Commitment to work-life balance clinches Procter & Gamble's win

Procter & Gamble was last week named as the best place to work in IT, after a panel of judges in Computer Weekly's annual Best...

Procter & Gamble was last week named as the best place to work in IT, after a panel of judges in Computer Weekly's annual Best Places to Work award's recognised its commitment to ensuring a flexible work-life balance for its IT staff and its advanced career development and training programmes.

The company beat competitors in nine different categories to receive the top award, scoring for its commitment to the professional development of its IT staff and flexibility in helping them meet commitments outside work.

Sales and marketing IT manager Craig Charlton said after the ceremony he was "absolutely honoured" to receive the award, putting the company's success down to "commitment to work-life balance and our rewards package."

Charlton said professional development is crucial to the company, which mainly recruits new graduates, to help it develop those who might become future IT directors or chief executives.

"All our chief executives have started at graduate level," he said. "Our next chief information officer will start at graduate level."

The company runs three development programmes to help IT staff learn about the company's business, to help improve their general IT skills and to provide them with specific business and technical training.

Staff are rotated regularly through different business units and through different IT roles.

"It allows us to give all round training. People move from back-office roles to retailer-facing roles. You get a breadth of experience you normally only find in smaller companies," he said.

IT staff receive a minimum of 10 formal training days a year, with additional on-the-job training from mentors and coaches.

"We bring people into real jobs. We do not have people on full- time training, they are doing real roles from day one," he said.

Procter & Gamble places a strong emphasis on work-life balance, offering its staff the ability to reduce their hours to meet family commitments, such as the birth of a child or the need to care for a relative.

An increasing number of men are choosing to reduce their hours to three or four days a week when they have children, said Charlton.

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