THIS CONSUMER FINANCE provider, founded in 1997, lends to people with poor credit ratings to help them buy a car, van or motorbike.
Staff are able to take part in voluntary activities during work time, and the company will match any money they raise. Among the good causes that benefit is the nominated charity, Magic Breakfast,
which provides free morning meals to pupils who would otherwise go without.
As well as generating funds, employees donate time, taking part in breakfast clubs twice a week at a local primary school. People say First Response Finance is driven by more than profit and budgetary concerns (an 87% positive score, the top result), and agree that the business puts plenty back into the local community (72%).
The company’s 270-strong workforce is based at the head office in Nottingham and two sites in Leigh, near Manchester, and Glasgow. They believe they can make a valuable contribution to the firm’s success (88% positive) and wouldn’t leave tomorrow if they had another job (83%).
Staff are offered the chance to join a “leadership academy”, a two-year programme that enables them to develop the necessary management skills and helps the company fulfil its stated policy of promoting employees from within.
Flexible working is available, and last year First Response Finance also introduced “care days” — paid time off for employees to attend hospital appointments with loved ones or to look after family members.
Colleagues agree they do not spend too much time working (70%) and say that the company’s managers take an active interest in their wellbeing (85%).
Mission / Vision
Mission: Providing straightforward financial solutions for today and tomorrow.
Vision: By 2019, we will be recognised as an undisputed leader amongst the UK finance providers, underpinned by world class People, Service & Profit.
Best Workplace Factors
Leadership development programme has
been developed in collaboration with an external training company that focuses
on theoretical skills and how to practically implement these skills through
observation, mentoring and structured sign offs. They feel that this is an
innovative and unique approach that gives leaders and future leaders the best
possible tools to run their teams in a consistent and value driven way.
Following last year’s Leadership Day, they have also implemented a structure
for development of the Leadership team by running several 'master class
sessions' throughout the year, covering consistent Leadership topics. These
sessions are always mixed, encouraging Leaders from different departments and
sites to interact, share and learn together and to give them a common topic,
such as 'Building High Performing' to strive to perfect as a team. They do not
burden their leaders with ensuring targets are met, instead they provide them
with training and coaching to get the best out of people by improving the
“system” and giving them empowerment to make differences. They encourage leaders
to make brave decisions and make mistakes. They do not try to constrain their
leaders and they encourage individuality and diversity.
Response are aware that their employees have full, busy and often demanding lifestyles
away from the work place. In an attempt to ease any external pressures employees
face they have a number of paid days available per employee which can be used
to help with finding a healthy work-life balance. This benefit has been
introduced this year and employees that have benefited from them have used them
for reasons including attending hospital appointments with family members and
caring for their children when they have been ill. Prior to the Care Days being
introduced employees may not have attended such appointments with family
members but then have been unable to concentrate on their work whilst waiting
for an update. Parents of children that are poorly would have still been off
but may have worried about the financial implications of not being paid for
that time. The Care Days are aimed at reducing these pressures and
acknowledging that the company’s support will enable them to perform to the
best of their abilities as they are not worrying about what they may have been
unable to do in their personal life. They also appreciate that mornings can be
a rush for people due to traffic or the school run. To save employees time and
allow them to have a calm start to the day they offer breakfasts for a charity
The values at First Response Finance are their foundation and they are
referred back to in any decision making process. They are central to the
recruitment and selection process - with discussions about how candidates have
displayed the values throughout the various activities during the assessment
day. Often the activities will be selected based on how they will enable the
candidates to display their own values. Once employed at First Response each
employee participates in an induction process which includes a dedicated
session which covers the company values, purpose and operating principles, this
takes an approach which includes a variety of methods to create a fun and
interactive session. Some areas of the business take that one step further;
once the new employee has the theory they will sit in the relevant department,
with team members and observe and document so they see the values being
displayed in a real environment. Don Brough (CEO) and Jonathan Pollard
(Director of Operations) regularly visit all office locations and give an
update on company performance. The vision statement is broken down and they
have clear bench-marking in order to track their progress in relation to
achieving their goal. It is motivating for all to see how they are doing in
each of the People, Service and Profit measures. As the vision statement is
broken down it is much easier for people to see that it can be achieved rather
than just a statement that is forgotten once the Company update is over.