Creating a positive environment

Happy staff are productive staff, and organisations shortlisted for the Best Places to Work Awards use a variety of techniques to maintain high morale

There are many factors that can make an IT department stand out as a best place to work. But one of the most important is simply whether it is a fun and positive place to be.

The organisations shortlisted for the Best Places to Work Awards have some very different ideas about to make their IT department a positive working environment.

Friends Provident, for example, runs a range of social and team-building events. These include barbecues, parachute jumps, quiz nights, outdoor adventure days, football tournaments and a tomato-growing competition between different sites.

Procter & Gamble runs In Touch, a voluntary group dedicated to helping people develop their skills, with lunchtime meetings and half-day events once a quarter. One event offered training in Myers Briggs psychological types to help staff learn how to collaborate and maintain good working relations by taking account of different personalities.

"Many purely social events have also popped up, like the monthly 'cake club', where people take time out to relax and joke about the merits of people's baking talents, as they eat cakes baked by their peers," the company said.

Birmingham Midshires believes its important to offer staff thank you gestures when they do a good job. These can include ordering in hot samosas, giving Easter eggs and events to celebrate major project implementations.

Citigroup takes a similar approach. It runs a Rewards and Recognition programme, which offers staff who go the extra mile awards labelled "Dazzle", "Praise", or "Thank you".

Arup has a twinning programme which helps teams in different parts of the organisation get to know each other. Each one starts with a game, such as "speed dating", to help break the ice.

However you do it, if your staff look forward to coming into work on a rainy Monday morning, you must be doing something right.


Organisations shortlisted for the best places to work in IT 2007 awards


● Barclays Bank

● Birmingham Midshires

● Citigroup Technology

● HBOS Group Technology

Business and professional services

● Berwin Leighton Paisner

● Imprint


Central government

● British Army (Land - CBM AIS)

● Companies House

Construction, agriculture and mining

● Arup

● Atkins

● Smith Group UK

● WSP Group

Hospitality, entertainment and leisure

● American Institute for Foreign Study (UK)

● BBC Worldwide

● Betfair

● Expotel

Financial services

● Aviva

● Denplan

● Friends Provident

● Norwich & Peterborough Building Society

● Totemic

IT services suppliers (including outsourcing providers)

● Cobweb

● Imerja


● Rhyme Systems

● The Internet Group

● TheCitySecret

IT software and hardware suppliers

● Citrix Systems (R&D)

● cScape Strategic Internet Services

● Data Connection

● Erudine

● Dell

● Microsoft

● Welcom Software

Manufacturing and engineering

● Procter & Gamble

● Whitman Laboratories

Local government

● City of London Corporation

● Kent County Council

● Lancashire ICT Services

● Liverpool Direct

● London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

● London Borough of Towerhamlets

Public services and non-profit sectors

● Audit Commission

● British Transport Police

● Crown Prosecution Service Business Information Systems Directorate

● New Charter Housing Trust

● Opportunity Links

● Coal Authority


Retail, wholesale and distribution

● Asda Stores

● South West Trains

● Carphone Warehouse

Utilities and telecommunications

● BT Group

● Cable & Wireless

● Kingston Communications


Book a table at the awards ceremony

The Best Places to Work in IT Awards 2007 will be presented on 2 March at the Grosvenor Marriott Square Hotel in London.

Now in its fifth year, the lunchtime ceremony will play host to the UK's best UK IT employers.

With IT departments from leading companies of all sizes, representing every sector of UK business life, the awards offer a unique networking opportunity.

To guarantee your place, and secure your opportunity to network with the UK's best IT employers, go online or contact Siobhan Abbott - Tel: 020 8652 3887 E-mail: [email protected]

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