Officially a Very Good
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Officially a Very Good
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Officially an Outstanding
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Officially an Outstanding
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Officially a World Class
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Officially a World Class
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Officially a Good
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Officially a Good
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Best Company to work for in the UK
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VIRGIN MONEY'S RECENT buyout of Northern Rock, which brought it 75 high-street banks, more than 2,000 extra staff and 1m more customers, has given staff plenty of reason to be excited about where the organisation is going. Its positive score of 86% on this question in our employee engagement survey was bettered by just three other firms on the list. The fast-growing company had a workforce of 437 when our survey was carried out, an increase of almost 50% on the previous 12 months. Staff feel proud of the brand and Virgin Money's ambition to make everyone better off (84%). "We think we can build a very different kind of bank," says Caroline Marsh, the culture director, who has moved from Edinburgh to Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, where most of the new staff are based. "Our watchword is business unusual. We do not just do the normal thing because for us the culture is supremely important," says Marsh. She has spent 13 years with the firm which already provides a wide range of financial services from mortgages, savings and house insurance to investments, credit cards and pensions to 3m clients. Within days of getting the keys to Northern Rock, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson and Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the Virgin Money chief executive, joined the executive team for a tour, visiting staff in London, Norwich and Edinburgh, as well as the new crew in Newcastle. Reflecting its open and non-hierarchical management style, Virgin Money is implementing tangible changes at the old Northern Rock headquarters, planning to knock down walls so staff can work alongside each other. Even more significantly the executives, including Gadhia, who works out of three of the company's six sites, have vacated the old fourth-floor executive suite. It will now be turned into meeting rooms for everyone to use. "It has really made a difference to people's perception that we are all in this together," says Gadhia, who gave five one-hour talks to 360 people at a time and set up a personal email so employees could ask her any questions they had. She's not complacent about the challenges ahead, though. "At the moment it is a honeymoon period. I am really sure about that. We are very fortunate for that to have been unanimously positive." Gadhia, like other members of the senior team, eats lunch in the canteen. She sends out a chatty weekly update to all workers and is on first-name terms with employees, who think she runs the firm on sound moral principles (80%). "She's wonderful. She's one of the team," says Scott Anderson, who runs the Virgin Money customer lounge at its offices in Edinburgh. "I love my job," says the 24-year-old, a common feeling among staff (75%), even though the week can be a long one, ranging from 41 hours for team members to 47 hours for senior managers. While many admit they are exhausted most days when they get home, recording a positive score of only 45%, they still have lots of fun (80%). Virgin Money gives everyone a community day to help a good cause and encourages charitable activities (91%, in fifth place). In 2010, it signed a five-year deal to be the official sponsor of the London Marathon and last year more than 40% of staff were involved on the day as runners, helpers, supporters or managing hospitality. The firm, which also sponsors the Edinburgh Festival Fringe street events and the Festival fireworks concert, is doing its bit to protect the environment too (74%). Virgin Money ranks 24th overall for Giving Something Back, clearly demonstrating to its employees that profit and budgets aren't the only things driving the company (68%). Employees think it makes a positive difference to the world (77%). "It's a fantastic job," says Sophie Pitman, events project manager. Staff are eligible for perks including discounts across the Virgin Group, and rank the business in the top half of the list for giving them a Fair Deal. "People see it more as an opportunity to make a difference than a job to come to work to pay the mortgage," says Gadhia. "It does not feel like working in a bank." www.virginmoney.com

Featured Workplace Factors

Giving Something Back

95% of staff agreed

My organisation encourages charitable activities

Virgin Money's CEO, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, never takes no for an answer and never accepts things at face value. She always looks for the win: win EBO (Everyone Better Off) solution and inspires her colleagues to do the same. Above all, she is a brilliant and engaging communicator whether addressing an audience of 1,500, having a one on one conversation or writing to every colleague every Friday.

My Company

87% of staff agreed

I believe I can make a valuable contribution to the success of this organisation

Virgin Money's CEO, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, never takes no for an answer and never accepts things at face value. She always looks for the win: win EBO (Everyone Better Off) solution and inspires her colleagues to do the same. Above all, she is a brilliant and engaging communicator whether addressing an audience of 1,500, having a one on one conversation or writing to every colleague every Friday.

Leadership

84% of staff agreed

I have a great deal of faith in the person leading this organisation

Virgin Money's CEO sends an email to all colleagues every single Friday and invites colleagues to email her with their ideas and feedback, which they do on a regular basis. Every month, members of the Executive Team hold informal “coffee and cake” sessions with small groups of colleagues in each of their four major locations – Gosforth, Norwich, Edinburgh and London. This provides a regular, informal way of sharing ideas and feedback and is popular with colleagues.

Benefits

Holidays

Companies offering a minimum of 26 days annual leave to all employees.

Long Service

Companies where at least 40% of the staff have worked there for more than five years.

Pensions

Companies offering a final salary scheme to all employees, or one in which the employer's contribution is at least 5%.

Private Healthcare

Companies offering private health insurance to all employees.

Women in Senior Management

At least 40% of senior managers are women.

List Positions

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