Our employees are fundamental to William Hill’s success and we are committed to high standards of employment practice, including rewarding individuals fairly and providing equality of opportunity training and development, flexible working and a safe workplace. In 2011, we were shortlisted for Britain's Most Admired Companies awards and voted the second in the Gambling sector.
Protecting our employees
We take the safety and security of our staff very seriously and are committed to protecting the welfare of our staff as far as possible. We have a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour in our shops and worked closely with the police to prosecute cases.
Following the notable results of reduction in attempted robbery in 2010, we continue to refresh and deploy our bespoke Counter Plan training to our shop employees. In October 2011, our Counter Plan Refresh Training Programme was awarded Security Training Initiative of the Year at the Security Excellence Awards.
We are also part of the Safe Bet Alliance (SBA), which has established a minimum set of standards for the betting industry to use to prevent robberies. Since it was introduced in May 2010, we have actively led the industry on promoting SBA nationally. It is now firmly embedded within London and, during 2011, we also forged closer working partnerships with police force in Strathclyde, Greater Manchester, Northumberland, West Midlands and Merseyside.
Health and safety
We are committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all persons in our employment and all other persons who use our facilities or are affected by the way in which we conduct our business, including customers, visitors, contractors and neighbours and the general public. Following an extensive review of our health and safety management system in 2011, we developed and rolled out a new health and safety manual and completed the employee training programme. In the past year, we worked with Westminster Council on a H&S inspection programme and have now been granted ‘Primary Authority’ status, which eventually allows us to agree a centralised and consistent approach across all local authority areas.
Training and development
We provide training for employees throughout their career with the Group, from an extensive induction programme at the start of their employment through any skills-training relevant to their particular role to further training and development opportunities such as secondments and special projects. In addition, we aim to identify individuals who demonstrate the personal drive and ability to operate at a more senior level. Our Talent Pool develops individuals with the potential to be senior managers and our Talent Academy develops individuals into management roles, supported by mentoring either by senior managers or external advisers. We develop operational excellence through management development workshops for our operations managers.
Employee remuneration and retention
We recognise the critical importance of remuneration, reward and recognition in encouraging employee engagement and, consequently retention. Following the success of our first ‘Good News Giveaway’ in 2010, we increased the total amount form £30,000 to £50,000 to encourage employees sending in their good news stories. It is also through these stories that we understood the difficulties and hardship they face both in life and at work. In recognition of this, we set up the William Hill Foundation in September 2011 to support those employees who are facing extreme financial difficulty. In helping to provide work/life balance, we have also introduced the ‘Birthday Day Off’, giving all employees an additional day’s holiday on their birthday so that they can celebrate with their friends and family.
These efforts supplement our existing programme aimed at building a culture of ‘pay-for-performance’. In 2011, we continued to implement the management bonus scheme introduced in 2010 across the Group, aligning individual performance with our business targets and differentially rewarding performance and contribution amongst the senior management team. Separately, we have revised the bonus scheme for our shop employees to reflect both turnover growth and the quality of their customer services.
We are committed to providing effective communication on matters that affect employees, including the development and performance of the Group. This is achieved through formal and informal meetings, and our in-house magazine, Will2Win, which is distributed six times a year to all employees.
Following our first Group-wide employee engagement survey held in 2010, we took steps to address the highlighted issues such as communication and a sense of belonging. In response to the survey, in early 2011 we asked our employees through focus groups about what working at William Hill means to them. As a result of the exercise, we defined The William Hill Way in four key principles, grouped under the acronym ‘HOME’, which is being adopted by all William Hill employees as a guidance of how we work with each other, how we behave towards our colleagues an how we deliver operational excellence. HOME is also helping us to foster a ‘one company’ mentality, supportive of our multi-channel strategy.
For our Retail staff, who represent more than 90% of our employees, we operate staff councils in each of our geographic regions and at Group level. Each council meets four times a year with the aim of providing an additional channel of consultation between directors, management and staff and to make the fullest use of employees’ experience and ideas. Representatives from the retail staff councils attend the National Staff Conference, held at least three times a year, which is chaired jointly by the Retail Operations Director and the Group Director of Human Resources. As part of our efforts to encourage employee engagement, we have operated an annual employee share save scheme since we floated in 2002.
William Hill Foundation
Founded in September 2011, the William Hill Foundation is a hardship fund that employees can request support from during times of extreme financial need. We commit to putting £100,000 per annum into the fund which is held in trust and is managed by four Trustees, one of whom is the Group Director of Human Resources, who also acts as Chairman of the Foundation. During 2011 the Trustees received 161 applications for support and £25,000 has been granted across the Group.
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