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Last week we were delighted to receive our score from the annual best company to work for survey. For the 8th year running, we received the top-level accreditation (3*), which, given the challenges of the last 12 months, we are incredibly proud of.

To an extent, I think we are as proud of this as when we won 'best company to work for' in 2018. 2020 provided an unprecedented challenge for all of us, and it is when the pressure is on that you truly understand what your team is made of. Our people adapted incredibly, working as one team to fully adopt homeworking, drive efficiency through our business, improve the information we needed to navigate through the year and provide excellent service to our customers.

We won't know until May what our final position is. However, this is such an encouraging result and is a testament to the hard work, energy and attitude our people have displayed, supporting each other and our customers as we adapted together. 

As we reflect on what we did to achieve this result and what we could have done to do better, I think that the main areas of success are as follows:

Technology

We were already heavily invested in technology that allowed us easily to work from anywhere and continue to collaborate, so when Covid hit last year – we were able to react quickly. We always try to use the same tools we are selling, and I think our two critical platforms for keeping our people happy were MS 365, especially MS Teams, and our Cloud Voice phone system.

Engagement

We have always worked hard to keep our people engaged: Monthly 121s using our Engage app, daily status updates using Power Apps, daily morale reporting from Power BI, monthly Q&As, board stand-ups, virtual quizzes and pub clubs, focus on physical and mental wellbeing, Charitable giving, and team huddles using Teams all played their part in keeping our people feeling like they were part of a family.

People

We have always recruited for attitude and energy, and this year, I have to say, we discovered what a great group of people we are lucky enough to work with. Resilience is a word often repeated in the news now, and as the months have progressed, I continue to be so impressed with how well our people cope with whatever the world throws at them. You simply cannot be a great place to work without great people!

As for doing better?

The key thing we are looking at based on our people's feedback is how to help them grow and thrive in this new world. The fantastic news is that we are already working with the technology that is powering business change at the moment, which presents an excellent opportunity for all of us to grow and learn new skills. We continue to ramp up our investment in knowledge and learning so that as our business will grow our people will people grow, and we can continue to work with our customers to maximise the opportunity we all have for an exciting future.

Reflecting on some of the #Chessmoments that have led us to achieve 11 years in the top 10 and first place in 2018.

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Mark Lightfoot

Mark Lightfoot

Mark Lightfoot stepped in the CEO role in 2018. He joined Chess as financial director in 2008 and was most recently chief financial officer. Mark drives outstanding performance across his team, ensuring great financial control, and has a proven track record in building external relationships and securing financial support as we continue our growth journey


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