Gateshead College named one of Britain's best places to work

For the third time in a row Gateshead College has been named among Britain's 100 Best Not for Profit Organisations to Work For, after its commitment to its employees has achieved national recognition.

It is the only college in the North East to make The Sunday Times Best Not for Profit Organisations to Work For 2012 survey and is one of 10 North East regional organisations to feature.

Building on last year's success, the college has continued to improve engagement levels to secure its one star accreditation or 'first class' status for the way it engages with its employees with scores improving further on last year.

The college's highest ranking factor was 'My Company' which illustrates how much people value the organisation, how proud they are to work there and whether they feel they make a difference.

The college also scored very highly when it comes to employee perceptions about levels of customer and client service.

In a new category, service was seen by employees as fundamental to everything the college does and across all departments great strides were being made to continually improve quality levels.

Employees also gave the thumbs up to the senior management team's commitment to providing a top drawer service and felt customers could trust the college to deliver training excellence.

Principal Richard Thorold said: "We want Gateshead College to be the employer of choice, so it's vital to gauge how employees feel about working here.

He added: "Having an engaged workforce is key to business success, when times are hard it is even more important to take care of your people, they are our most important asset and it is this which will give us our advantage.

"The survey reaffirms that we are doing the right things and doing them well.  
However, we won't be resting on our laurels as we will continue to look at areas which can be improved.

"Our ambition is create an environment where the staff can feel happy and fulfilled at work and achieve in their role. If they are, I am confident that our students and customers will have a great experience too.

"I'm absolutely committed to making sure that Gateshead College continues to be among the country's best places to work."

This is the latest success for Gateshead College which has achieved an 'outstanding' Ofsted report, a Learning and Skills Beacon status award, and the Service Network's Culture for Success Award.

It has pioneered several initiatives including a staff engagement programme featuring 'Fit for Life', a wellbeing scheme which provides free gym membership to all staff and health-focused initiatives throughout the year. Following feedback from the survey the college introduced an employee benefit scheme, iBenefits - giving savings on everyday items to all employees free of charge.

An annual staff conference culminates in an Oscar-style awards ceremony where winners are voted for by their peers and employees get personal attention with everything from birthday cards to baby grows for new additions to the family.

The College works closely with the local community supporting local primary schools, charities and sharing its resources and facilities.

Best Companies established the accreditation award scheme to acknowledge excellence in the workplace. Based on staff feedback, it looks at employee engagement as an integral part of a company's success and growth, and sets a benchmark for other employers.

The accreditation scheme follows a Michelin star style system with companies awarded one star for first class, two stars for outstanding and three stars for extraordinary performance. There is also a 'one to watch' category for companies that are on the right track but have not reached star status yet.

This year 12%of companies that took part did not achieve accreditation or 'one to watch' status.

Jonathan Austin, CEO and founder of Best Companies, said: "This year it is encouraging to see that so many Not for Profit organisations are recognising the value of employee engagement and are willing to benchmark themselves against the best to ensure they are offering their employees the best possible experience.

"Organisations that secured their place on The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For lists are among the very best employers in the country and I am very proud to recognise them for that achievement."

Best Companies has been making an impact on Workplace Engagement since 2000. As the name behind The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For lists, Best Companies conducts the largest Workplace Engagement survey in the world, having surveyed 1.8 million employees from 3,270 organisations. Best Companies also produces an accreditation scheme for organisations that demonstrate high levels of employee engagement. For more information visit www.bestcompanies.co.uk