We are building a strong culture of empowerment and improvement
At William Hill we have set out to create an integrated employee engagement and listening strategy, which aims to involve our employees, harness their ideas and creativity, and listen and act on their feedback.
say William Hill treated all employees fairly1
increase in employee Net Promoter Score
salaries paid during furlough
The pandemic required us to be innovative in our approach to employee engagement and to implement changes in the way we communicated with colleagues and provided reassurance and clarity during challenging times.
The global pandemic has had a significant impact on our ways of working. The majority of our employees across all territories have successfully worked from home since March 2020. Some 7,644 colleagues, around 70% of the total workforce, were furloughed for 12 weeks during the first UK national lockdown. Throughout this time, we continued to pay salaries at 100%.
We took rapid action to increase our communications to provide reassurance to colleagues around job security, as well as introducing enhanced communications, with a particular focus on well-being and on encouraging innovative ways for teams to keep connected whilst working remotely.
William Hill colleague working at the Armley, Leeds LBO.
The feedback indicated that the uncertainties created by the pandemic were having an impact on our colleagues’ well-being. In response, in addition to the extensive resources we had already made available to colleagues following the launch of our well-being strategy in 2019, we focused on a new and comprehensive campaign.
We started by reminding colleagues of the resources already available such as the Unmind app and our employee assistance programme (EAP), as well as raising awareness around new initiatives such as our Lockdown Learning series and Virtual Working modules. As part of Lockdown Learning, the Executive Team delivered 414 hours of well-being sessions, to over 800 colleagues.
As a result, we saw a 22% rise in positive response to the question, “I know where/how to access tools at William Hill to help understand and improve my health and well-being if I want to”, in our annual employee survey.
We have also been particularly aware of the impact the pandemic has had on our Retail colleagues who were furloughed. Ahead of the UK Retail shops reopening in June, we ran a series of ‘Managing Anxiety’ webinars. Aimed at People Leaders, and hosted by our EAP provider, we supported almost 400 colleagues on their return to work. This momentum continued through 2020 and in November we won the Corporate Wellbeing & Health award at the Industry Community Awards.
Eyes on the customer
Give a damn
On the same side
It'll do will never do
As restrictions began to ease in summer 2020, we were determined to act on the positive feedback we had received from colleagues about remote working. We were aware that many colleagues welcomed the opportunity to work from home and wanted to create a lasting and positive culture change retaining the best of what colleagues had valued from the crisis.
In June 2020, we initiated the ‘Big Conversation’ to explore the feedback we had received, via a series of workshops across all areas, with 50 virtual engagement sessions taking place across the business.
Our refreshed People Strategy aims to create a two-way, high-trust culture, tied to our values, that empowers colleagues to work flexibly, in a way that suits them.
This led to the creation of Balance, which will give colleagues the opportunity to select the right balance for them on how they split their time between the office and home working. For our shop-based colleagues, we will provide flexibility around shift patterns and hours worked, to allow them to achieve the right work-life balance for their personal circumstances.
In preparation for the full launch of Balance in 2021, we introduced mandatory training for all leaders to ensure they are equipped to operationalise and support the new ways of working.
We believe an inclusive and diverse culture is a critical part of William Hill’s success. Belong is about how we celebrate our differences every day and will be implemented in 2021.
At William Hill we had already made great progress on gender diversity since 2017. For example, we have achieved one of our initial targets of reaching 30% of women in our senior leadership population. In our 2019 ‘Your Say’ survey, 75% of colleagues said they agreed or strongly agreed that William Hill treats all employees fairly, irrespective of gender, age, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation. We were pleased that in the 2020 survey this figure had risen to 81%1.
In 2020, we continued our Company’s support for Pride, building on the support in 2019. However, the events around the world in 2020, particularly the Black Lives Matter movement, demonstrated that we could and should do more to drive diversity and inclusion at William Hill. We wanted to focus on the idea of inclusion, creating an environment where colleagues feel represented and respected for who they are across all levels of the business.
Our mission was to achieve a cultural shift to ensure that William Hill truly embodies the Company’s ‘On the same side’ value.
In order to achieve our mission and shift the culture of the organisation, we recognised the need to have structure and strong leadership in place. In June 2020, Satty Bhens became the executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion (D&I) at William Hill. We also created an advisory group, to represent our colleagues from across the business, made up of volunteers who were passionate about D&I, called the ‘Same Side Forum’.
We focused on gathering the data needed to measure where we are and understand where we want to be. We embarked on the first ever William Hill Census, a confidential and anonymous survey collecting an unprecedented amount of demographic information – from identity to cultural and socio-economic background.
We then needed to start a meaningful conversation about D&I and ensure that all colleagues feel they are part of this process.
We were also pleased to make significant progress in the Financial Times Diversity Leaders Survey in the year, rising from 282 position in 2019, to 150 out of 850 in 2020. We were the first of only two betting and gaming companies to make the list.
I’m immensely proud that the FINANCIAL TIMES Diversity Leaders ranking showed that in 2020 William Hill has been blazing a trail in our industry on Diversity & Inclusion. But we know there is more to do to ensure we champion and celebrate our differences every day at William Hill.
Satty Bhens, Chief Product and Technology Officer
The third pillar of our refreshed People Strategy is Build. Our ambition is that by 2023 we will be known in our sector as the company that gives colleagues the opportunity to thrive both personally and professionally. We are determined to ensure colleagues can progress in their careers and are given the opportunity for personal growth. This could be in terms of well-being and balance, as described above, but also in terms of opportunities to give back through volunteering and community programmes.
In 2021 we will start with a focus on career growth and will provide leadership and specialist skills development and career path frameworks. As part of this we have launched an ‘Internals First’ initiative to identify talent and develop our own people to fill key roles in our business.
I’m inspired by the way the William Hill family has worked together to support our customers and each other during this challenging year. We have made great progress on developing a culture of empowerment and engagement and we are determined to build on this for the future.
Karen Myers, Chief HR Officer
1 81% of employees, through our employee survey, say William Hill treats all employees fairly, irrespective of gender, age, race, disability, religion or sexual orientation.