Whether we’re talking about our candidates, clients or employees, the business we’re in genuinely has the potential to change lives. Our mission this year, and on into the next, is to get from ‘good to great’. Here’s how we’ve got on.
We started the year with renewed positivity as lockdowns began to feel like a thing of the past and many of us got our plans back on track. The STR Group came out of 20/21 relatively unscathed and with an eye on the future. With some big projects already underway, we saw 2022 as an opportunity to further invest back into the business, our people and the wider community.
We began in January with a new-style breakfast club. With everything from tea to toast and coffee to crumpets, all employees are welcome to help themselves any time of the day. And our first Continental Club was all about healthy eating, encouraging those who fancied detoxing from the holidays!
March saw the return of our conference after a two-year break, with a celebration at Old Thorns. This was also when Olivia Breen was announced as our new EDI Ambassador. Olivia is a highly successful, multiple medal winning para-athlete, who won numerous accolades this year. We’re very proud to be supporting her.
Carrying through with the EDI theme, Clive Hutchings, our Executive Director and Founder, set up the STR Group EDI Board with (originally 6, now 8) like-minded individuals. And we’ve already established gender-neutral toilets, EDI training, and a Nursing/Prayer/Meditation room. We’re currently working with Solent University on an artwork competition and will look to engage more closely with our local communities to both invest in and represent them better in 2023.
In April, we introduced our new Employee Engagement Surveys to staff. This investment makes it easier for us to get feedback from employees, see where we can improve and implement new initiatives to increase workforce motivation and morale.
From this, the Employee Representatives Board and Social Committee have been established. The Social Committee has already held a number of lunchtime and evening activities and the Reps Board
May saw our brands formerly known as Group Services and Stream relaunch as Insignis. With its new look, the feedback from both candidates and clients has been hugely positive. We launched our new Learning Development platform, which features tailored CPD content to every employee.
June saw us award a £500 cost-of-living bonus to all staff. As concerns grew around inflation, the company gave all 144 employees a £500 bonus at a cost of about £80,000 to help with rising inflation in June 2022. Full article HERE.
In July, we trialled summer trading hours for the first time, finishing early on a Friday so our team could enjoy the warmer days and lighter evenings. It was a hugely popular move with our employees and we look forward to running it again in 2023, this time from June to September. Full article HERE.
Our Summer event was held in August at the Alchemist in Portsmouth; we hired out the entire ground floor and were treated to some very impressive drinks, food and magic tricks!
This year, we invested £500,000 in refurbishment and in November, we officially opened our renovated ground-floor. Formerly open plan, the space was divided into each of our 6 brands, redecorated and upgraded, so each team has a strong sense of identity and belonging. The shared, fully-equipped kitchen spaces include pool table, games and TVs, to encourage employees to relax and socialise as a whole group, and ensure they remain feeling part of something bigger.
With the year drawing to a close, in December we announced £250,000 worth of salary increases. STR made significant changes to its salary bandings across the business, which sees over £250,000 worth of increase across a staff of 150 from January 2023. Full article HERE.
We were also very proud to be highly commended at the Global Recruiter Awards for our Inhouse Training, Learning and Development provision, as well as shortlisted by the REC for Best People Development Business.
We ended the year with a bang at our Christmas party at the Hilton at the Ageas in Southampton. It was our first Christmas party in a few years for the entire group and the feedback from all employees was overwhelmingly positive. It was wonderful to celebrate a great year and close off 2022 all together.
“We’ve established a number of inititatives and carried out numerous projects this year with the overarching aim to invest in our staff and get from good to great. The employee satisfaction survey results and NFI posted this year already have exceeded our expectations, and show that we are well on our way.
I’m incredibly proud of all our staff for the hardwork they’ve put in this year. A massive thank you from the entire Board.”
Brett Stephens, Group Operations Director
Finally, with 2023 on the horizon, we’re proud to announce that Clive, who sits on the REC’s EPC Policy Committee has been influencing their manifesto with positive change. His aim is to increase the limit on international students working in the UK for post-study for 2 years to 5, and make it a less ambiguous process. It would mean that those trained and educated in the UK can enter our economy add to the communities in which we work.
Come back to our blog next year to find out what happens!