An employee-owned business, we enable partners to flourish in a friendly, collaborative environment where people truly belong. Our latest B Corp score jumped 99.7% in the People category and in this article, we outline how we achieved this.
Every day we ask ourselves what it means to be a great employer. As an employee-owned business, the core value that ‘people matter’ is one we hold close to our hearts. We’ve shone a bright light on making our employee experience rich and nurturing for partners. This means continuing to build a positive culture and immerse ourselves in what it means to be a B Corp.
“We understand that building a strong company culture has immense benefits for partners and clients. At Paradigm Norton, this means a team that’s truly engaged, invested in our success, and understands where the company is going.” Judith Thorne, Head of People
The key drivers behind our momentum
In 2023, our B Corp impact assessment in relation to people jumped significantly and we scored 91% in the ‘workers’ category. This score of 71.1 exceeds the highest UK score in 2022, which was 68.5. But we aren’t chasing the numbers. Much of the change has been organic, simply because it’s the right thing to do. Here are some of the improvements we’ve made:
More inclusive practices: We’ve introduced mandatory diversity and inclusion training, and unconscious bias training. Our working life policies and parental policies have been updated so that they are aligned for everyone. And we’ve embedded this thinking into recruitment practices to widen searches and monitor at the application stage. We recognise that true progress isn’t achieved after a single workshop. So, we have an ongoing programme of training and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiatives.
Hybrid working review: We’ve reviewed our hybrid working practices. We now have a roadmap that outlines a way of working; one that’s not contractual but can be flexed to suit requirements. This means full-time partners are in the office around 60% of the working week, allowing for a balance of focused work at home and office-based collaboration. Of course, everyone has a different opinion on this, and this is always under review. We’re experiencing the challenges shared by many employers post- Covid, which accelerated us into a hybrid working era, and we’re finding our way in a world where one size doesn’t fit all.
Excellent internal communications: We know how essential it is to bring the employee voice to the fore. It’s important to maintain open channels of communication. Being employee-owned means that we may be more curious than other employers. What do partners think? How does this affect them? How does this impact our culture? We need to understand this. Our main consultative communication channel is an interactive monthly digest. It’s utterly transparent and easy to absorb, ensuring everyone receives the same message and can, importantly, share their views.
Improving engagement: We’ve increased our team days and informal activities to encourage partners across our four offices to socialise. Amusingly, the sports day at our summer team day exposed the competitiveness among our team! We care about holidays, hobbies, families, and personal achievements. We collaborate frequently and with purpose, ensuring a continuous stream of learning opportunities and reflection across teams and offices. We’ve also introduced mentoring to share advice and skills too.
The opportunity to flourish: Everyone at Paradigm Norton has the opportunity to succeed through our rigorous personal development and progression framework. We recognise the need for balance, so we’ve also introduced ‘partner pause’; a sabbatical for employees who have been with the company for over seven years, which has been a popular policy.
The results of our culture survey
Familiar and friendly. Collaborative and personal. We pride ourselves on the culture we’ve created, but we wanted to delve a little deeper and see where we can improve. This year we conducted our first culture survey, working with Sewells, via the Global Association of Independent Advisors. We asked partners to rate 50 statements related to culture.
Here are the key findings*:
Wellbeing – 83% say we are committed to wellbeing, offer good wellbeing benefits and feel emotionally safe at work.
Job satisfaction – 74% feel happy at their place of work, motivated and valued, and that there are opportunities for career progression.
Knowledge of strategy – 76% have awareness of short and long-term goals and understand what’s expected of them in their role.
Equality and diversity – 74% say all perspectives are valued, and that there’s a real sense of belonging at Paradigm Norton.
Employee engagement – 77% feel enthusiastic, dedicated, and committed to their work and the organisation.
*Partners who strongly agree or agree to these statements.
Our next steps
Looking ahead, we’ll continue to build on this strong foundational work and foster collaboration, innovation, and loyalty. We’ll further embed B Corp thinking into our culture and deepen our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Working groups will focus on each of the areas that we want to improve.
This is something we want to do together so we can make real and impactful changes to improve our employee experience.
Our B Corp score increased by 99.7% in the people category. To find out more, download our Impact Report 2023 – A big step forward.
Being employee-owned offers some unique upsides for partners. You can find out more about our employee ownership trust here.