IIP Awards 21 – Employer of the Year: Platinum (250+): ACT Training

Written by Investors In People

IIP Awards 21 – Employer of the Year: Platinum (250+): ACT Training

Our Employer of the Year Award is where we work out the Top 20 UK based organisations (in the relevant Award Level and Size Band) and enter them into the award.

The winner in this year’s Employer of the year Investors in People Platinum level with 50-249 employees was ACT Training – a fantastic opportunity to learn what winning in this prestigious category requires.

We caught up with them to find out how they plan to use the award to fulfil their ambitions in 2022.

Why do you think you won the award, and how did you exceed the judges’ expectations?

While ACT came up against some tough competition, we believe it was our strong focus on the continued happiness and engagement of all staff, along with our commitment to maintaining a positive people-centred culture, that secured us the award.

At ACT, staff happiness is one of our four strategic aims, setting us apart from other organisations. ACT goes the extra mile to ensure teams feel supported, empowered and recognised for the incredible work they do every day. It has a well-established coaching culture throughout the organisation, which allows it to use coaching as a development tool. This lets staff come up with their solutions to problems, and they have the freedom and autonomy to do the right thing for learners.

We have focused and invested heavily into the wellbeing of our teams during the most difficult of years for everyone, particularly in the education sector. ACT overcame many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on wellbeing that helped secure an unwavering team spirit. It also invested in designated pod spaces for quiet working. Centres were closed at noon on more than 30 Fridays to improve staff wellbeing.

The winning moment. Where were you? Who was there? What was the reaction?

ACT’s Directors and Senior Management Team held an IIP Awards viewing reception at its headquarters in Cardiff, with the live awards streamed on a big screen in the conference room. This was a huge moment for ACT, so everyone was very excited, and an air of nervous anticipation gripped all in the room. Our IIP Practitioner Kevin Christie, who supported us throughout our IIP journey, was also in attendance. When it was announced that ACT was the new UK Employer of the Year: Platinum (250+), a huge cheer went up, and everyone leapt into the air with joy!

How do you and your people feel about winning the award?

Richard Spear, Managing Director of ACT, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious award in the face of incredibly strong competition. The award will inspire us to do even more to make ACT a brilliant place to work.”

Andrew Cooksley, CEO of ACT, said: “I’m absolutely knocked out by this award. It’s by far our best achievement to date. It’s a testament to the investment we’ve made in our staff and their development.

“It’s clear to us that good staff engagement, wellbeing and happiness is the bedrock of a successful organisation.”

He added: “Hopefully, through achieving this award, we can lead by example and encourage and support other organisations across Wales and the UK to further invest in their people and reap the huge rewards.

Who would you like to thank?

We’d like to thank all of our fantastic staff, learners, employers, partners and the judging panel at Investors in People, along with our practitioner Kevin Christie, for this incredible honour. We would also like to extend special gratitude to our very own People & Development Team, who worked tirelessly to secure this amazing result. They have truly gone above and beyond!

What impact will winning this award have on your organisation?

This award will help immensely in boosting the reputation of ACT, with stakeholders at all levels feeling its impact. We will proudly hold this award high, as it showcases the organisation as one of the best employers in the UK and demonstrates a continued strategy for making work better for staff. This will help hugely with the recruitment and retention of the most talented staff in our sector, who share our values and objectives.

As proof of our core principles, the award sets a new benchmark for ACT, and we will proudly lead by example. ACT will continue to encourage, support and inspire other organisations as a success story that shows that investing in people – along with solid staff training – reaps huge rewards.

What would they be if you could pass your secrets to success onto future entrants in your category? 

The most important ingredient to ACT’s success is simple – staff happiness. Putting staff happiness and engagement at the top of the agenda for leaders is central to all decisions.

Our staff live and breathe our core values. They are embedded into all HR processes, including recruitment, induction and performance management and are part of the fabric of ACT.

We ensure the Employee Voice is heard loud and clear in several ways. Staff have the opportunity to raise topics, ask questions and discuss issues at regular Staff Council Meetings, and the minutes of these are circulated to all staff. Senior management also operates an “open-door policy”, ensuring they are accessible to all.

We are now further investing in our successful coaching culture to empower staff to implement the best solutions for learners. We’ll continue to build our bank of professionally accredited coaches from 15 to 30.

How can you become the best organisation you can be? 

Most of our winners are Investors in People Accredited, which means they hold one of our prestigious accreditations, which will be in wellbeing, people management or apprentices

Their commitment to continuous improvement ensures they’re always improving work for their people and have a better chance of winning one of our awards. 

About Investors in People

Investors in People have been working with a huge range of big and small organisations from Public Sectors, SMEs, Charities, PLCs and anything in between for over 30 years. We have accredited more than 50,000 organisations and our  accreditation is recognised in 66 countries around the world, making it the global benchmark when it comes to people management. So we know we speak your language and can offer the specific kind of support and guidance your organisation needs.

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14th Nov 2023 | Old Billingsgate, London



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