Reward Live: Sunday Times toppers reveal the secret to an award-winning strategy and happy employees.

RL Thurs Keynote Colin Gibson-16

Everyone in HR is always looking for the secret to keeping employees happy and engaged. South Liverpool Housing Group appears to have found it as they topped the ‘Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit organization to Work For’ list three years in a row. Having also won the ‘Best health and wellbeing initiative’ category at the 2014 CIPD People Management awards, they were on board with keeping employed motivated.

Colin Gibson, head of HR and organizational development, spoke at Reward Live 2016 about how the company transformed and the changes they put in to place. He explained the challenges faced in the company and listed some of the key issues. “Employees were unhappy, there was bullying with some people crying in toilets too. People were pulling sickies, not turning up and a high turnover rate.”

Following these concerns, Gibson explained how there was a need for change. Using the concept of a beach ball in his session, he said: “It’s all like a beach ball. If I hold it up, I can only see some of the colours. It is only when you turn it that you can see more. So see other people’s viewpoints, your employee’s view - it’s not all about you.”

“We looked at what our employees actually wanted rather than what we think they wanted. Things like having their birthday off was something they preferred, over perhaps free fruit for example. Another was the complaint that there was little around to do at lunch time so we now have a designated lunch area with ping pong tables, massage chairs and much more.”

Gibson went on to emphasize flexible working and the need to listen to your employees. Providing some of his top engagement tips, he said: “PACE – personalisation, authenticity, consistency and empowerment. Personalise your benefits because one size doesn’t fit all, be authentic - if you say you’re going to do something do it, be consistent with your policies and empower your employees by giving them a voice.”

Concluding the session, he explained the impact this has had on staff morale, engagement, motivation and work ethic. Individuals feel happier to be there in general and our turnover is better than ever.

Leaving the HR professionals on a piece of advice, he finished: “For me, the most important thing is that you’ve got to have your CEO on board. If the CEO has the same goal as you, it makes everything a whole lot more achievable.”