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Best Place to Work Award

This award recognises a business that supports both the health and wellbeing of employees and goes the extra mile in making their business the best place to work. The business should demonstrate examples of good practice, innovative policies, strong staff retention and a genuine focus on providing a happy and enjoyable workplace. Applicants should consider the following in their application:

  • Outline your business model and market
  • Describe your policies and practices for being the best place to work
  • Describe how you embed inclusivity and diversity in your workplace
  • Tell us how you engage your staff in developing policies and practices
  • Describe how you monitor success in this area (e.g. retention, staff surveys)
  • Tell us about the impact of this on your business

Entries close at 12 midday, June 13, 2024

Awards Categories 2024

This award celebrates the growth and success of a business that has started in the last 5 years. Judges will look at the growth of the business and market presence established over this time.

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This award recognises a business that supports both the health and wellbeing of employees and goes the extra mile in making their business the best place to work. The business should demonstrate examples of good practice, innovative policies, strong staff retention and a genuine focus on providing a happy and enjoyable workplace.
This award recognises the outstanding work of a business in contributing to the community through working with the community and charitable sector. Note – this category is specifically for businesses only

This award celebrates exceptional customer service both in terms of new and existing customers. The award will particularly recognise innovative approaches to customer service and judges will be seeking tangible evidence of feedback.

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This award celebrates a business leading the way in cutting its own carbon footprint and its impact on the environment through innovative sustainable business practices.

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This award recognises a rising star in the business community aged 30 or under. Judges will be looking for evidence of career progression and the impact you are making in your business or the business or organisation in which you are employed.

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This award recognises the success of a business that has achieved significant growth through trading internationally – either in entering new overseas markets or building its presence in existing international markets. Business should demonstrate the overall growth that international trade has contributed to the business.

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This award recognises a business that is experiencing significant growth and a presence in its sector, growing new markets and demonstrating substantial growth in scale of business operations, markets and turnover.

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This award recognises the achievements and success of a business in making a positive social positive impact socially, ethically or environmentally in its external environment.

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This award recognises a business that is utilising and implementing digital and technology solutions to improve internal processes, develop new products and services or drive business growth.

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Dorset Business Awards 2024 Best Place to Work Award

Please note all required fields in this part of your application should be completed.

You can also attach up to two supporting documents using the upload link below. A video of up to 3 minutes can be sumbitted by supplying a URL link in the field below.

On completion of the form, press submit. You will receive an acknowledgement of your application via email when successfully submitted.

You can save your application and return to it at a later date by using the 'Save & Continue' feature at the bottom of the form. You will receive an email with the link to complete the form. Please keep this safe as we are unable to reset your application.

Shortlisted entries will be notified by 30 July 2024

By entering this award you are agreeing to the terms and conditions of the Dorset Business Festival Awards. Any financial supplied is treated in confidence.

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2024: Best Place to Work | Grapevine

“Ten years ago I’m not sure we would have expected to win, had we been shortlisted in the category of ‘Best Place to Work’. Our exceptional track record on staff retention suggests we were doing something right, but we would have thought the title of ‘best place’ was reserved for those with office spaces in more glamorous locations, with mini fridges and pool tables. 

I think the past decade has proven that people across all generations are looking for something more from their employer than superficial gestures to make it appear that they care about their staff.

I wrote on World Mental Health Day this year about how Grapevine didn’t need a formalised mental health and wellbeing strategy for its first three decades in business. Staff displayed immense loyalty to the company because care and consideration for its people came naturally. Showing respect and understanding for the inevitable complications in life, whenever they should occur for each employee in the business, gave individuals the breathing space when they needed it most.

In the spirit of not resting on our laurels however, we recently took our unspoken commitment a step further with colleagues across the business completing a mental health ‘first aid’ training course.

2023 was a big year for Grapevine, in March we transitioned the business to become an Employee Ownership Trust, rewarding our longstanding team and welcoming new recruits with a return on their contribution to the next chapter of our story. 

In addition to our annual profit share, all staff benefit from a company life assurance and pension, flexible working options, employee discount & wellbeing programmes, a cycle to work scheme, a day off for their birthday, plus a volunteering day for a charity of their choice.

…and we finally got that pool table for the office!”

2024: Finalist Spotlight | The Hendy Group

People have been at the heart of Hendy Group since it began 165 years ago and employing world-class people has been key to its long-term success.

The group has a turnover of £1bn and employs 1,700 colleagues across the south coast, more than 400 in Dorset.

The last few years have seen acceleration in growth and additional investment in building a dedicated people team to work with colleagues and business leaders to build, design, and shape an environment where everyone can be proud to work.

Creating an environment for colleagues to thrive is an integral part of every part of the business and touches everything from training opportunities and career progression through to wellbeing, rewards, and creating spaces to share colleague voice.

Colleague retention is well below industry averages and in 2022, 10% of the new starters were returners to the business, a clear demonstration that commitment to colleagues does create a great place to work. The company also has more than 145 people who have been with Hendy for more than 25 years.

Continuous learning is a key area and Hendy continues to develop its in-house Academy with colleagues encouraged to develop their career through a combination of on-the-job training, face to face or on-line learning.

Leaders within the business play a key role in developing the company culture with senior leaders completing its Leadership Foundation Programme.

Fair reward and recognising team and individual contribution is demonstrated by an industry-leading basic pay for customer facing teams that rewards loyalty, reduced weekend working for more family time for those in sales, increasing opportunity for flexible working and a healthcare plan that provides cash back for colleagues and their families. And for all colleagues there is an annual awards night that celebrates Team Hendy and rewards nominated colleagues in a range of categories.