Axter wins gold at the Best Employers Awards
We are delighted to have been awarded a gold accreditation at the Best Employers Eastern Region Awards 2023. The recognition is especially significant, as it is largely driven by an anonymous employee survey, conducted independently by Best Employers.
We are passionate about transforming the work experience with new approaches that support the personal goals of our people, and no acknowledgement is more meaningful than a confirmation that they feel we are succeeding.
What are the Best Employers Awards?
The awards were initiated in 2012 to recognise and encourage best practice in employee relations:
We wanted to identify and support the organisations in our region going the extra mile for their people. We also wanted to help them make the most of the positive impact happy and engaged employees have on productivity.Best Employers
Only organisations that fall within the top 25% in terms of employee response are considered for any accreditation, with a panel of judges then deciding a final outcome.
Why Axter decided to work with the awards
In January 2023, before we were aware of Best Employers, we launched our new Axter Business Plan, one key element of which was our People Goals. An internal employee survey was planned to support those goals. When we realised that a respected, independent scheme existed to conduct similar surveys, it just made sense to have the results more rigorously verified.
Axter and the working environment
After the COVID lockdowns, we decided to retain a hybrid working model. This was because we saw staff would welcome this flexibility. Currently, about half of the staff take up the option to do a mixture of office attendance and work-from-home. Other members of the team are fully remote, with colleagues working from Wales, Cornwall and Derbyshire.
Despite the offered flexibility, we recognised that the office environment still matters greatly. Axter HQ remains a psychological centre, helping the team gel and focus. As such, it needed to be an environment in which individuals could thrive. At the end of 2022, we moved to a new location intentionally designed to meet that objective. With bright light and river views, areas for relaxation, collaboration and refreshments as well as private work, the site has generated great positive feedback.
Axter and the working year
We are striving to include more team days away from the usual activities and have made a good start with charity-related volunteering days such as a competitive bake-off coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support and participation in a Whole Hog charity race. Three teams were entered for the roofing industry’s LRWA Charity Challenge.
Axter has a comprehensive programme of support for charity partners, which stretches to much more than a financial connection. The main focus is our Climate and Community Initiative. Each member of staff has a paid charity day, when they can volunteer with one of our charity partners or a non-profit of their choice.
Our non-profit partners are embedded in our lives in other ways. Suffolk Mind is one organisation we work with. All of our people have completed the Mental Health Toolkit training that Suffolk Mind run and we will offer refresher courses regularly. Our first aiders are also mental health first aiders and we continue to work with Mind, offering counselling to staff if needed, and planning further training to arm managers to better support their team.
Growth means change so this summer we hosted a Business Update to keep the whole team in the loop about developments. This was held in the spectacular setting of Wilderness Reserve Suffolk. Staff were able to enjoy swimming and archery during the get-together.
Upskilling never stops
Our introduction of a comprehensive Axter modular technical, Health and Safety, and HR training programme in 2021 has been very effective. This includes “upskilling days” where all staff are encouraged to attend our training centre and complete the courses that are mandatory for more technically oriented positions such as our QA team, as well as our outside “approved installer” partners. Even if not directly relevant to the role of the individual, we feel exposure to these courses, as the staff member wishes, fosters a sense of connection with what we offer.
All staff are supported in building the strongest possible basis for an ongoing career. Depending on the role, this has included pursuing qualifications through the Institute of Leadership and Management, the Association of Accounting Technicians as well as the Institute of Roofing.
We regard these measures as a starting point and not a conclusion for our efforts. Finding new and better ways to help our people thrive is something that should never be considered done. New circumstances will continue to arise, as will new opportunities. Together, we will build the basis of a brighter, shared future.
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