Looking for a job with low levels of stress and plenty of security where you can have a laugh with your colleagues? Well, you'll get a full house if you work for Gala Bingo.
While its 6.7m members have their eyes down at its 171 clubs in the hope of a big win, the firm's 6,640 staff already have a lot to shout about. Gala wins a 73% positive score — the highest in our survey — for employees not being put under so much pressure they can't concentrate and a 75% score, the second highest, for workers having no stress-related symptoms because of work in the past 12 months. The firm, based in Nottingham, also gets top 10 results for staff having fun with colleagues (79%) and feeling their job is safe (75%).
Steve McKenna started his career in bingo at 16 at his parents' club in Margate and joined Gala as a trainee manager in 1985. He is now the managing director, and there are plenty of other examples of personal growth and promotion throughout the company. In fact, almost 30% of staff have worked for Gala for at least five years.
The company runs its own courses and also sponsors a number of management employees to gain academic qualifications, including MBAs and those accredited by the CIPD. Employees who have worked with the firm for more than a year can apply for funding for their private studies, ranging from £200 learning vouchers to scholarships worth up to £3,000.
Bonus and incentive schemes, many of which are targeted towards teamwork as well as individual performance, motivate employees and promote creativity. Awards range from bingo caller of the year to club of the year and best support manager. These seem to have the desired effect of keeping staff feeling fully involved (72%) and believing they can make a valuable contribution (70%). Social events strengthen camaraderie and last year the firm spent £206,000 on activities from Christmas parties and meals out to a Gala golf day and a quiz contest.
All this boosts morale, team spirit and trust. Workers feel that managers talk honestly and openly with them and find it easy to be themselves at work (both 73%).
Gala offers its staff career breaks, early retirement, job secondments and study leave. The company provides an occupational health service which enables workers to get home visits, surgery assessments and general health advice, while Bupa membership is available for all management-grade employees.
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