How William Hill is embracing change to attract and retain top talent

 

By Mark Skinner, Chief People Officer at William Hill

We all knew a revolution in the workplace was coming.  Pre-pandemic, you could see offices were often less than half full on a Friday, and of course, the pandemic cemented this shift, and I believe a new way of working is here to stay.

Working from home has become the new norm for many of us and adapting to these new ways of working is essential for business success. However, we recognised early that whilst some colleagues found working from home challenging, others embraced it with open arms.

This feedback prompted us to launch 'the big conversation' across William Hill, which allowed us to reach out to our colleagues and get their views on remote and hybrid working.   What worked for them and what didn’t and how we could best support them.

The findings also helped us refresh and redefine our people strategy and led us to to 'Want to Join, Love to Stay.'

The three pillars of the new people strategy are;

  • Balance
  • Belong
  • Build

Balance is all about hybrid working.

I have seen some companies opting for a highly prescriptive approach to getting colleagues back to the office. I was also interested to see innovative brands like Apple and Google coming under fire for their rigid return to work policies, especially knowing that our colleagues were looking for something more creative.

Our approach is a lot more, well balanced! Our colleagues asked for it and we are delivering it.

Depending on location, colleagues can choose to work up to 80% of their month from home. We've held on to the remaining 20% because we want colleagues to stay connected and have the opportunity to collaborate and build camaraderie.

Balance was first launched in our Gibraltar office in May and then in July in the UK, and the early feedback has been very positive. 

We have over 7,000 retail colleagues, so it was important that Balance wasn’t just for office colleagues. Our retail colleagues already had the flexibility to choose their own shifts, so we also introduced 'Find Your Balance', a reward scheme which gives them access to a range of perks like cinema vouchers and WOW points they can use to treat themselves or their families.

Our second pillar is Belong, which focuses on equality, diversity and inclusion.  I am proud of our work in this area, particularly giving female colleagues opportunities to progress in the traditionally male-dominated tech and IT sectors. Still, we recognised there was more we could do to drive an inclusive culture. It's not just about changing our logo to the rainbow flag during Pride month. It's about helping drive change and giving colleagues the tools to help make their own change.

And finally, Build, which is about learning, development and career progression. A great starting point is to make sure we advertise roles internally first. It's not rocket science, but it's far better to 'grow our own' and offer meaningful development to the talent we already have than paying third parties to find candidates for us. 

When we recruit externally, we tend to bring in people below the level required of the job anyway. So our view is, if an internal candidate is 70% of the way there, why not give them the opportunity and support to grow into the role.

I'm proud of the brilliant things we're doing and the culture we are building at William Hill. I hope that anyone reading this will take a moment to check out what we have to offer.