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Employer of the Year award reader vote: Brainlabs

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The 18th annual Amazon Growing Business Awards are back with a bang on 30 November, but before then we need your help to determine which business will take the coveted Employer of the Year prize home.

We’ve got a shortlist bursting with innovation, achievement and drive to put staff first and foremost. In this article you get to hear from Brainlabs about why it feels worthy of the accolade, but make sure to check out the other seven companies vying for your vote before making a selection.

The Brainlabs Employer of the Year pitch

We have streamlined our recruitment process using technology that automates the screening and scoring of candidates. Our attrition rate in 2015 was seven per cent, and this year we’ve gained 28 new recruits, losing one. We are completely focused on collaboration, productivity and a desire to learn and improve. Amongst other schemes, we operate a library system where staff can order and rent any book, as well as daily cross‐departmental talks by any member of the company on topics from work and wellbeing to “What would happen if the world suddenly stopped spinning?” (if you’re wondering, it’s not good news.)

Our Brainlabs quarterly feedback process was itself formulated from a company‐wide vote: surveys quiz employees on four main aspects of their colleagues’, and their own, performance and contribution to the company’s culture. On top of this, both weekly and monthly surveys followed by one-to-ones check in on general happiness levels, and what managers can do to resolve issues and spark progress. Managers are seen as “enablers” – they should support their team rather than instruct them. Everyone also holds training sessions to junior members of the company – we believe that training is a fantastic way to learn.

Monthly treats, from cooking classes to escape room trips, consistently lead to higher happiness self‐assessments scores. Everyone is encouraged to take frequent breaks, have a game of Mario Kart, enjoy the free breakfast and lunch, take unlimited holiday or work at flexible hours. We’re also aware of the importance of pleasant surprises; unexpected cupcakes in the office or guest expert speakers in relevant fields have had a huge impact on employee happiness, with 60 per cent mentioning them in their next weekly survey as something they are grateful for. “Company Update” every Friday brings everybody at Brainlabs together to celebrate client successes, update everyone on company plans and discuss concerns, with food and drinks provided.

We work with small charities on a pro‐bono basis as well as with Which? Magazine and Unicef. Brainlabbers are invited to spend ten per cent of their time working on charitable causes or to sign up to the payroll giving scheme. We also run fortnightly sessions for local Year Three students about sustainability and healthy eating, while we’ve also set up a work experience scheme for local Year Ten students. Our Brainlabs environmental committee has adopted both the cycle and walk to work schemes, office energy‐saving and waste management policies.

We make a conscious effort to prevent unconscious bias in recruitment. For example, we removed unnecessary eligibility requirements from job adverts, which deter women from applying at the same rate as men. We have extended these efforts into the realm of employee development by increasing women’s pay by 8.6 per cent, the difference between the average men’s and women’s salaries, which we normalised only for experience after a company‐wide vote. This was covered by the BBC and The Guardian.

Have a look at the other Employer of the Year shortlisted businesses:

 

Make your vote count by picking your favourite for the Employer of the Year category at the 2016 Amazon Growing Business Awards below.

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