Attracting, training and retaining a great team

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In the latest UK200Group blog post Trevor Cook, Director, Baines Jewitt Limited, offers an insight into how to attract and keep a first-rate workforce

Some of the loyal employees and directors at Teesside-based Baines Jewitt Chartered Accountants, who have clocked up over 500 years’ service between them
When Jane, our senior accounting technician, says there was only one computer in the office when she started working with us, you realise just how long she’s been here!

As one of our longest standing employees, Jane has an impressive 36 years’ service to her name. She started with Baines Jewitt – then Baines, Goldston and Jackson - in 1982, after her A Levels and a brief spell on a management training programme in national retail. Initially, she worked as a trainee accounting technician and was also ‘the computer operator’.

As well as developing new skills along the way and becoming a fellow member of the Association of Accounting Technicians, Jane is the Sage contact and supports our clients in getting the best out of their accounting software. She is also well versed in book-keeping, management accounts, payroll, tax and VAT returns.

And Jane is not the only one with a long service record and wealth of valuable experience. We have around 20 employees and directors – more than half our workforce – who have clocked up over 500 years’ service between them.

Many members of our team joined Baines Jewitt at the start of their working careers, either as school leavers or graduates.

Gail, for example - who is also a fellow member of the Association of Accounting Technicians - started at Baines Jewitt in 1988. It was Gail’s very first full-time job. And little did she know that she would still be here 30 years later!

Some might say that having so many long serving employees could make our organisation insular and stale. We would disagree. Baines Jewitt enjoys a huge number of benefits thanks to our loyal workforce. We believe our long-standing employees add value and underpin the bones of our business.

At the same time, we still see ourselves as an adaptable, forward-thinking company. We are willing to embrace new ideas and welcome new talent too.

For example, our 2018 recruits include Tara, an 18 year old school leaver who joined us as a trainee accounting technician and Chantelle, a Fellow Chartered Accountant, who has 17 years’ professional experience to her name.

Yet regardless of length of service, we aim to invest in all of our team by encouraging ongoing training and development. As a result, many have achieved - or are working towards - professional qualifications. These include Lisa, who has recently passed the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) qualification and Ashleigh, who has gained accreditation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) since she joined us in 2014.

By understanding the value of well-structured learning and development opportunities, there are multiple benefits to our business and the people who work here.

A highly trained workforce keeps us on top of new legislation and changes in policy; it enables us to tailor solutions to business issues; it has a positive impact on our productivity; it allows us to be more competitive and it provides our clients with the best value for money.

For individuals, ongoing training and development brings greater opportunities for progression, success and higher earning power.

In particular, we believe in rewarding dedication and promoting from within. In fact, several of our employees have worked their way up through our organisation to director level.

As well as a supportive training and development culture, which includes time off for study and exams, we also offer flexible working arrangements and have a good family-friendly policy. This enables our employees to earn a living whilst managing their outside commitments, such as raising a family, caring for relatives or pursuing favourite hobbies. It means they can carve out a rewarding career for themselves, whilst enabling us to retain respected employees who are fulfilled in and away from the workplace.

We hope that the results speak for themselves. Our employees say there are lots of great things about working here. As well as building excellent working relationships, many have made lifelong friends, not only with other members of staff, but with our clients too who have grown to trust and respect them.

Our clients also enjoy the personal service we provide and the benefits of working with people who know their business inside out, yet can still offer up-to-date objective, impartial business advice.
In many instances we’ve worked with several generations of the same family. We’ve also helped hundreds of people get their businesses off the ground and provided the support needed to grow their organisations into some of Teesside’s most successful firms. All this makes us quite distinctive in our field.

It is said that the key to business success is keeping your clients happy and treating your staff well. And we like to think that Baines Jewitt embraces many aspects of that vision.

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