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30 Apr

REPL UK Recognised As Great Place to Work

GPTW blog

Author: Alex Musto

Last year, REPL’s US business won a Great Place To Work award – officially confirming the high-trust culture the company has worked so hard to build. Now, REPL UK has followed suit with its own Great Place certification.

CEO Cerys Johnson joined REPL nine years ago, back when there were only 30 global employees. With the company having grown to over 400 people today, Cerys talks about what the Great Place To Work award means for REPL UK, and what it reflects about the culture of the business.

What is a Great Place To Work award?

Great Place To Work (GPTW) recognises the best workplaces in the world, assessing company culture and behaviour across a broad range of criteria, and giving a result according to its purpose-designed Trust Index. The process includes submission of a complete culture brief, plus employee surveys, conducted anonymously so that a clear and genuine picture of workplace culture can be gained.

Organisations that apply for certification must meet the required criteria for accreditation, with the threshold level varying according to industry, size of company and other factors.

Ultimately, GPTW is an award for those businesses that consistently provide an outstanding experience for their employees.

First-time Accreditation

The majority of businesses that apply don’t gain accreditation in the first year. ‘REPL was one of just 70 first-time applicants across the UK who received the award on the first attempt,’ notes Cerys.

Sports Relief

Up against the top 20 companies in the industry, REPL scored most highly on teamwork, diversity and job security. ‘People want to work somewhere that has a strong, vibrant culture where they’re valued and feel supported. They want to bring their authentic selves to work.’

Cerys attributes REPL’s high score on job security to the strong investment they make in all their people. ‘We’re not a hire-and-fire organisation. We aim to grow and develop our people, looking to the long-term sustainability of the business.’

Trust and Integrity

Being a Great Place To Work ultimately comes down to trust. But what does that mean in practice?

‘Trust is down to belief,’ explains Cerys. ‘It’s about whether people believe we will follow through on commitments and behave in line with the values, ethics and culture we talk about. Trust sets the foundation for all we do.’

GPTW measures that Trust – on both sides. ‘We also trust our employees to go out and do a good job. When they come to us for resources, we trust they’re asking for a good reason. That’s not just a point of culture. It has a meaningful impact on the business. It helps minimise timelines: you can respond faster because you don’t waste time validating whether people really need help or not.’

Trust is a reflection of mutual integrity. Employees trust the company to do what it says, and the same is true for the trust REPL places in its people.

A catalyst for improvement

GPTW seeks to recognise where companies are getting it right, but the assessment also pinpoints areas for improvement.

‘One that jumped out in our case was Corporate Social Responsibility. We actually do a lot on the CSR front but haven’t communicated that well. That’s something we’re now looking to address.

‘One area in particular was minimising our environmental impact. Because we don’t manufacture, we’re a fairly low carbon footprint organisation. But we needed to make sure we were demonstrably minimising our impact on the environment. Since the assessment, we’ve made sure people know about our free charging points for electric vehicles, and we’re working on adding carbon tracking to expenses. We’ve also switched to green power providers and low-energy lighting solutions, eliminated single-use plastics and ensured there are recycling facilities in all our offices. GPTW has been a catalyst for improvement.’

Heading in the right direction

‘We’ve always had a great sense of pride in our business at REPL. But it’s really healthy to have an independent third-party to assess whether we’re going along the right lines. It helps to validate we’re doing the right things and focus on the right areas.’

A key part of that has been the material provided by the team in the anonymous surveys – including the opportunity for free-form feedback. ‘I read every line of that. Those are the most insightful pieces in the survey – they communicate our employees’ emotion and passion.’

Grads in the Kitchen

Impressively, the response rate for the surveys was over 80%. ‘It gave our people a chance to have an independent voice, to tell us what we were doing right and be heard about areas we need to improve. It made me incredibly proud of our team.’

Employer branding

The thread of trust and integrity runs through both REPL and GPTW. Cerys explains how she was originally attracted to working at REPL due to the opportunities and responsibilities this high-trust culture afforded her.

‘In my previous job I had limited scope for driving change. Due to the nature of the business culture, I wasn’t able to make a significant impact. At REPL, there was a real chance to set the direction for the company.’

REPL’s workforce has expanded by more than ten times over the last nine years, and the company is continually seeking to hire new people. The GPTW accreditation offers prospective applicants reassurance that they are making the right move.

‘We’re growing quickly and always looking to recruit. If people know we’re a high-trust organisation with integrity, it takes away that fear factor about moving jobs. It’s great employer branding.’

Industry-wide recognition 

REPL was up against 20 global companies in the same industry. The Award was originally supposed to be presented at a gala dinner on 29 April but, like so many events, has had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

REPL can, however, reveal that they achieved a rank of 58 out of all the award recipients – a huge honour for the company and a tribute to the integrity of its people.

Find out more about Great Place to Work UK.


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