What does being a finalist for ‘Employer of the Year – Gold’ mean to you?

OTD is a Birmingham-based global training and coaching business with a passion for inspiring people. Founded in 2007 by Andy Crotty and Chris Cummins, they‘ve developed a reputation for delivering sustainable results and customer excellence.

OTD delivers a suite of innovative leadership/development programmes – including Power Presenter, Carpe Diem Coaching and Resilience – to blue-chip brands in life sciences, electronics and sports retail in more than 60 countries.

They tell customers there are no limits to what they can achieve and apply the same mantra to their people. That’s why they deliver all of their life-changing programmes to 14 full-time employees and more than 110 associate business coaches worldwide.

As an employer, OTD simply strives to make every day an opportunity to be the very best they can be.

We caught up with co-founders Andy Crotty and Chris Cummins to discuss events leading up to their shortlisting, what an award would mean to them and what the future holds.

Why did you enter The Investors in People Awards 2021?

We entered the awards because it provides an excellent opportunity to test our policies and practices. It was a chance to demonstrate our commitment to being a great place to work and involve our team in an initiative renowned worldwide. As a global business, that’s something fundamental to us.

Above all, we want to keep on improving, and the best way of doing so is by talking to and learning from others. We think The Investors in People Awards is something that every business serious about delivering better and more productive workplaces should be part of.

Are there any goals or challenges you hope an award will help you achieve or solve?

An award won’t help us solve any challenges, but it will give OTD greater credibility with our global customers.

Being shortlisted alone has demonstrated that we proudly practice what we preach by investing in our people at every opportunity as a business. 

Tell us what distinguishes you from other companies in the category you’re shortlisted in.

We inspire people in everything we do, not only in the UK but in 60 countries worldwide. 

It’s all based on creating lasting and positive change – from the way we think to the habits we form.

We can only achieve that through the diversity of our team, and that starts at the very top; race, gender and everything in between is no barrier to success in our business.

We also communicate regularly and effectively. That’s not limited to top-down communication; it’s about engaging people in multiple activities, from team days to surveys, briefings, videos, newsletters and online forums.

We have formal structures for development and appraisals, but we’re also spontaneous, which is why we eat, talk, and play together frequently.

We invest in local talent; we’re committed to using local suppliers. We’ve become active participants in our community through the financial and volunteering support of our four handpicked grassroots charities. We even increased the time and money we donated last year.

The pandemic was hugely challenging for every business. We’re proud that we worked together to support each other and keep everyone in employment: no one was placed on furlough, salaries were paid in full, and we even awarded bonuses.

The reason? We’re fortunate that we’ve developed a solid and loyal customer base. Still, we also worked quickly to provide the technology to enable our team to adapt to virtual working – delivering printers, chairs, desks and green screens to people’s homes. Our team put everything they had into making sure we continued to provide. Still, we the service our customers deserve.

What does being shortlisted mean to everyone at your company?

We’re incredibly proud to be shortlisted; it means a huge amount to us. We aren’t a business that traditionally pitches for awards, which was carefully considered before starting the process a few years ago.

Ordinarily, you could well have expected an infectiously enthusiastic team of people to have descended from the Midlands for the awards ceremony. Still, we’re just as excited to be part of a virtual event!

We are planning to hire a room and will have the awards ceremony projected on a big screen. We want to use the occasion to recognise our people, and whatever the result, we’ll be celebrating the achievements of our teams and those who are shortlisted.

What would it mean to win?

Genuinely, it would be an incredible honour, and you could probably hear the celebrations from Birmingham wherever you are!

But without being cliched, we’re thrilled to be shortlisted and consider that to be a significant achievement in its own right. This is about a continual journey of improvement and doing the right things.

How does being shortlisted benefit your customers?

It benefits them from talking about investing in their people with even greater credibility than ever before.

We have a proud and proven track record in helping global companies to support their people in reaching their potential.

Most of our business comes from repeat custom, so we know that our expertise and approach is highly valued.

Being shortlisted just provides additional credence to the work that we do.

It also allows us to talk in more depth about how we achieved the shortlisting – many people and organisations have been curious about it and want to learn more. We think that can only be a positive thing.

How would you use being the recipient of this award to influence others?

We just want to help businesses to be better places for people to work.

There is data to demonstrate that as employees, we trust our employers more than our governments. That places an incredible weight of responsibility on the shoulders of business leaders to do the right thing.

We firmly believe that there are responsibilities – such as nurturing young talent, supporting local communities and encouraging diversity at every level – that we all need to take seriously and act on. We want to see more female leaders running successful businesses and more talented black people featured in Britain’s boardrooms.

If we win the award, our primary intention is not to seek widespread promotion of our own business but to use the platform to highlight the positive force for change and progression that The Investors in People movement can be.

What can we expect to see from your organisation in the next 12 months? (And beyond!)

Our main objective is to continue improving our workplace for our people, rather than shaping what we do to win an award. We want good practice and behaviours to continue to be an intrinsic part of what OTD is all about.

We’re an ambitious bunch of people, and we don’t intend to stop at Gold! We aim to achieve Platinum, and work has already begun to help us become an even better place to work.

For instance, we’ve started quarterly IiP focus meetings, where we review existing initiatives, discuss new ones being put in place, and involve our team in the decision-making process. 

What advice would you give to anyone applying for The Investors in People Awards 2022?

Just do it! Entering The Investors in People Awards 2022 has been an incredibly positive experience for our people and business.

It will help you look at your business differently and provide a framework for implementing improvements that will bring lasting benefits from operational performance to employee wellbeing.

Ultimately it all sends a strong message to your people that you’re an organisation that puts their needs first.

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