Thinking outside the box can make an outstanding employer

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BEING an outstanding employer need not be expensive, it’s creativity that is important, according to an academic at Bradford University School of Management.

The business school is backing the Yorkshire Post’s Excellence in Business Awards, and in particular the award for Outstanding Employer of the Year.

Dr David Spicer, senior lecturer in organisational change, who is head of Bradford University School of Management’s human resource management group, said: “Bradford University School of Management has supported the Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards for six years because we believe that they are an excellent way for the region’s businesses to celebrate success and to benchmark their achievements against others.”

He added: “We constantly promote innovation and entrepreneurship and these awards provide best practice examples of companies being creative and doing things differently in a challenging economic environment.”

As one of the UK’s oldest university-based businesses schools in the UK, Bradford University School of Management has been offering management education for almost 50 years.

More than 70 nations are represented among the students at the business school’s campus, where a recent £12m investment in the site has created an atrium space for eating, drinking, socialising and working, plus an MBA suite and a learning resource centre that integrates the law collection with the business and management library.

Dr Spicer said that everyone who enters the category for Outstanding Employer of the Year will be a good employer, with good practices and commendable employee relationships. “Therefore, what we are looking for is a company that is doing something above and beyond what would be expected,” he said.

“Being an outstanding employer need not be expensive. It’s about creativity not swanky offices or million pound development budgets.

“It’s about partnerships and reciprocity – what are companies doing to create outstanding employee relationships? Just like any other kind of relationship, are they investing the time and effort to make them work?”

Judges for the category for Outstanding Employer of the Year will be looking at what employers are doing to handle current uncertainty in business environments; to reassure and motivate staff, said Dr Spicer.

“This may be in activities that are around the margins of the business. For example, if there is slack time in the company could employees be training each other or working in their local communities and bringing benefits back into the workplace?” added Dr Spicer, who chairs the school’s judging panel for the category.

The other categories available in the Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards are: Companies with a turnover under £10m, sponsored by Yorkshire Bank; Companies with a turnover between £10m and £50m, sponsored by PwC; Companies with a turnover of more than £50m, sponsored by DLA Piper; Young Business of the Year, for firms up to three years old, sponsored by Goldman Sachs; Young Entrepreneur of the Year, for all promising owner-managers and directors aged 35 and under, sponsored by O2; SME Manufacturer of the Year, for manufacturing companies with a turnover of under £10m, sponsored by KeyedIn; Innovation of the Year, sponsored by Drax; Exporter of the Year, sponsored by thebigwordGroup; and the Business Community Award, sponsored by QBE Insurance.

The deadline for entries is July 2. For more details, visit