Our strategy sets out different goals for our three divisions but we remain 'one William Hill', united by our brand, our values and our culture
William Hill - and the wider gambling industry - is experiencing a period of unprecedented change as regulatory developments, consumer trends such as the adoption of mobile gambling and evolving societal expectations of gambling companies redefine our landscape.
We are responding to these important changes through our five-year strategy and by changing our culture, building talent, evolving ways of working and increasing our diversity.
Our culture is shaped and underpinned by our values. These are designed to protect what is already great about our business while providing the aspiration we need to drive change. They are provocative, simple and direct, and define what is expected of all our colleagues every day. These have been embedded into our people processes, from performance management to how we recruit and recognise colleagues.
Culture change starts at the top so we have also created leadership 'vitals', which are the additional behaviours we expect of our leaders. Leadership is critical through this period of change. Our extended leadership team meets monthly and face-to-face at least once a year to keep leaders connected to the business priorities and to each other. Each division and function also holds regular stand-ups, bringing together colleagues from across multiple locations, both in person and virtually. As well as providing an opportunity to hear from leaders about strategic priorities and performance, we use a Q&A and polling app to encourage interaction and dialogue across the business.
We have focused on improving engagement, recognising the power of engaged colleagues in delivering change.
Through an annual engagement survey and periodic 'pulse' surveys, we have been able to identify areas that colleagues want to see improve and that are the biggest drivers of engagement. These have translated into action plans with a continuous focus on improvements now delivering results.
In 2018 our employee Net Promoter Score improved by an unprecedented 16 percentage points. There were improvements in 27 of the 31 questions with a comparable historical score. Significant increases have been seen in recognition for achievements and happiness with the work environment. Colleagues also responded very positively to our Nobody Harmed ambition, with the score for William Hill being a responsible company improving by 10 percentage points.
Our colleagues come to work so that people enjoy gambling. To build awareness of the risks of gambling and to empower them, we invited former gambling addicts to talk to our colleagues as part of Responsible Gambling Week.
William Hill has always placed a strong emphasis on developing our people, with four of our last five CEOs being appointed from within the business and, over the years, a number of CEOs having started out working on the shop floor.
We want to give our colleagues meaningful career development opportunities, attracting talent and building leadership development programmes to enable strong succession pipelines that leave a positive legacy. Our focus is on building great career paths and programmes for all employees and becoming a great place to work.
William Hill Retail Academy
The William Hill Retail Academy provides the framework to support our colleagues in developing the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to be effective in their betting shop roles, whilst also providing a structured career development pathway from Customer Experience Assistant right through to Regional Manager.
In April 2018 we launched our new talent strategy and strengthened our ambition to become a place where talented people would choose to work to build their potential. We have partnered with YSC on their globally recognised JDI potential model - judgement, drive and influence - to ensure that we have a consistent approach and language to identify and develop our talent. Talent discussions and focused development activities are scheduled into a regular rhythm of reviews overseen by the Executive Committee.
In our first C-suite programme, 17 colleagues identified as having the potential to be future executive managers participated in a 16-month programme with the London Business School. During 2019 we are creating bespoke development programmes for the four talent pools we have identified across the business to ensure that we can maximise our people's potential and drive strong internal succession opportunities.
Technology graduate scheme
Since March 2017 we have run a Technology Graduate Scheme, a two-year structured programme where graduates go on rotations throughout our technology business. We provide a structured induction, taking our graduates through the ins and outs of life at William Hill. We are growing our own stars of the future and making our mark as an employer of choice in Leeds, especially when it comes to the technology we are using.
Training for all
We have invested in Accelerate, a digital platform for training, creating an academy-style of learning where all training and development is brought into one place and available whenever an individual needs to access it. Thousands of 'always on' training tools are available, including 'Bitesize' leadership development sessions. Accelerate has also supported the improvements we have made to our compliance training, with full ability to track completion of the compulsory training components. We rebuilt our training from scratch in 2018, working with a wide group of stakeholders to make it more relevant and practical.
Reward and recognition
Reward and recognition are an important part of the culture we are building. Our colleagues are pivotal to our successful performance, and we recognise the importance of rewarding and championing their successes. We want them to be excited and motivated to be part of William Hill.
We have invested in an online recognition platform, Mo, which is accessible to all colleagues, including via the tablets in shops. In the first six months of using Mo, more than 40,000 thanks messages were sent and openly shared on Go2, our colleague website.
Our annual colleague awards, 'Go One Better', align to our values. More than 4,000 award nominations were received by colleagues in 2018, with finalists recognised at ceremonies in the UK, Gibraltar, Krakow, Sofia and Manila, attended by the Executive team.
At William Hill, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace for everyone, knowing that this will achieve the diversity of thought that delivers a stronger business, which benefits our customers and makes us a more attractive employer.
In the first instance, gender equality is a key focus for us. We welcome the requirement for more transparency on pay and are committed to improving our gender pay gap. While many might assume gambling is a male-dominated industry, overall our colleague gender split is around 50:50. However, like many companies, our diversity decreases with seniority so, in 2017, we joined the 30% Club and set an aspiration to increase the proportion of women in leadership roles from 22% in 2017 to 30% by the end of 2020. We hit that target for women in our senior leadership population in H1 2019 - more than a year early. Our focus now is on achieving the same uplift in our middle managers to hit the overall target.
In 2018, we joined the 30% Club's cross mentoring scheme, designed to help high potential women develop their capability and move into senior roles. We currently have a cohort of 34 people participating in the programme.
We run a women in leadership programme as part of our global leadership curriculum. The programme, which has been designed by one of our own high potential female technology leaders, is targeted towards any woman who aspires to be a leader or female leaders who want to build their confidence and capabilities. Our WOW (Women of William Hill) network continues to go from strength to strength. We now have 235 active members who regularly share good practice and ideas via social media and virtual sessions. We use the opportunity of International Women's Day to put a spotlight on our internal talent and hear from a number of keynote speakers via face-to-face and digital workshops across our different locations.
The Company is committed to gender pay equality and our gender pay disclosure outlines the steps we are taking to eliminate any disparity in pay and opportunity. We publish our gender pay statistics, which you can read here. Our median pay gap is 5.71% and the mean is 16.60%. As this is based on the average hourly pay by gender, this gap reflects the fact that we have fewer women working in higher paid, more senior roles - changing that remains a priority.
In our 2018 colleague survey, 82% of women strongly agreed or agreed that William Hill treats all employees fairly, irrespective of gender, age, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation. This was an increase of 10 percentage points from the previous year.