Staff at Friends Provident have had their own windfall in the past year. When the financial services company demutualised, they all received 200 free shares and a celebratory clock.
The firm was founded by Quakers 170 years ago and is keen to promote integrity, fair dealing and ethical investment. Its savings and insurance based products such as pensions boomed during the 1990s when staff numbers tripled. However, Friends sold its personal financial services division resulting in a reduction in staff of 891 last year.
'Value people, deal fairly' is a company motto. Employees are consulted at every level, helping to create a new salary management framework. Flexitime has been much appreciated and four in five staff take advantage of it, together with 9% who work from home. More than 80% say they can take time off if they need to and this can even include nipping off for snooker during the day or working a nine-day fortnight of 70 hours. Although there is an on site nursery, maternity pay and leave are only statutory.
The sports and social club at Dorking includes football and cricket pitches, a putting green, croquet lawn, tennis courts, a badminton hall, squash, sauna, gym, snooker and table tennis with a subsidised bar. One employee said 'We have the finest social club I have every heard of in a company, the surroundings are beautiful and my team has a great sense of working together. I have never been happier in my working career'.
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