Sergey Nivens -

Insight: It matters to be a great place to work

The managing director and head of HR reveal why getting recognised for being a good employer does make a difference

The coronavirus pandemic has raised many questions about what the future of work will look like. Expectations of a hybrid world are high, but that still does not detract from the need to make a workplace a positive environment.

Whether staff are coming in one or five days a week, the importance of culture and staff support is going to remain a significant factor in determining if people join an organisation and how long they stay.

The pressure to provide a positive workplace is across the board and a serious consideration for the channel.

Insight recently achieved third-place overall in Great Place to Work’s 2021 UK’s best workplaces (large category). That ranking meant it came in ahead of Lindt, Danone, Adobe and Servicenow.

Insight has been on the list before, but saw its position improve by 17 places, with it being recognised for a diverse, inclusive culture and its sense of community.

While a great accolade to have, and no doubt an opportunity to add a plaque to the reception walls and a logo to the website, there is a natural question around its value.

Darren Hedley, Insight UK managing director, and Gill Swain, UK HR director at Insight, answered some questions to share why it is important for the business.

Why does this matter?

Darren Hedley: “With digital transformation a priority in organisations across the board, the necessary skills are going to be in high demand.

“We want our team to feel valued, so morale is high, productivity is better and employees want to stay at Insight. At the same time, if businesses want to select from the widest talent pool available and attract the top talent, a reputation as a great place to work with an award-winning culture is a huge asset. For instance, recognition of our ongoing commitment to teammate welfare will be reassuring for any new recruits researching Insight prior to joining.” 

Gill Swain: “While people are at the heart of every organisation, it’s rare that an accreditation takes the employees’ point of view. Great Place to Work (GPTW) matters because it does just that, and gives a voice to employees. In particular, GPTW truly understands the components that make somewhere a great place to work, with trust between employee and employer the key factor that will show huge business benefits and higher returns.

“Getting GPTW accreditation is a huge accolade, and this year it means so much more to us as it’s centred around our response to the pandemic. How we responded, adjusted and went the extra mile to support our teammates has been key to our accreditation this year. We’re proud to be the highest-placed channel organisation in the rankings, and to move 17 places to third overall is a phenomenal achievement.”

Does it really have an impact on staff and on prospective staff?

DH: “The accreditation has been a huge vindication of the effort we put in to supporting our teammates over the pandemic. For instance, we made a real conscious effort to ensure teammates clearly understood the decisions we were making as a business about key areas such as health, wellbeing and safety; so that they trusted we were acting in their best interests.

“We also did a lot to support mental health, comprehensively training all of our managers on how to support mental health and recognise stress. Most importantly, we followed our mantra that ‘every teammate’s circumstance is different,’ and didn’t try a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to supporting our employees. The GPTW results show our employees recognised and appreciated that effort.”

GS: “It absolutely has an impact on our employees. They feel a sense of pride that they work for a company recognised as a great place to work. By reinforcing our strong brand, reputation, and most importantly culture, it also helps with retention, and attracting future staff. Not many organisations can say that 91% of employees think they’re a great place to work, so it’s definitely something to shout about.”

How do you monitor what you are doing internally?

GS: “We are constantly on a journey of improvement as a company, and part of this is gathering feedback from our teammates through various surveys. For instance, throughout the pandemic we have conducted regular care and check in surveys to understand how teammates are feeling, and what more we can do to support them through this difficult period.

“Similarly, the feedback from the GPTW survey enables us to understand what actions we can put in place to make Insight an even better place to work. And we actively encourage teammates to communicate any concerns or suggestions, and are always open to better ways of working.” 

What makes Insight a great place to work?

DH: “Our people are at the heart of our organisation, and they are what creates our amazing culture. The care shown amongst teams during these new ways of working has been incredible, and we’re determined to ensure this continues. We’re committed to a culture of inclusion and belonging, which celebrates diversity and provides opportunity for all.

“A key part of this is identifying and nurturing talent – we want to ensure people reach their full potential regardless of background, gender, race, sexual orientation or any other differences. Everything we do is underpinned by our strong set of values: Hunger, Heart and Harmony – both inside and outside of Insight.

“For instance, we’ve become part of the Tech Talent Charter and created a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging group to drive education and awareness across the business. And outside the business, we support our employees’ engagements with other initiatives, such as a STEM ambassador work experience program for local schools and colleges at our Sheffield offices.”

GS: “Our mantra that ‘every teammate’s circumstance is different’ has helped us to make Insight a great place to work. For instance, during the pandemic we could support our teammates every step of the way, whether they lived alone or with friends and family, and no matter what their experience of ‘working from home’.

“We set up dedicated articles and virtual sessions for teammates, including ‘How to set up your office space at home’ and ‘How to manage work and home-schooling’.

“We also created an EMEA-wide taskforce to ensure employees could work from home safely – this group still meets twice a week to review each region. Most importantly, our executives lead by example. Encouraging teammates to take time for themselves, ramping up communication, and making sure we always give clear goals means teammates always feel supported.”

Is it something that you use in your recruitment and branding?

GS: “Yes, we will be celebrating this achievement by ensuring that we showcase it through our adverts, website, and our networking channels.

“We genuinely believe that future talent wants to work for a company with a strong culture, and one where they can feel part of something special and thrive throughout their careers.”

Do you feel that with a hybrid working environment looking like the main outcome is being a great place to work even more important?

GS: “The pandemic has changed everyone in different ways, and opened up new opportunities for us to work in new ways and be even more effective than before.

“GPTW believes that trust between an employee and employer is a key factor in being a great place to work, and for us moving to a hybrid model encapsulates this approach.

“The world of work is changing, and we have to adapt and respond accordingly. The hybrid working environment is an exciting opportunity to shape the way we work in the future. We have a great opportunity here to lead from the front and create a modern way of working to benefit all – something that we can share with our clients, and that will set us apart from our competitors. One thing’s for certain, these are exciting times ahead.” 

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