Having a workforce that wants to come to work every day of the week is an impressive achievement. It’s something most organisations hope to accomplish, so we reached out to the shortlisted companies of the Best Place to Work in Tech Award at this year’s SPARKies to find out what makes their workplace special.
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) is a secure FTSE 100 Company that prides itself on being “The UK number 1 platform for private investors” as David Henderson, Head of Business Transformation at HL says.
HL now employs over 1,600 people in Bristol. David explains more, “We also have HL Tech, our Polish technology centre which is expanding our IT development capabilities. A larger development capability increases our ability to improve the services we offer to clients and helps us to grow as a business. This includes developing our award-winning mobile app.”
With such a large workforce its important the company remains united, but they’re clearly doing something right as David tells us, “We’ve won awards for our work on diversity and inclusion, recognising our efforts to build a happy and welcoming culture at HL.”
Somewhere to thrive
David recognises what is important from the workplace: “We’d all love a career where we can thrive and do our best work. In recent years we have spent a lot of time looking at how we can build a happy and productive workplace for everyone, recognising that different things will make different people happy.”
He tells us its crucial to ensure that your staff feel appreciated. He says, “we empower people by giving them more control over how they do their work as well as recognising and rewarding great work.”
Being assured of the company’s own values helps to ensure that things are running smoothly: “Agreeing a set of values that guide us in how we work is something we have in place – in turn we recruit for a good cultural fit – people whose personal values align with ours.” David says.
HL also wants its workforce to be able to grow rather than become stagnant, as David says, “We give people the opportunity to do meaningful work that makes a difference, as well as providing opportunities for learning, development and personal growth.”
Culture vs benefits
David clearly states, “All the benefits in the world won’t compensate for a poor workplace culture. Here at HL, we have a values driven culture, and a shared sense of purpose.”
HL has five values that have been chosen by its colleagues. These are: “put the client first, do the right thing, make it easy, do it better, go the extra mile.”
David explains the benefit of this, “They help to guide everything we do. We invest a lot into making sure people are clear about how their role contributes to our work.”
He goes on to say, “We want colleagues to feel they are valued and rewarded well for their efforts, so we make sure our benefits are extremely attractive too.
“On top of competitive salaries and a performance-related bonus scheme, we offer a sharesave scheme, discounted gym membership, free health checks rates, shopping discounts and regular social events. Being fair with everyone and listening to what our people want goes a long way to creating a good workplace culture.”
Top tips time
So what should the take home messages of creating a great workplace be? David gives us his words of wisdom: “Listening to your people – e.g. we let them tell us the values which should guide how we work, we let them choose the charities we support, and we let them vote on our dress code.”
He maintains the theme of putting the people first as he says, “Give people a clear sense of purpose – we all know what we are here to achieve, both individually and as a business.
“We make sure we find fun ways to say thank you and recognise hard work – boat trips, barbecues, hand written thank you cards from our CEO, and even the odd bottle of champagne.”
David underscores that having, “strong and visible leaders is crucial too.” He says, “our CEO sits down for coffee with a group of staff every month to chat informally about a wide range of topics,” to both engage and motivate staff whilst connecting them to the bigger picture of their role within HL.
But if he had to pick one underlining policy that every company should adopt, it would be to, “Hire the best people you can then find creative ways to listen to them and act on what they say. Your people have all the answers.”