Fleet vehicle business Alphabet encourages staff to help shape its social and motivation initiatives through what it calls Alphabet Proactive Experts, or APEs.
Clare Witty, employee engagement manager, explains: “They are essentially volunteers from across the whole [organisation] and they’re my ears on the ground. We have a blackboard that staff can write on, and each month we capture the comments. It could be anything to do with making it a better place to work.” It’s not always possible to act on every suggestion, she says, but the business always provides feedback so people don’t feel ignored.
One initiative that has been a huge success is the development of a work choir, after Witty was inspired by Gareth Malone’s TV programme The Choir.
Witty says: “It’s an emotional and bonding experience, and you have to put an enormous amount of trust in your colleagues to stand on stage in front of your peers and open your mouth. We came together at Christmas to do our first performance and the next day I heard one of the girls from the choir say it was the best day she’d ever had at work.”
The business also has a group where staff can develop their own charitable initiatives, and plans to enter a team into the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for its official charity. “We can see the benefit of having happy employees. We have an incredibly low turnover rate and we’re just about to celebrate a record sales year in 2015. All these things are because our staff are motivated and inspired,” says Witty.