FROM CHARLEY THE cat cautioning children not to go off with strangers, to warnings that "Coughs and sneezes spread diseases" and "Watch out! There's a thief about!", the Central Office of Information (COI) has always excelled at getting its message across. It can also be proud of the close relationship it has with its 650-strong workforce.
The COI was established in 1946 to replace the Ministry of Information, which had organised wartime publicity and propaganda, including the Careless Talk Costs Lives campaign. After the second world war, the organisation helped mobilise the labour force to rebuild priority industries and encouraged immigration with promotional films such as A Journey By a London Bus.
It marked its 60th anniversary in 2006, having grown to become the UK's biggest advertiser. Spread across eight sites around the UK, the COI co-ordinates the government's £540m annual marketing and communications spend. Working for a body at the hub of the government's communications machine means there is rarely a dull moment for employees (69% positive). They find their jobs fun (76%), stimulating (75%), and love what they do at the COI (72%).
With an average age of just 34, this young and dynamic workforce views the COI as a perfect place to gain valuable experience (77%) — the top score for medium-sized organisations. People agree the job is good for their personal growth (73%) and feel they can make a valuable contribution (76%).
Only one other medium-sized public body has a higher satisfaction rating among staff for pay and benefits (71%). The COI offers various work options including job sharing, flexitime and term-time only contracts. The average salary is a competitive £36,000.
The chief executive, Mark Lund, reports to the minister for the Cabinet Office, who is accountable to parliament and its select committees for all COI activities. The minister sets the organisation's yearly goals for efficiency, quality and financial performance. Staff are inspired by Lund's leadership (63%), saying he runs the operation on sound principles (69%). Managers regularly show their appreciation when staff do a good job (70%). Employees, who enjoyed summer and Christmas awards ceremonies last year, are also confident in the skills of the senior team (64%).
Good teamwork naturally follows on from good leadership and COI staff say few of their colleagues are disruptive (69%). In fact, people go out of their way to help each other (75%) and being in their teams gives them a buzz (66%).
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave
On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships
On-site nursery or vouchers
At least 10 weeks' leave on full pay
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