W L Gore & Associates (UK) Ltd

http://www.gore.com/

Officially a Very Good
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Officially a Very Good
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Officially an Outstanding
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Officially a World Class
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Officially a Good
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W L GORE & ASSOCIATES has made its name creating innovative, technology-driven products, from life-saving medical devices to high-performance Gore-Tex fabrics. The company, founded in 1958 by research chemist Bill Gore and his wife Vieve in the basement of their Delaware home, boasts annual sales in excess of $3bn and a presence in 30 countries, including Scotland, the location of its UK headquarters and where just under 400 of its 10,000-plus employees work. Associates, as staff are known, believe they can make a valuable contribution to the success of the organisation (a top-five positive score of 87%), which in their view makes a real difference to the world (83%, sixth). Few would leave tomorrow if they were offered a job elsewhere (83%, just three firms scored higher). More than four-fifths of employees have been on the payroll for at least five years, with 167 people clocking up more than 15 years' service. The firm, which has two locations — the headquarters in Livingston and another site in Dundee — favours a team-based environment that encourages personal initiative, hence there are no job titles and no pay grades, with each member of staff's salary individually arrived at. Apart from those working in areas that need to be resourced for certain periods of time, each associate is in control of their own working day and week with no set hours, the only proviso being that they fulfil their work commitments. Staff find their job good for their own personal growth (84%, fifth) and, while they have no time to be bored (81%), deadlines are realistic (75%) and their health is not suffering because of their work (83%). With effective collaboration so essential to getting the job done at Gore, the workforce is involved in a range of team-building initiatives from cooking meals together to go-karting and painting. Proud (88%) employees think W L Gore is run on strong values (86%) and that the business does its bit to protect the environment (83%). The company, which doubles charity money raised by staff, who all took part in good deeds during work hours last year, buys green energy and encourages working from home. Benefits include profit-related pay, free private healthcare and a contributory pension into which it puts 15% of employees' pay. www.gore.com

Featured Workplace Factors

My Company

96% of staff agreed

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

The way W L Gore & Associates do business within their unique culture means the individual makes their own choices and is able to take control of themselves and the work they do. On a practical level and for real peace of mind, for every single associate they provide private medical insurance, dental insurance, and on site occupation health nursing as well as on site massages. They also have a PHI scheme, and an EAP for every person and EAP covers family members too. Another key aspect of wellbeing is via their sponsor, who gives focussed help for their development. Sponsors are chosen by the individual and in 95% of cases a strong personal trusting relationship develops where you can go and talk about anything such as work or personal matters in a safe and confidential environment.

Giving Something Back

92% of staff agreed

My organisation genuinely cares about the environment

The people at Gore have a deeply held fundamental belief in the potential of individuals to be creative, solve problems, and exercise judgment and initiative. Their freedom principle succinctly captures the essence of their philosophy of development. They want to encourage associates to grow and to maximise their true potential. Embedded in that wording is the assumption that the ultimate responsibility for an associate's development lies with the associate. The role of other associates, including sponsors and leaders, is to encourage and support the associate in their efforts. Within Gore, they do not have pre-defined career paths or roles that ensure associates' success. Associates must find their own path that enables them to maximise their contributions to the enterprise. Ultimately, the contribution process is the primary determinant for measuring an associate's overall contribution. Associates can grow in a variety of ways. Once established, they can increase their "depth" - become experts in a certain specialised field or they can increase their "breadth", assuming broader responsibilities within the enterprise. The journey for each associate is dynamic and may change over time, but key is the idea that they should all encourage each other in a path of development that helps each individual associate to succeed, increase their ability to contribute, and thereby help the enterprise succeed.

Personal Growth

90% of staff agreed

This job is good for my own personal growth

W L Gore & Associates have a lattice structure which means that they have no hierarchy and can go directly to whoever they want /need to talk to with feedback, or questions and using a range of media. This seems like a simple answer, but it works. There is no need to ask permission and it is just a natural every day occurrence for them to challenge decisions, share ideas, seek clarity on strategy. No need for secret suggestion boxes, they support open communication instead. The company teaches listening and communication skills so that the direct communication is not confined to those who are eloquent.

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%.

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