It’s Gold for the Guildhall!

Just one year after achieving Investors in People Silver Status, the Guildhall Shopping Centre in Exeter has become one of an elite group of businesses in the top two per cent of UK companies to earn the prestigious IIP Gold Award.

It is one of just a handful of UK shopping centres to achieve the award, others including the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Meadowhall in Sheffield.

The accolade recognises world class business practice and was judged by an independent assessor for its commitment to developing colleagues through training, career progression and support as an integral part of its business.

To reach IIP gold status, companies undergo a rigorous assessment by Investors in People Centre, Inspiring Business Performance (IBP), and must show exceptional working practices in areas such as people management; leadership; staff involvement and empowerment; work/life balance and health and wellbeing of staff.

Guildhall Shopping Centre centre manager, Andrew McNeilly, said: “Achieving Investors in People Gold Status was never a ‘nice to have’: it was always a necessity. Obtaining the ultimate people management standard entails a considerable investment, but when we are trying to deliver the best possible shopping centre experience for owners, tenants and shoppers this was the only way to show our commitment to the welfare, development and job satisfaction of our own team. We have always been advocates of how the right people with the right support can make a real difference to the success of any organisation; this understanding underpins everything we do and the core values of the management team and team mission statement.”

This conclusion was reinforced by interviews with the Guildhall team, where there was clear evidence of a collaborative approach, a united vision and a shared focus on placing the needs of the owners, tenants and shoppers first. “Our assessor also reported that he found a strong sense of ownership and pride in working at the Guildhall and that everyone understood our values and felt involved. It is a fantastic endorsement of what we have achieved and what we will continue to build on.”

Andrew also said: “We are very proud of our Investors in People Gold Award; we run our business on ethical, co-operative lines, focused on the community in which we operate. We could not grow and succeed without a dedicated and engaged workforce, which is why we put so much emphasis on developing our colleagues and continually aiming for improvements. Our key aim here at the Guildhall is to provide top-class customer service. To achieve that, we need a workforce who feel valued and inspired to be amongst the best in the world at what they do. Reaching that level is not easy, but comes with a host of business benefits and hopefully benefits improved staff morale, and shows our people how much they are valued .”

All assessments for Gold IIP have to be endorsed by one of the Investors in People employer representatives, in this case Paul Jackson, Director Quality Europe Alent. He said: “Undertaking assessments extending into so many of the indicators can be quite daunting and getting to silver or gold level can be quite a stretch. It is commendable that the Guildhall Shopping Centre team chose to test their approach against these requirements and our congratulations go to them for achieving gold.”

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