W L GORE & ASSOCIATES has made its name creating innovative, technology-driven products, from life-saving medical devices to high-performance Gore-Tex fabrics. The company, founded in 1958 by research chemist Bill Gore and his wife Vieve in the basement of their Delaware home, boasts annual sales in excess of $3bn and a presence in 30 countries, including Scotland, the location of its UK headquarters and where just under 400 of its 10,000-plus employees work.
Associates, as staff are known, believe they can make a valuable contribution to the success of the organisation (a top-five positive score of 87%), which in their view makes a real difference to the world (83%, sixth). Few would leave tomorrow if they were offered a job elsewhere (83%, just three firms scored higher). More than four-fifths of employees have been on the payroll for at least five years, with 167 people clocking up more than 15 years’ service.
The firm, which has two locations — the headquarters in Livingston and another site in Dundee — favours a team-based environment that encourages personal initiative, hence there are no job titles and no pay grades, with each member of staff’s salary individually arrived at. Apart from those working in areas that need to be resourced for certain periods of time, each associate is in control of their own working day and week with no set hours, the only proviso being that they fulfil their work commitments. Staff find their job good for their own personal growth (84%, fifth) and, while they have no time to be bored (81%), deadlines are realistic (75%) and their health is not suffering because of their work (83%).
With effective collaboration so essential to getting the job done at Gore, the workforce is involved in a range of team-building initiatives from cooking meals together to go-karting and painting. Proud (88%) employees think W L Gore is run on strong values (86%) and that the business does its bit to protect the environment (83%).
The company, which doubles charity money raised by staff, who all took part in good deeds during work hours last year, buys green energy and encourages working from home. Benefits include profit-related pay, free private healthcare and a contributory pension into which it puts 15% of employees’ pay.
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
Companies where employees are offered share options
Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave
On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships
10% of staff undertake charitable activities during business hours
On-site nursery or vouchers
Companies offering a final salary or non-contributory pension scheme
40% of employees with more than 5 years' service
Dental insurance offer to all employees
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