK’s Best Workplaces™ list by Great Place to Work®

And the company credits the work undertaken to improve culture and reach this accolade as one of the reasons they have managed remote teams during the C-19 pandemic.

ISL Recruitment, which is based in Bristol, has a team of 25 and was listed on UK’s Best Workplaces list, which focuses on creating good working cultures through employee engagement and trust, in 2017 and reached fourth place in 2018.

But the business did not feature on the list in 2019 – something that shocked the directors into taking action to implement numerous employee trust initiatives and communication programmes.

This pre-emptive work, they say, put them in a strong position to mobilise quickly as it became clear that lockdown was about to begin.

Part of this was taking the decision to create a furlough rota which has seen them keep employees in touch with the business as well as giving them time to rest during this stressful period.

Alan Furley, co-director of ISL, which specialises in IT and engineering, said: “The work we chose to focus on from a people strategy perspective after not getting on the list in 2019 has undoubtedly made a positive impact on our organisational resilience during lockdown.

“By using the survey data to identify areas where we were lacking, we were able to act and put in place a number of initiatives that brought us closer together. We went back to our core strategy – which was to hire for cultural fit and develop a caring, diverse and supportive workplace and communicated much more clearly and consistently on what this meant.

“As a result, we have a good bond in the team during these very hard times. Recruiters have high expectations of themselves and so it can be really hard on them when they are doing all the right things but maybe not getting the same results.

“Having an open channel of communication and a supportive mindset I think has helped us get through this in a much more human way and I’m sure will serve us well in the future.” The team realise we may not always make the right call, but they trust we are doing our best and being transparent with them about the challenges we all face.

ISL’s two best score areas were in providing a caring workplace and hiring impact with others being around developing people and celebrating success, which in turn raised trust and engagement within the teams.

ISL also implemented a 4.5 day working week at the end of 2019, which saw productivity and revenues rocket in the following three months.

The Best Workplaces™ recognition is coveted among business owners and employees alike as the survey is done anonymously, so staff get to say exactly what they think with no fear of retribution.

Great Place to Work® is an internationally renowned organisation, started in the early 80s, which covers businesses of all shapes and sizes across the world.

Ben Gautrey, managing director of GPTW UK, said: “Trusting your workforce has never been more important as remote working is now the norm. Unquestionably, as ISL has shown to their credit, building bonds and open communication creates business resilience.

“This means organisations can not only weather storms but develop into them and get through the other side having learned a lot and become stronger in the process. We wish them every success in the months to come.”

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