Gill Swain, UK HR Director at Insight Direct UK Ltd, shares the key principles behind their award-winning workplace culture – and how to best prepare your organisation’s entry into our Best Workplaces™ programme.
Insight's Workplace Culture
At Insight, our culture is at the centre of what we do, and key to our success. It is based on these three principles:
How does your team navigate through times of uncertainty?
In times of uncertainty our Heart value comes to the fore and we take strength from each other. As individuals and as an organisation we care and we have heart, and the unity of our team sees us through difficult times. We really appreciate the fabulous people around us. We each have a part to play in keeping our values alive and morale high and we try to focus on some of the fun things to make us smile during uncertain times.
We utilise our Insight Digital Workplace™ to share news and useful information, and we encourage teammates to share ideas, tips and personal stories. We also host virtual meetings, virtual exercise sessions, and virtual coffee mornings – the more creative the better! - and encourage teams across the organisation to set up their own initiatives to drive engagement and collaboration.
What are your people focus areas for this year, and how do you plan to tackle challenges within these areas?
We have 3 focus areas for 2020:
- Sharing our culture: Immersing new teammates into our culture is important from day one. Understanding what we do and why we do it helps us to inspire people to do great work. While we can provide the what and how, people need their “why” to bring the passion – or what we call Hunger – to their roles. We challenge our leaders to understand their own “why” and to share this with their teammates to drive results and reinforce our company value.
- Enabling communication: Communication and transparency are extremely important at Insight. We recognise that all individuals are different, so to ensure our messages reach everyone, we communicate using a variety of methods and forums. Our Senior Leadership Team, for example, stays fully connected with the business via ‘coffee clubs’ in each office location. These ‘club’ meetings enable groups to get together with a member of the SLT and discuss any issues or put forward ideas in a safe, informal setting. Coffee clubs can focus on a key theme or be open-ended, allowing the SLT to stay on top of any concerns. They are arranged in advance to encourage participation and give teammates time to think about anything they would like to share on the day.
- Promoting work-life balance: The pressures and commitments of modern life mean that a ‘nine-to-five’ lifestyle isn’t suitable for everyone. We want to empower our teammates at all levels in all roles to carry out their duties in a time and place that works for them. As a result, we have implemented an agile working policy centred around flexibility and trust. This allows teammates to be flexible on their start, end and lunch times along with their working location, including working from home when required. We also offer two days per year away from the office to take on voluntary work in the community. These charity days gives teammates a sense of belonging, both in the business and the community, along with a sense of achievement.
We love the InsightEDGE programme! Tell us about this.
As with many businesses out there, one of the biggest challenges we face today is ensuring that we continue to develop and upskill our current talent, while also looking over the horizon and considering the skills of the future. We launched our graduate development programme, InsightEDGE, just over a year ago – EDGE being an acronym for Empowering Development for Graduate Education.
Participants undergo training around key technologies such as AI and IoT, delivered by some of Insight’s highly-experienced solutions specialists, as well as a number of key technology partners. The first graduates are now 12 months into the programme, becoming world class teammates, sharpening their skills, engaging with clients and contributing to the success of the business.
Insight made it onto our UK’s Best Workplaces™ in Tech list last year. What key changes have you seen recently in the tech industry with regards to hiring practices and expectations of candidates?
Culture and values really are the biggest differentiators between employers. The battle for tech talent has never been fiercer. About 4.5 million new tech jobs will be generated by the Internet of Things in the next five years. There is a war for talent and skills, specifically in the tech sector. There has been a shift in attitude towards work and work culture which mean salary or benefits are no longer enough. It’s important to have a set of Employee Value Proposition (EVP) commitments which demonstrate that your company is a truly fulfilling place to work. Today, many workplaces are composed of five different generations, each wanting and expecting different things, and we must adapt as an organisation to meet these expectations. Flexibility is becoming extremely important for candidates and the ability to work from anywhere using a number of different devices is becoming the norm.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of entering the Best Workplaces™ Programme for the first time? And what benefit have you seen from being a great place to work?
Our advice to anyone thinking of applying for a Best Workplace™ award is: if in doubt, ask. There was always someone on hand to explain the process and provide feedback and guidance. A major benefit in taking part in the award was in helping us to take stock of what we are doing in our field. Communication and promoting trust within the workforce are at the forefront of GPTW’s thinking. The detailed reports and action-planning process encourages communication amongst teammates, and this has allowed us to really understand the responses and create informed action plans that we can focus on going forward. Wherever you are on your journey to ‘great’, GPTW can help you to identify areas to focus on and ultimately enhance your workplace culture.
How does your organisation ensure a diverse and inclusive workplace?
As an equal-opportunities employer, we celebrate our teammates’ diversity and believe that providing an environment that respects their individuality is critical to ensuring an inclusive workforce. Our EMEA-wide working group, the Diversity and Inclusion Forum, ensures our ongoing commitment to D&I. The group’s charter is to raise awareness, celebrate success and break down barriers where they exist; and share best practice with our colleagues in North America.
As members of the Tech Talent Charter, we’ve demonstrated a commitment to deliver greater diversity in the UK’s tech workforce, one that aims to better reflect the makeup of the population. We are also members of the Tech She Can charter, which commits us to collaborate with other partners to increase the number of women working in technology roles. And as promoters of the charter, we work with schools too to tackle the root cause of the problem at a societal level; to educate and inspire young women to get into technology careers. InsightEDGE, our two-year scheme for graduates, takes 12 graduates each year and gives them the skills and knowledge to embark on a successful career in our sales and services teams.
Employee wellbeing is fundamental to our inclusivity strategy, which is why we have invested in a comprehensive range of measures to support people with mental health issues. From reduced hours and agile working to counselling sessions, our most recent initiatives offer safe, anonymous online support available 24/7. This service offers a range of therapeutic pathways, including peer and professional support. We also recognise the pressures that people face in balancing their family lives with the drive to succeed in their careers. We maintain helpful resources on our family-friendly Insight Digital Workspace™ to support teammates and their families, whether they are new parents or care for children, young people or other dependents.
If you would like to learn how Great Place to Work® UK can help your organisation achieve greater insight into your employee experience, and ultimately receive recognition as a UK’s Best Workplace™, please Contact Us today.
About Insight: Insight helps businesses around the world effectively manage today while simultaneously transforming the future. Its talented workforce provides expertise and IT solutions in multiple areas, such as Digital innovation, Cloud+Data Centre Transformation and Supply Chain Optimisation. As a result of its ongoing commitment to D&I, Insight is ranked in the Fortune Top 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity.