College achieves ‘Great Place to Work’ status
The Chesterfield College Group has been awarded ‘Great Place to Work’ status after achieving high levels of staff satisfaction measured by an internationally renowned institute.
The college first engaged with Great Places to Work in 2019 to assess how its workforce felt about being a Chesterfield College employee. The initial survey, which gave every individual staff member the opportunity to provide their responses anonymously, measured a wide range of categories through an in-depth survey, including values and ethics, leadership, wellbeing, career development, corporate social responsibility and culture.
Following the results of the first survey, the college’s leadership team embarked on a new strategy designed to re-engage with staff and directly address the areas of concern highlighted in the survey.
“The results of the first survey identified what staff were thinking and feeling. We have a large and diverse workforce, so we had to find ways to engage with all staff equally and ensure that any changes we made would benefit everyone.”
(Craig Acaster, Director of HR)
Over the course of 2019 and early 2020, a wide range of new initiatives were put in place to actively improve and enhance the college as a work environment, including:
- Appointing a ‘Wellbeing Champion’ in every team/department
- Asking teams to write 5 pledges to undertake together (such as charity work, improving the work environment, enhancing teamwork, supporting others)
- A trial of flexible terms and conditions for staff, with the option to choose between different pension and holiday packages in exchange for a higher salary
- Investment in a wider range of staff benefits through Sodexo, ensuring that staff can pick and choose the benefits which best suit their needs
- Dedicated all staff training days, allowing staff the time to share best practice and develop their skills/knowledge
- A focus on individual career planning and succession planning
- Training for managers and staff including Mental Health First Aid and Managing Stress
Following a second survey undertaken by Great Places to Work early in 2020, and a culture audit, the college met the required standards to be awarded Great Places to Work status, one of the few Further Education colleges to achieve this status in the UK.
The college scored high on line management, corporate social responsibility and fair treatment. Staff indicated that the drivers which were most important to them were empowerment and accountability, teamwork, and values and ethics.
The high levels of pride and care staff feel by being part of an organisation delivering services to support students, apprentices and employers also featured in the results of the survey.
“I was incredibly proud to hear that we had achieved the Great Places to Work status. It recognises the efforts that everyone has put in over the past 18 months to improve how we work and collaborate as one team. Our Wellbeing Champions and team leaders have already made some very positive changes across the college. We will build on this and continue to improve as we know there is still work to be done. It is particularly important for us to recognise how the world and our workplace has changed in the past year. With this in mind, we will continue to engage with our staff and let them lead us towards even greater and more positive changes in 2021.”
Julie Richards, Principal and CEO
Great Places to Work is an international kite mark of quality operating in 50 different countries. It scores employers on staff responses to surveys and a culture audit which focuses on programmes and practices designed to improve the workplace experience for staff members.