Our employees are critical to William Hill’s success and we are committed to high standards of employment practice, including rewarding individuals fairly and providing equality of opportunity, training and development, flexible working and a safe workplace. Our emphasis is on growing our own talent internally, where possible, and recruiting externally where we need skills not otherwise available in the business.
Our comprehensive set of human resources policies defines the work environment that we operate for our employees. This covers health and safety (including specific policies on stress management and smoking), equal opportunities, harassment, disability, flexible working, training and development, the acceptance of gifts and hospitality, and whistleblowing.
Key employee policies are published on our website at www.williamhillplc.co.uk/wmh/cr/policies/. The Group Director of Human Resources has overall responsibility for ensuring the effective operation of these policies.
There are over 16,600 employees working for William Hill across our Retail, Telephone and Online divisions including our central fuctions.
We employ a high proportion of part-time workers, particularly in the Retail estate, where our flexible working regime is very attractive, for instance, to people with childcare needs. We offer a range of options, including job sharing and career breaks.
We take the safety and security of our staff very seriously, particularly in our shops, and are committed to protecting the welfare of our staff as far as possible by taking proactive measures. Through our Security Department, we undertake regular risks assessments of all our shops, considering their vulnerability to potential robberies and violence in the workplace. We have a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour in our shops and have sought and been granted Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and worked closely with the police to prosecute cases.
In our shops, we have significant crime prevention measures that we use to minimise the risk, including the fitting of security screens, installation of digital closed circuit television (CCTV) systems and fitting electronic and magnetic door locks. In January 2010, we completed the installation of digital CCTV in all our shops, which gives us high-quality images and a remote access system that enables us to deliver footage to the police much more quickly. Employees also have access to a security support line, which they can use whenever they have concerns or questions about their safety.
In the event of an incident occurring, affected shops are reassessed by the Security Department and steps are taken to address risks.
In 2007, we introduced ‘Counter Plan’, a bespoke training initiative developed in-house and designed to provide staff with the tools needed to deal effectively with events that may happen prior to, during and after a robbery. The aim of Counter Plan is to create a culture where staff are in control of their environment. The training places a high priority on cash management to minimise the likelihood of shops being targeted. All new starters are trained in Counter Plan off-site for two days and the training is revisited within three months of them joining the Group. In addition, our Security team regularly use our in-shop video systems to provide updates to existing shop staff. Over the last 18 months, 8,500 shop staff have attended training sessions, some 70% of the front-line Retail employees. By taking decisive action, the potential danger to staff is greatly reduced, cash loss is minimised and our ability to assist police investigations is enhanced.
Having introduced Counter Plan, we are now part of the ‘Safe Bet Alliance’, which has established a minimum set of standards for the betting industry to use to prevent robberies. This is being applied within the Metropolitan Police’s area and is being used by Environmental Health Officers to assess staff safety. We are now working through the Association of British Bookmakers to introduce this as a national set of standards.
We liaise closely with a number of local authority environmental health departments, local authority licensing officers and police crime prevention officers. We are also a member of the Crimestoppers scheme which, in conjunction with the Association of British Bookmakers reward scheme, enables us to encourage the public to provide information on offences committed against our staff and property.
As a result of our Counter Plan initiative, the number of substantive robberies decreased by 12% in 2009 compared with 2008.
In our shops, we have significant crime prevention measures that we use to minimise the risk, including the fitting of security screens, installation of digital closed circuit television systems and fitting electronic and magnetic door locks.
Counter Plan initiative
William Hill was nominated as a finalist at the Security Excellence Awards held in October 2009 for our Counter Plan training initiative. Counter Plan helps to protect staff and has led to us having the lowest levels of cash loss in the industry.
We are committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all persons in our employment and all other persons who use our facilities or are affected by the way in which we conduct our business, including customers, visitors, contractors, neighbours and the general public.
Ultimately, the Chief Executive, Ralph Topping, is responsible for health and safety at William Hill, including reviewing the health and safety policy and ensuring systems are in place for monitoring and measuring the effective implementation of the health and safety policy. The Group’s executive directors participate in the periodic review of the health and safety policy such that it remains suitable for the business and ensure that health and safety responsibilities are clearly communicated to managers and employees.
We undertake and continuously review a programme of risk assessments in all significant areas of our business and address any areas of deficiency as appropriate. Employees are provided with information and training, and we monitor our effectiveness through a system of safety audits, health and safety co-ordinators and the Health and Safety Steering Group.
The Health and Safety Steering Group meets regularly to review compliance with applicable health and safety legislation and regulation, to keep up-to-date with best practice and to review and maintain compliance with health and safety procedures. The Steering Group includes senior managers from the Group’s Human Resources, Security, Property departments, together with representatives of operational management. An external health and safety consultant advises the Group. During 2009, we reviewed, updated and reissued our Health and Safety policy.
In our industry, we rely heavily on the knowledge and expertise of our employees, which is often built up over many years with the Group. We are keen to develop talent within the business and to progress employees with ability and commitment into management roles. As such, we are committed to investing in training and development for our employees.
We provide training for employees throughout their career with the Group, from an extensive induction programme at the start of their employment through any skills-training relevant to their particular role to further training and development opportunities such as secondments and special projects. In addition, we aim to identify individuals who demonstrate the personal drive and ability to operate at a more senior level. Our Talent Pool develops individuals with the potential to be senior managers and our Talent Academy develops individuals into management roles, supported by mentoring either by senior managers or external advisers. We develop operational excellence through management development workshops for our operations managers and, in 2009, introduced a new employee programme, Innovate, to encourage sharing of best practice and new ideas. Last year, we also introduced online training solutions to make the training more adaptable to people’s work situations and to make monitoring more effective.
All senior managers are encouraged to maintain a good understanding of our customers, from their induction programme when they are required to spend time in the shops, through helping out on the frontline on high-volume events such as the Grand National to ‘Back to the floor’ events such as the one we conducted in Retail in 2009.
There are 458 employees who are currently seconded to another function or project around the business.
There are 35 employees across all various management grades currently in the talent pool.
A total of 11 employees completed the Academy programme in 2009 and a further 14 started it.
The four core management workshops were attended by 54 District Operations Managers in 2009. In addition, 89 DOMs underwent a development centre review of their individual development needs.
The equivalent to 110 senior managers attended core management programmes in 2009, totalling 27 days of training.
A formal mentoring programme was launched in 2009. It attracted 25 trained mentors and there are 16 active relationships under the programme.
The Group Management Development team ran 55 workshops in 2009 attended by 606 people, covering topics such as performance management, coaching and influencing.
As we aim to develop talent internally, motivating key individuals through their remuneration and various retention tools is critical. We value and recognise long service, which helps to maintain the knowledge base in the business, with rewards for 10-year, 20-year, 25-year, 30-year and 40-year service. Around the country, we also run local recognition events and our annual national awards event recognises the best performers in our ‘Competition Beating Service’ programme.
We are building a culture of ‘pay for performance’, rewarding the people who make the greatest contribution to the business. During 2009, we reviewed our performance appraisal and remuneration systems and, in 2010, are introducing a new management bonus scheme linked to Group performance and achievement of individual objectives. This is a key step in aligning individual performance with our business targets, to differentiate levels of performance and contribution amongst the senior management team and to reward them accordingly.
We provide an extensive benefits package tailored to the needs of different levels of people within the business. During the year, we extended the package with some Corporate Responsibility-related incentives, including the ‘Cycle to work’ scheme, which offers a tax-efficient way to purchase a bicycle, a new car policy and a Give-As-You-Earn tax-efficient charitable donations system.
We know that our employees are most effective when they are engaged with what we aim to achieve. We are committed to providing effective communication on matters that affect employees, including the development and performance of the Group. This is achieved through formal and informal meetings, and our in-house magazine, Will2Win, which is distributed six times a year to all employees. Employee representatives are consulted regularly on a wide range of matters affecting their current and future interests and are encouraged to raise any issues or concerns. In 2010, we are establishing a dedicated internal communications function to improve our communication and engagement with employees.
For our Retail staff, who represent more than 90% of our employees, we operate staff councils in each of our geographic regions and at Group level. Each council meets four times a year with the aim of providing an additional channel of consultation between directors, management and staff and to make the fullest use of employees’ experience and ideas. Representatives from the retail staff councils attend the National Staff Conference, held at least three times a year, which is chaired jointly by the Retail Operations Director and the Group Director of Human Resources.
As part of our efforts to encourage employee engagement, we have operated an annual employee share save scheme since we floated in 2002. Staff have the opportunity to join the schemes for a period of three, five or seven years. The 2009 scheme attracted 1,453 staff savers (2008 – 1,797).
During 2010, we will be undertaking an employee engagement survey, which was last conducted in 2008.
In 2009, we relocated Online’s Sportsbook and fixed-odds games from the UK to Gibraltar where the headquarters of William Hill Online is located. As part of this process, we transferred key operations to Gibraltar, which impacted 168 employees across various functions based in Leeds. Of these, 79 employees transferred to Gibraltar, 5 were redeployed elsewhere and 71 were made redundant. We provided extensive support for employees throughout the process, including in the relocation of employees’ families to Gibraltar.