All companies are chasing that elusive great culture. That intangible ethos that sets the tone of what’s expected within a business from all employees, from the MD to the apprentices, and the work ethic to deliver on those expectations.
MVIS and Bartco UK prides itself on culture, and their employees adopt the company principles every day.
As employees develop with the company, they experience new things that can spark an interest, demonstrate a particular skill or just show a new level of responsibility. As a result of being so well trained, their staff are extremely strong assets and like anything in business, they need to be distributed in a way that is going to get the most out of them.
But what makes the company workforce so capable and committed?
We spoke to General Manager Anne Ashman about the process of identifying talent, skillsets, and creating the culture for employees to thrive.
HI: Firstly and rather broadly Anne, what do you look for in an employee?
AA: “It’s more about the actual person for us, their work ethic and attitude.
“At MVIS and Bartco UK it is vital to be highly adaptable, and extremely organised.
“We are also an extremely close team, so anyone who comes onboard needs to fit in with the MVIS/Bartco ‘family culture’. That, above all else is perhaps the most important point. Skills can be learned, but attitude cannot.
“We have a very strong training program in place, so we have no doubts we can upskill an individual with the right personal qualities.
“I personally place the greatest emphasis on delivering the best customer service, so anyone who joins our team needs to understand and buy into that that is what we are working diligently to deliver.
HI: How would you say you identify talent, whether that’s at an interview, careers fayre or apprenticeship application? Then further talent ID once a rookie is in the door?
“I can often get a good feel from a CV and the way it is written if a person is going to be a good fit for us, but I use a scoring system to make sure it is fair. The best then get an interview.
“I also tend to invite the best two in for a trial to see if they are right for us, and also if we as a company are
right for them – it’s a two-way exchange.
“We take a lot of apprentices on, train them and retain them. Most of these apprentices come following work experience with us, so they quite naturally ask about a job. We actually have a waiting list at the moment of past work experience students who want a position at MVIS & Bartco UK!
“If we could offer them all a position we would, one of my values is growth and education for young people in the workplace, as I think the ‘youth of today’ often get a bad reputation and subsequently get some less appealing positions
“We have found that if you take the time, you can mould them into what a company needs – we have seen this first hand so many times with our staff as Dom (Assistant Operations Manager), Tillie (Marketing Assistant) and Rebecca (Purchasing Supervisor) are all prime examples of this.”
Promoting from within
HI: With so many examples of apprentices climbing the company hierarchy, when do you know the time is right to take an employee to their next step? And how do you identify the right fit?
AA: “If a new role is needed, or someone higher up the chain leaves and we feel we have the skillset within, we look to take that route rather than recruit externally. Someone who already understands our methods and values, that we know we can trust to perform are in a prime position.
“I am very much about constantly evaluating a person’s skills, seeing how they develop and grow, and as a result – if they then need a new challenge.
“Part of our employee review process includes asking all staff what their values are in both life, and the workplace so we obtain regular, current insight into what makes our people tick. Once we know this, we can see what they want to achieve – and can work with them to achieve it.
“As just one example, Tim, our Workshop Supervisor started with the company as a delivery driver. I recognised he had other skills, skills that we needed in our workshop. So, I asked him to move roles to become a technician,
“At first, he was unsure, but when I went through the role with him and what the future opportunities were, he moved roles enthusiastically. Last year, Tim was promoted to Workshop Supervisor, as I had identified that Tom, who was the incumbent supervisor of the workshop, had developed a skillset that had grown through the training the company had given him and I needed him to move in to a more technical role,
“This left the workshop supervisor role available, and Tim was the exact person we needed as the other staff in this area all look up to Tim as a leader. He sets a great example.
“Tim’s progression is exactly the type of story that makes us take the approach of ‘Why always bring in new people when you can promote from within if you have the right person?’
“As we say, skills can be learned, but attitude often cannot.”
Find the role that suits your employee: Tillie Wooliscroft
Anne told us:
“Tillie worked as operations admin when she came on board at 16 as one of our apprentices, however it was very clear to me her talents laid elsewhere.
“I very quickly saw how creative she was, so when I decided to step away from our former marketing agency and bring marketing in-house, Tillie was the first person I asked to come in to the new department and further her skillset under Sean, our now Marketing Manager.
“I hate to see talent wasted and Tillie’s really was wasted in operations, the work she produces, and her artistic eye is amazing.”
HI: How do you decide who to promote?
AA: “We identify the staff who have the most to give and crave a new, or greater challenge. Some of our staff thrive on responsibility and have high aspirations. As they are so outward with their ambitions, we’re always aware of the people who are chomping at the bit to further their careers with us.
“We also have staff who are very happy in their current roles and don’t particularly vocalise that they want a new challenge. Yet, their opportunities for further training and progression is never blocked by the more vocal employees. Regular reviews about aspirations ensure we know where our staff see their futures, and therefore we know who wants to be in the mix when an opportunity becomes available.
“A company is only as good as the talent it employs, and we believe that if you want to deliver a quality service and product you need quality staff, this comes from firstly identifying a quality person, and then allowing them to grow personally by upskilling them, allowing them to have an opinion and voice that counts. That’s our ‘family’ approach, and our people know that they all matter.”