Employee engagement, productivity and wellbeing have never been more important. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that if you’re not making these a priority as a business, you’re going to struggle to attract and keep the very best employees.

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Why is employee engagement important?

For one simple reason: engaged employees are more invested in their jobs and the success of the organisation they work for. This creates a better culture which means lower staff turnover, and increased productivity and results.

So how can you make sure you’re getting the very best from your people – and giving the same back? By joining the Best Employers community.

Wait, what’s Best Employers?

Best Employers was co-created by recruitment specialists Pure and psychometrics experts eras Ltd. It aims to help businesses develop engaging, supportive and inclusive workplaces that support their people and bring out the best in them.

Best Employers started life as a survey measuring engagement, culture and values. What made it particularly special is that companies were judged by the people who know them best – their own employees. While this survey is still very much at the heart of Best Employers today, it’s evolved into something much more all-encompassing. Participating organisations get the chance to win awards and accreditations, go to exclusive events, hear from inspirational speakers and share knowledge with a community of like-minded businesses. It’s all about making the eastern region a great place to work. And businesses that have taken part in the programme are using the results to transform their workplaces in positive and inspiring ways.

We’re not expecting you to just take our word for that though. Here are three stories from employers who’ve told us how Best Employers has completely changed the way they create their HR and people strategies.

Best Employers makes a difference

Holkham Estate

The Holkham Estate is on the north Norfolk coast. It’s a private 25,000-acre agricultural estate that includes a holiday park, several shops, property development and an internationally acclaimed inn. Holkham employs up to 300 people in peak season and is aiming to become the UK’s most pioneering and sustainable rural estate. They first took part in Best Employers in 2018 and Alex Triplow, their Head of HR, found the results absolutely invaluable when it came to evolving their HR strategy.

One of the major changes they’ve made as a result of Best Employers was establishing an engagement group. This has since helped them bring in several improvements, particularly around the way the business communicates with staff.

‘We also used the survey results to create an action plan for each team,’ says Alex. ‘This has really helped drive activity and keep the focus on the importance of engagement.’

It’s paid off too. In Holkham’s 2021 survey, their team members commented on how much better things were since the previous survey, singling out the fact that the business had really listened to them, and acted on their ideas. ‘Our results really improved,’ Alex tells us. ‘We were delighted to win best in sector and a gold accreditation – it’s something we’re all incredibly proud of.’

So would Alex recommend Best Employers? ‘I highly recommend taking part in the survey,’ she says. ‘Not only do you get great insights into what’s working well at your business, it also gives you concrete information on how you can become an even better place to work.’

Beckett Investment Management Group

Beckett Investment Management Group is one of the largest providers of financial advice to individuals and corporate clients in the east of England. They have offices in Ipswich, Norwich, Bury St Edmunds and Kibworth, and manage around £1bn of client funds. In 2021 they got a platinum Best Employers’ accreditation and also won Best Overall Medium Company. They also have excellent client satisfaction scores – their last survey gave them an average score of 9.6 out of 10 – which Ian White, Managing Director, believes is a direct result of having an engaged workforce. ‘Best Employers allowed us to build a successful wellbeing strategy based directly on feedback received from our people,’ he says.

Ian also believes that all businesses can benefit from making employee engagement a top strategic concern. ‘It can be easy to prioritise other things over the wellbeing of staff,’ he tell us. ‘But I believe this is the wrong approach: keep it at the top and give your company and its employees the best chance to succeed.’

Big C

Established in Norfolk in 1980, Big C is the largest cancer charity in East Anglia. Their mission is to make a positive difference to local people affected by cancer through support and information, research and equipment funding, and education. They first took part in Best Employers in 2018, using information from their survey to understand priorities for their people, and create action plans. Caroline Roberts, People Manager at the charity, says it’s ‘fundamentally changed the way we develop our people strategies and practices’. For example, as a result of Best Employers Big C have made their executive team accessible to all staff, including those based away from their head office. They’ve also improved wellbeing support for employees and volunteers, including bringing in qualified mental health first aiders. And they’re investing extra money in training and development for all their people.

These improvements are reflected in their later survey results – in 2021 they got a gold accreditation, and also won the ‘Alex Pearce Award for the Most Improved’ after increasing their culture and engagement scores by a massive 25 per cent. ‘One of our aims is to become the employer and volunteer organisation of choice,’ Caroline says. ‘And lots of job applicants tell us our Best Employers accreditation really appeals to them.’

She’s also particularly impressed with the support they get from other employers as part of the Best Employers’ network. ‘The knowledge and learning we’ve got from engaging with other organisations through Best Employers’ activities has been extremely helpful.’

Get set for Best Employers 2023

If these stories have inspired you to join the next programme, get in touch using this form. It’s going to be a particularly special one as well, as we’re celebrating 10 years of Best Employers.