Avis training programmes and initiatives to emphasise teamwork and recognise good performance show the firm is working harder than ever to retain its people. Today the company, which is synonymous with car-hire, operates in more than 4,000 locations in 114 countries. In the UK it has 798 employees across 127 sites. But despite its size, there is still a family-like culture. According to one employee, "Avis really does care about you as an individual". The caring side extends to charity work. In the past year about 470 Avis employees have taken part in charity work, while a payroll giving scheme raises about £2,000 a month. Projects supported include Future Forests (Avis claims to be the only carbon-neutral car rental company) while Stuart Gent, the managing director, raffled his Porsche to raise funds for Macmillan nurses.
Company directors are known by their first names and the firm holds a national three-day conference for managers and supervisors. Its intranet is consistently updated and there is a quarterly in-house One Team newsletter. At the end of each business quarter Gent personally attends station manager meetings to give business updates. Employees have a voice, too, giving quarterly feedback to the managing director and human resources team.
A sense of trust pervades the organisation and, out of our eight factors, the "my team" section is where Avis had its highest scores; staff say their team is fun to work with (an 85% positive score), that colleagues go out of their way to help them and that they have confidence in the abilities of their colleagues (both 80% scores).
Last year the firm's internal training programme was enhanced further by gaining accreditation from the Nottingham Business School, enabling candidates to gain external university qualifications, including a full MBA. The 79% score for feeling able to make a difference within the firm puts Avis in the top 20 for this measure.
Avis has a new sabbatical programme and a personal development awards scheme worth £250 will allow its recipients the opportunity to contribute in other fields. Its reward programmes include the Spirit of Avis and the 100 Club, as well as long-term service awards. There is also an annual black-tie awards ceremony.
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