This category is open to any type or size of company, a fact reflected in the variety of nominations featuring on the shortlist.
Training and apprenticeships was a strong theme across the board, with all companies investing in either hiring new staff or providing extra benefits for their existing workers.
Companies had to show not just the details of their policy towards staff, but also evidence that senior management had bought into the schemes and that there had been demonstrable results. Judges were particularly looking for evidence of improved performance year on year.
As part of its Futurepath programme, Aggregate launched Institute of Sales & Marketing Management-accredited e-learning for its sales staff. The firm regards sales in the same way as professional occupations, and ISMM allows them to work towards a qualification or diploma and foster their personal development. It is now being integrated into a mentoring scheme that continues following qualification for additional support.
Ainscough Crane Hire
This company’s reputation was demonstrated in 2012 when it received more than 100 applications for just 12 places on its new apprenticeship scheme. The Ainscough Academy was launched, with numerous training opportunities created for staff at all levels, while the firm’s new Reward and Recognition scheme awards prizes to those who benefit the company.
GAP took on a record number of apprentices last year, with a plant mechanic apprentice at every UK depot. It established an employee welfare fund, providing £150 per employee per annum to spend on teambuilding activities. A hands-on approach from directors is coupled with strong internal communications to foster good relations.
Two new initiatives were introduced by JLES in 2012: an Enterprise Management Incentive Scheme giving employees a share option, and a Management Fast Track Programme that identifies future leaders and gives them experience in multiple disciplines across the business. Extensive employee benefits and awards schemes ensure JLES employees are well catered for.
Kier has increased investment in new entrant training programmes, launching a Construction Team Leader Apprenticeship to take trainees through full Level 2 apprenticeships in two years. The overall level of training increased to more than 30,000 days. Employee benefits are also numerous, with the Kier Plus retail discount scheme and the Kier Foundation to support staff fundraising activities.
Thomas Vale Construction
Thomas Vale was acquired by Bouygues Construction Group in 2012, but worked hard to ensure the disruption to its employees was minimised. The company achieved the Investors in People Gold standard, and made sure that all employee benefits remained in place despite new ownership.