Huge leap up the workplace rankings puts ISL among the best firms to work for in the UK

Bristol-based challenger recruitment firm ISL has been named as the UK’s fourth best small business to work for after leaping 20 places up a prestigious workplace culture list.

ISL was ranked 24th out of 27 on the UK Best Workplace table last year. Its progress this year has been hailed as ‘outstanding’ and a ‘magnificent achievement’ by Great Place to Work, the organisation behind the awards.

The winners across the three size categories were announced this week at a gala dinner at Tobacco Dock, London. The Best Workplace award is the gold standard for companies which create outstanding work cultures

Businesses must submit to a rigorous audit process, including an anonymous survey asking all employees how they feel on a range of work issues and an audit of the HR and leadership practices that create the culture employees experience.

The team at ISL, which specialises in IT and engineering recruitment, put this year’s success down to a major shift in employee engagement through an organisational development and business change campaign.

Director Alan Furley said: “The most important part of this award is that the surveys are carried out anonymously, so the team are able to provide honest answers.

“The insight that came from last year’s survey allowed us to properly understand where we needed to improve and so we created a programme to do just that.

“But this is not a vanity project. We know from experience that your people are everything and we want to ensure we’re a go-to employer of choice for the best talent available. That’s a continuous journey but we’ve made some great strides in the last year.

“We are seeing results across the business. Employee retention is up by nearly a third, absenteeism through illness is down by nearly half and in the first three months of 2018 we recorded both our best financial quarter and a record-breaking revenue month.

“It proves that when you align your people strategy with your business strategy you see a step change in results.”

Henry Keeys started ISL in 2007, aged 30, after becoming frustrated with harsh working cultures and was soon joined by Furley, a like-minded 29-year-old.

Together they created their professional development model based on positive behaviours. In 2018, the team celebrate their 11th years in business with a record turnover of £3.5m.

Great Place to WorkCOO Ben Gautrey said: “For ISL to have achieved the ranking in their first year in 2017 was in itself actually an impressive feat as so many businesses don’t make it.

“However, to see them having made such outstanding progress this year is a magnificent achievement. It is the hallmark of their commitment and drive to ensure they are walking the walk and forming a great culture through every aspect of their organisation.”

ISL has a team of 33 in its Baldwin Street offices. In November 2017 it was asked to supply answers to the Great Place to Work Trust Index employee survey, with 95%-plus positive responses across: diversity, job security, working environment, strategy, communication, values & ethics and empowerment & accountability.

ISL has a 50/50 gender balance, a culture of normal working hours and targets set in the first six months and beyond put equal emphasis on behaviours as well as sales figures.

ISL intends to more than double in size over the next three years and take their business model overseas, with expansion plans being considered into Europe and beyond.


This article was first produced by Robert Buckland @ Bristol Business News

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