Gavin Snell: Reflecting on our first few months as WorkNest – and the future
Written by Gavin Snell on 12 January 2022
2021 was a momentous year. Amidst the ongoing upheaval of coronavirus, 10 leading businesses with a similar vision and ethos – and a shared passion for helping employers create great, safe places to work – came together under the Marlowe Group.
All our businesses have proud histories, but we are stronger together with a wealth of diverse talent and a broader range of services. We bring real expertise in Employment Law and HR, Health & Safety and CQC compliance. In addition to professional advisory support, we bring strong Software as a Service (SaaS) capabilities in e-Learning and HR software. And that will evolve with plans to launch Employee Relations (ER) Case Management and Health & Safety software in 2022.
In October, we adopted a new brand identity to tie these offerings together under one name: WorkNest was born.
As CEO, I’m hugely proud of the strides we’ve made already in consolidating our services, seizing opportunities for collaborative working, and ultimately creating value for our clients. Our combined businesses have grown at the same time as we have been making those changes, and both colleague engagement and client satisfaction levels are high.
We now have over 450 staff split across 11 locations, supporting over 40,000 clients, and advising on over 600,000 employees across the UK and Ireland.
The driving force behind our evolution, of course, has been our immensely talented and committed colleagues. I’ve always been a big believer that delivering for our clients relies on having highly-engaged colleagues, and scarcely is colleague engagement more important than during times of transition. Our extended team have embraced change and recognised the opportunities we have as WorkNest to deliver a much broader range of support with national capabilities.
Our recent employee engagement survey tells us that most of our colleagues are confident about their own and the company’s future. Even through our transformation period, 92% agree or strongly agree that WorkNest is a great place to work.
We’re taking several positive steps to ensure engagement remains high as we continue our evolution in 2022. These include:
- Launching our WorkNest Pledge, a clear statement on our workplace culture and aspirations around ESG and D&I.
- Completing a company-wide review of pay and benefits, to ensure that roles are remunerated fairly and consistently.
- Creating an internal HR/People team, to be led by a newly-appointed Chief People Officer (Katie Muncaster), as part of our continued commitment to developing our company culture. Katie has extensive experience in senior People/HR leadership roles, a passion for people and engagement, core beliefs of equality and integrity, and boundless enthusiasm and energy.
- Analysing results from our recent colleague survey and arranging company-wide and department-level briefings, the insight from which will help us to establish action plans.
- Rolling out a significant “kit upgrade” programme to ensure our hybrid-working colleagues can work effectively from home and in the office.
- Expanding our gym subsidy benefit to cover the cost of other fitness subscriptions such as running/cycling apps, swimming clubs and similar.
- Providing weekly “Stronger Together” updates to keep colleagues informed of key developments and celebrate individual and company successes.
- Establishing two new VOICE groups – our employee engagement forums – one to lead the organisation of social events and fundraising activities, and another to engage with colleagues on business ideas and decisions, represent colleague voices, and hold senior leaders to account for delivery of our WorkNest Pledge.
As colleague engagement levels will continue to be a significant influence on results, we will continue to focus and invest on creating a successful, proud and inclusive place of work.
We are blessed with hugely knowledgeable and committed colleagues; >65 employment lawyers, >50 HR professionals (advisers and consultants), >40 qualified Health & Safety Consultants, 20 qualified (e-Learning) instructional designers, and 10 healthcare professionals (GPs, Nurses and CQC inspectors). We estimate that we have over 1,500 years of collective professional experience in our respective fields. We remain committed to providing a truly personalised service delivered by dedicated professionals – something we won’t lose sight of no matter how much our team grows. In a recent client survey, it was great to learn that eight out of 10 clients feel WorkNest “really understands” their organisation, which is testament to our tailored approach and one-to-one relationships.
Our prospects of succeeding with our growth plans are strengthened further with a very capable and committed sales and marketing team (some 65 colleagues) and a wealth of business support talent (including a 20-strong IT team and colleagues in Finance and HR).
Exciting times ahead
As for the future, 2022 will see the continued integration of our people and businesses into the WorkNest brand. A key focus will be on developing our technology, including rolling out our new case management platform that will be accessible to both our teams and to our clients, the launch of a new H&S platform, continued development of our HR software technology, and the enhancement of our e-Learning capabilities by bringing DeltaNet and EssentialSkillz together. We will also look to develop opportunities in the mid and large corporate market through our SRA-regulated entities, esphr and Cater Leydon Millard, that now form part of the WorkNest group.
For our colleagues, that growth aspiration means security, professional development and career opportunities for those that seek to progress. Already, we can see colleagues take on new roles and responsibilities and there will be more of that. New roles are already available; you can see our live vacancies here.
There’s lots of work to do as we move into this next chapter, but by continuing to do what we do best and listening to our clients and colleagues, I’m confident that we will embrace the opportunities now in front of us. And with a bit of luck, we’ll be able to start seeing more of each other in our offices too!