Betfair, winner of the hospitality, entertainment and leisure category in Computer Weekly's 2007 Best Places to Work in IT competition, is planning to build on last year's achievements with more staff training.
The online sports betting company intends to increase the opportunities for employees to communicate and build relationships with senior people in the organisation, as well as extend staff participation in innovative projects and initiatives.
Enrolment on tailored development and training programmes designed to help move abilities and careers to the next level is another area the company is looking at, said Rorie Devine, CTO at Betfair.
The company matches and settles about five million bets a day worldwide. That makes for a demanding environment. "Everyone who works here knows that we measure success by uptime and how fast we can process a bet," said Matt Young, Betfair's engineering partner development director.
Staff receive an intense three-day induction with regular coaching and mentoring as well as the opportunity to coach and mentor others to share experience and expertise among team members. Formal courses are supplemented with "bite-sized masterclasses" as well as personal communications skills and yoga.
The CTO runs a regular open forum for engineers. Staff can win £10,000 for the best innovative product or prototype built in the past six months, and Betfair Labs showcases new ideas with customers, fostering creativity and innovation.
Working hours are extremely flexible. Late starts following late finishes are common, as is time in lieu and home working. There is also a games room with a TV and a Playstation, and there are discounts on goods such as music vouchers, travel and electronic items.
Computer Weekly best places to work in IT awards 2008
Computer Weekly is gearing up to host its fifth annual Best Places to Work in IT competition, which aims to find the UK's best managed IT departments.
Departments that provide a positive working environment, continuous professional development and a good work/life balance stand to gain from entering the competition.
By highlighting and applauding the best IT employers, the awards are part of Computer Weekly's drive to find and promote best practice in IT departments across the country.
Previous entrants have found that simply entering the awards brings benefits. The entry process allows managers to take stock of the way the department operates. Plus, the profile of the department can be raised both internally and externally, motivation and retention of staff can be increased, and recruitment can become easier.
There are several categories for IT departments of all sizes. The deadline for entries is Friday October 5, and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in March 2008.