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In 1995, AJ Bell's founders, Andy Bell and Nicholas Littlefair, started the company with just £10,000 in personal loans in a small office in Manchester. Their entrepreneurial spirit, ambition and vision for the industry fuelled the company’s growth, so that today it is one of the UKs largest investment platforms, with more than 850 employees now working for them.
AJ Bell's head office at Salford Quays is equipped with its own on-site gym, training and seminar suite, e-learning zone, dining area, lounge and rooftop terrace.
It is not just the physical environment that makes working for AJ Bell so special. They also host plenty of social and team building events throughout the year, including legendary Christmas and summer parties.
AJ Bell encourages an environment of real collaboration and open communication. An open-door policy is encouraged around the business, and twice a year the CEO gives his ‘town hall talk’ to the whole company, ensuring that everyone is kept fully informed and up to date with the latest developments across the organisation.
"We are delighted to have maintained our status as a 3 star company, which is testament to our ongoing commitment to invest in our people. This year we have focused on health and wellbeing and moved quickly to keep our people safe in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have also kept our strong focus on staff engagement and talent management, ensuring we continue to nurture our staff and give them the training, development and support that they need to help them realise their potential at AJ Bell. The support we have in place for both our staff around their mental health, and for our managers now having to manage teams remotely, has helped maintain our culture, even during what has been a tough year for us all." - Liz Carrington, HR Director.
The company has trained Mental Health First Aiders who have been on hand to help employees. Three of these First Aiders are in the HR Team, where they provide Mental Health Awareness workshops for management and employees, something that has continued throughout lockdown. A new section of the intranet has been developed to focus on employee wellbeing and focuses on both mental and physical wellbeing. They also provide an Employee Assistance Programme and ran an awareness workshop at the start of lockdown to promote this to employees. A Strava running club was set up to create additional support and motivation to keep employees fit and on the move.
AJ Bell rolled out the use of Microsoft Teams to all employees to enable team members to keep in contact in a more instant way than using emails. Managers have held regular meetings with their teams via MS Teams or Zoom throughout the pandemic. They have utilised their intranet to effectively communicate across the business and to stimulate online forums.
AJ Bell’s senior management sent emails to staff on a regular basis during the pandemic, keeping employees abreast of both company performance as well as providing reassurance. The company launched the ‘AJ Bell Wage War on Covid’ fund to allow employees to nominate organisations or charities of their choice to receive donations. One of the key initiatives from the fund provided local care homes with tablets so residents could communicate with their families. This created a real sense of pride and support amongst AJ Bell’s staff who felt they could help those in less fortunate situations.
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
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