What makes this firm such good employers?
- Credit: Archant
In the first of a monthly series celebrating Norfolk and Suffolk's Best Employers, CAROLINE CULOT speaks to Sarah Cossey, executive finance director of Concertus to find out on what makes the firm tick
Winners of last year's Best Employers' Best Large Company award, Concertus has a proven track record of making their workplace somewhere people want to be.
Based in Ipswich, the firm prides itself on doing things differently to ensure its employees really want to come to work, are happy when there and feel invested in for the future.
The results are that Concertus, expecting to exceed an £8m turnover this year, see fewer people leaving for anything other than exceptional circumstances. So, they are not losing staff – totalling 117 – to their competition and the average sickness rate has also been reduced.
'When I joined the company in 2013, it became instantly apparent that we wanted to be a family where employees enjoyed coming to work,' explained executive finance director Sarah Cossey.. 'I didn't want anyone to have that Sunday night dread, we wanted people to enjoy themselves and be the best they could be.
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'It started out with doing fairly small things like holding a few quiz nights and ordering in pizza for staff and it just grew.'
When Concertus moved to a new office in July 2017 on Friars Bridge Road, it gave them an opportunity to go the extra mile for staff by creating a 'non working' area with table tennis and a pool table as well as televisions and sofas. This area is also fully set up for staff social events after hours including the much-loved 'Beer Fridays' as well as bingo evenings, movie screenings and competitions.
Such social activity has been so successful the firm has started its own 'entertainment scheme' whereby employees pay a small sum which is matched by the firm which goes towards holding more fun events.
'It's about collaboration,' said Sarah. 'At Concertus we have a mix of professions from estate surveyors to designers, accountants, very different personnel and by having a space for relaxing, it has encouraged people to mix who wouldn't have perhaps had the opportunity.'
But Sarah is determined Concertus is about more than this – She is adamant it is in the firm's DNA to invest in the employees to enable them to perform better. 'It's a package; we invest in you and you invest in us to help us be more productive and more efficient.' she added.
In return, Concertus really encourages health and wellbeing so promotes fitness, physical and mental health initiatives with a corporate gym membership, in-office and external fitness classes and competitions, health consultations, flu jabs and regular delivery of fruit, nuts and seeds.
Mental health is vital too so Concertus offers regular holistic therapies organised as a way of de-stressing including desk massages for all staff, talks on sleeping better and coping with anxiety. Financial wellbeing is also important with employer pension contributions above the national threshold.
Concertus also invests heavily in training and development. It has rolled out a performance management software package for employees which puts into place performance and personal objectives and states the measures of success for achievement. The software allows for regular six to eight weekly 'check-ins' with management, where each objective is discussed.
Many employees are also supported in studying academic qualifications for their profession. All trainees are supported financially, with paid weekly study days and have an appointed mentor who will support them with all project work. Graduate programmes are also in place within the estates team and the building services team.
Why would you ever want to leave?