Being listed in the prestigious Sunday Times ‘Top 100 Companies to work for‘ is often something HR Managers aspire to.
It goes without saying that you want appreciation from the C-Suite, but there is nothing that satisfies HR Managers more than recognition for doing a good job for the people they look after, by the people they look after. Unlike many such lists, for the Sunday Times list, it’s the staff themselves – whether they’re lawyers, mechanics or shop assistants – who share feedback about their employers and their working environments which determine who the winners are, and small businesses can run alongside the big corporates.
We spoke to Natasha Waterfield, Head of Human Resources at New World Trading Company who were listed this year and she was happy to share the secrets of the company’s success:
Congratulations on making the list – what do you think the Sunday Times were most impressed by?
I think our commitment to putting people at the forefront of everything we do and every decision we make. Also our innovation with the Tribes project, our focus on the project lies deeply within our company culture, as we’re looking for each team member to feel part of the New World family as we grow so quickly. It’s an incredible project, where we get teams together across the country and join them in having a great time together, for “no strings attached” fun. The development and love between the internal relationships in New World is what makes the company so special. Providing our staff also with an app platform to communicate and win prizes every day.
What is your engagement strategy to keep staff motivated?
The Tribes project was launched in May 2016 after 12 months of development and we see it as being vital to the future success of the company, as the fast growth of NWTC presents many threats to a smooth operation. Tribes presents amazing opportunities for NWTC to bring employees together, organise events based around the wants and desires of team members, and to reward employees on a regular basis on a platform solely developed for fun. Competitions, rewards, prizes and benefits are communicated through the Tribes app – which also works as a social media platform for team members to communicate with each other from across the country. There’s no hidden catch with Tribes, the project rewards and inspires hard working team members, and engages the full team through team spirit.
It is our inspirational way to make employees feel valued, and feel part of something incredible, and is our primary technique to be able to share our values and vision in unexpected and exciting ways. Our vision to pioneer to pub industry is mirrored in Tribes – where we pioneer the way in which leaders can engage their teams.
What is your background and how long have you worked at NWTC?
I started my HR career in the Engineering industry progressing from a HR Graduate, which allowed me to study my MSc in HR during the evening, to a HR Advisor. Whilst the engineering industry gave me a great number of years grounding in HR, my love for the excitement of the experience of being a diner in Hospitality drew me to the industry. I started with Living Ventures as a HR Advisor and fell in love with everything NWTC taking the role as HR Manager and now coming up to 2 and a half years later heading up the HR department.
My key focus was to transition the HR department from a Head Office function and become part of the wider operations. Myself and the team spend a large proportion of our working weeks out in our sites not only supporting the management teams but making sure that we are a familiar face rather than just a number in a manual.
We are continually making changes and innovating our approach to HR and the whole company, it’s important that we never stand still! This is important for the success of the business as a whole, and the happiness of our teams, which is a continual focus for me.
In fact, since the Sunday Times success, we’ve held a variety of focus groups and have launched an internal newsletter to improve our communication. We also currently have further changes in the pipeline based on the feedback that we will implement later this year.
What are your plans moving forward in 2017 and beyond?
Our growth strategy for the business involves the opening of new sites, and for HR department our plans are to keep supporting and developing our talented teams across the country continuing to offer real career progression opportunities – but we are also doing CSR work to help the community too.
After a great charity campaign for Barnardo’s last September, raising a successful £43,000 in one month, but also involving numerous team members across the estate in incredible projects. We had members delivering cookery courses to disadvantaged families, jumping out of planes and climbing mountains to raise money, and organising numerous respite and fundraising events.
This year and beyond will see our involvement in local communities grow exponentially, both for local and national charities.
We are growing our partnership with Pure Innovation, who provide fully paid working opportunities for people with learning difficulties and disabilities. This will be another big focus for the department for the future of NWTC.
Finally, as an HR Manager, how did it feel to be listed?
As a company it was one of the most exciting moments we’ve had to date, we celebrated the accolade properly and are just delighted that our teams love working for the company! We also hope it will open the doors to attracting more of the best talent in the industry to join us as we grow. As well as this it allowed us a proper insight into how our teams feel and think and how we can continue to make the company an even better place to work.
It only remains for HR News to congratulate Natasha and her team, and wish her the best of luck going forward.