So how did The Sovini Group achieve this remarkable feat?
By prioritising their people through the deliberate, ongoing efforts to live out their company values and support both employees and the community.
Watch the full video case study conversation with The Sovini Group below:
Formed in 2011, The Sovini Group is a property, construction and facilities management corporation comprising both not-for-profit organisations and commercial companies.
Members within the Group work together to support thriving, inclusive communities, charitable causes and increase the supply and quality of affordable housing and related services.
In the Group’s latest employee survey, 96% of staff agree that “Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work." Other high scoring areas include:
- 98% of employees agree that “People here are treated fairly regardless if their race or ethnic origin.”
- 95% feel “There is a ‘family’ or team feeling here.”
- 94% say “I am developing professionally working here.”
Keep reading to find out how this multi award-winning large-size organisation has been able to develop and sustain a truly people-first workplace employees love.
Rising to the Challenge
With over 800 staff, leaders at The Sovini Group are constantly faced with the challenge of keeping their growing ‘Sovini family’ engaged in meaningful, inclusive ways that can also feel fresh every year.
Here are some of the key ways in which they did this during the pandemic:
In 2021, The Sovini Group was awarded special “Laureate” status for becoming a ranked UK’s Best Workplace™ for 5 years running – an especially impressive accomplishment considering the innumerable challenges of Covid-19.
Since celebrating their achievement in person wasn’t possible, teams within the Group rallied together virtually to have a drink over Zoom, or call one another with the happy news and make the announcement day extra special.
“Our CEO, Roy, also delivered a personal message to all staff across the Group to thank everyone for their contribution over a really difficult period of our lives – which not only affected us, but also our families, friends and colleagues,” says Chloe Ellison, Head of Group Organisational Development.
To celebrate being number one in the UK, Roy announced a massive summer party for all staff, including paid-for accommodation so that everyone could be included. But one-off events are just the cherry on top of a bigger culture that prioritises gratitude and camaraderie within the Group:
“We have a culture of recognition on a personal level within the Group, regardless of winning big achievements,” says David Brown, Director of Operations, Pine Court Housing Association.
“The culture we’ve created is one where we say ‘thank you’ on an almost daily basis to our colleagues for going beyond the extra mile. We like to share our success stories, with team away days, Sovini Leaders of the Month and Employee of the Year awards…there’s a whole host of other initiatives that we use to celebrate colleagues who are doing a good job. And just a simple ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’ to an individual is core to how we work.”
‘Enterprise – We Never Stand Still’ is one of the core company values that epitomises Sovini Group’s corporate social responsibility efforts.
Alongside many groceries, toys and toiletries donations, the Group also thinks outside the box when it comes to helping communities – and every need is considered worthy of investment.
Some key CSR initiatives during the pandemic included:
- Ensuring the conservation of a 180-year-old bowling green on behalf of senior citizens who were unable to tend the lawn during lockdown;
- Arranging a professional singer to provide live entertainment for residents who were shielding in a block of flats;
- And supporting the Everton Rainbow Toffees, an LGBTQ+ supporters group who hosted a football match to raise funds in support of refugees with HIV.
“The beauty of it is that it’s not unusual for us to do all this – and we do so much!” explains Ann Owens, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at One Vision Housing. “If I put out a message tomorrow that I need bookcases for example, or whatever, I’d have one within an hour.”
David agrees: “What the last 12 months has taught us is the value of partnership working. If you work with like-minded partners, you can do so much more in the community…There’s a whole host of things we do, and we don’t do anything in isolation, but rather with the community and voluntary sector support.”
Initially set up as part of their recruitment strategy, Sovini’s #BePartOfIt campaign has expanded into a multifaceted project that’s boosted engagement with employees and their families.
“It’s not just about our new staff or current employees feeling they can be part of our Sovini family,” says Chloe. “We also want the wider family to be part of this one Group, one great place to work.
“So even though the Best Workplaces™ announcement was made earlier this year, we’ve continued the excitement with our CSR, as well as our annual Sovini Games – a week-long event that we run every September/October to give people the opportunity to again have fun and be rewarded for the great work that they’ve achieved over the previous year.
“We even launched a #BePartOfIt Awards (as a twist on our traditional employee awards) which introduced new categories that fit the new ways of working...It’s all about going beyond a one-off event and continuing our schemes and initiatives in a way that makes our colleagues genuinely want to ‘be part of it’ and feel ours is truly the best ever place to work.”
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