Our people are the key to our success. We are committed to ensuring that Great Places is a fantastic, ethical company to work for and that colleagues feel valued and engage.
Enabling the smooth transition for our new Equity colleagues continues to be our main ‘people’ focused priority and we have:
Our graduate and apprenticeship programme, Growing Greatness, has gone from strength-to-strength since it launched in 2018. At the end of March 2020, we had employed 22 colleagues who were originally appointed directly as part of the scheme – this equates to 3.5% of the workforce. This is an increase of 1.4% in January. Eight of these colleagues who have been successfully appointed to permanent roles were from the 2018 Growing Greatness intake. In addition, four members of the 2018 intake have secured fixed-term roles in the business beyond their graduate/apprentice role.
Through the merger, five former Equity colleagues have been directly appointed as part of a graduate or apprenticeship scheme and, as part of our ongoing commitment to Growing Greatness, during 2021 we are planning on a further intake of apprentices and graduates.
We are continuing to explore Government initiatives developed as part of the Coronavirus response, including additional funding for apprenticeships and Kickstart – a new scheme supporting paid work placements for young people
I joined Great Places as part of the Growing Greatness Programme because it felt like the perfect opportunity to kick start my career. I started as an apprentice in the Finance Team and within nine months I became a Service Charge Finance Officer. Nine months later I started my new role as Service Charge Team Leader. The Growing Greatness scheme has been a key part of my development as it helped me settle into the business and equipped me with the skills and support network I needed to succeed. – Lewis Jones, Service Charge Team Leader
We are immensely proud of our colleagues and continue to invest heavily in their personal development through a range of training and wellbeing initiatives. We also deliver a range of colleague engagement events throughout the year, including conferences, awards, away days and celebrations.
In summer 2019 we celebrated our 10th anniversary by delivering interactive roadshows to more than 560 colleagues, which engaged with them on our history, achievements and exciting plans for the future. The events brought the Great Places’ ‘story’ to life and provided colleagues with a shared sense of purpose, helping them to feel more connected the organisation. Feedback was extremely positive – 99% of colleagues said their attendance at the roadshows gave them a clearer understanding of our 10-year ambitions.
As part of our commitment to colleague wellbeing, we launched a year-round wellbeing campaign, underpinned by our wellbeing model. The campaign promotes positive physical, mental, career and financial wellbeing. Colleagues were able to access emotional resilience and managing personal change workshops, as well as colleague-led initiatives such as yoga, reiki and bike rides.
This high level of investment in our colleagues reflects in our colleague turnover, which fell to the lowest rate in over three years. We also saw a reduction in our sickness absence levels and average number of days lost per colleague.
We have also continued to maintain colleague engagement scores above the organisational target of 70% throughout the year and improve manager capability through our Management Development Programmes. At year end we achieved a colleague engagement score of 86%.
We remain fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and in 2019/20 we launched our Diversity Champions, achieved Level 2 Disability Confident Accreditation, renewed our Everyone Counts forums and introduced an EDI Specialist role.
Great Places’ Colleague Forum, Voice, and Equity’s colleague forum, Talk Team, both had an important role to play in the preparations to become one organisation throughout the colleague consultation process. We continue to provide involvement opportunities for these groups as we start to shape the future organisation and relaunch the new colleague forum for Great Places, One Voice.
Previously, Voice and Talk Team have been involved in a range of projects and initiatives, which have been instrumental in shaping our organisational culture and ways of working. This has seen them has seen them involved in the review and development of people focused initiatives such as developing and reviewing pay progression, developing and reviewing Sharing Greatness (our colleague incentive scheme) and consultation with colleagues over our merger.