A work/life balance is an important element of any career; our office welcomes those who arrive at 7am while making sure everyone is pursuing their own independent interest by no later than 5pm, and out-of-hours email is kept to a minimum. An ‘always-on’ culture is toxic to a person’s wellbeing because it’s conductive to stress and – paradoxically – unlikely to produce a person’s best work. The mental and physical health of your employees should be the priority of any CEO because they are crucial to the success of the organisation.
When one of our longest-serving engineers, John Klikucs struggled to ease the pain of the chronic skin condition he suffers from named Darier’s disease, our staff rallied around to help him: “When I started Vickers I had just started new treatments for my skin and I work up one morning to find my arm had completely swollen up – I didn’t know what was going on. When hospital treatment was required due to these flares it was the visits at hospital and cards with witty comments that helped to keep me going. I was also helped with trains to London to see further specialists for laser treatments so when I went back to work afterwards it felt like visiting family.” This kind of altruistic ethos has existed for decades at Vickers and yet we’ve never declared it. We’ve grown to think that maybe we should.
We’ve used the Investors in People framework as a reference point to guide us on the path to create a work environment so satisfying we qualify for inclusion in The Times list of the top 100 companies to work for in the UK. That said, the journey towards the goal is more important than achieving the accreditation. All members of staff are allowed to suggest ideas for improvement by putting their thoughts into the anonymous ‘suggestions box’ or sending an email (– the more eco-friendly yet less mysterious option) and these changes are implemented soon afterwards. Recent examples include replacing paper towels with the more hygienic mechanical hand-dryer, providing fresh fruit for all to enjoy everyday and allowing staff to adopt a more comfortable style on ‘dress-down’ Fridays. What better way to create a great working culture than by listening to the voices of people who will be directly affected by company changes?
Our 25th anniversary has prompted us to take stock of how far we’ve grown and where we’re going. Since we’re invested in thought leadership with regards to behavioural change, we’re creating a company that is agile enough to flex its way through changing market forces. Ultimately, what better way to inspire progression than leading by example? We’ve also devised a technology roadmap that will keep us ahead of the competition and give businesses the best system out of the choices available in the Industrial Internet of Things. This summer also sees the launch of our VX42Pro – a facelift of our most recent model featuring an interactive touch screen in a small black enclosure that provides our customers with the best update available. As a leading force in industrial clean tech, our technical team plan to add wireless sensors to this model by October. Our staff are the driving force towards taking our customer forward with their energy saving by allowing them to make considered choices in the Third Way with all the available facts and options available across a full range of solutions; available to buy; lease; or ‘As a Service’. The progress doesn’t stop there as next year we will be unveiling a single board computer compatible with old outstations and predictive weather response with a view to revisit this a few years afterwards. A more people-centric Vickers workplace is also proud to admit we’re free of legacy process and paper based knowledge management thanks to the constant efforts of our hard-working staff. Staff recognition is too often overlooked as an advisable style of people management.
Moving forward is the priority but this does not necessarily denote the beginning of a cultural journey as much as the new practice of vocalising the great things Vickers has within itself already. It’s a real asset to have the most recent influx of new starter’s state they walked into a friendly environment where everybody helps each other because it usually takes a lot of policy rewriting and training to achieve this. Our newest recruit in the Marketing department, Katie Lionheart commented on the ‘open and friendly’ atmosphere at Vickers in the monthly company newsletter, before going on to add “The atmosphere at Vickers feels like a close-knit team where your happiness improves your work ethic and yet it’s still a professional environment where we’re passionate about doing the job at hand.”
We attained this view by hiring talented people with potential and nurturing them to bolster the collective effort in reaching our mission: to help save the planet.