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Putting people first pays off

Words:
Karey Wardhaugh

Karey Wardhaugh of AEW explains how the firm works to nurture and develop its staff, a strategy that has won it Investors in People gold accreditation and a place on the Sunday Times Best Places to Work list

Karey Wardhaugh is head of people at AEW, a B-Corp with an Investors in People gold accreditation.
Karey Wardhaugh is head of people at AEW, a B-Corp with an Investors in People gold accreditation.

We were thrilled to be included in this year’s Sunday Times Best Places to Work list – for the second time – and also to be highly commended in its Best Places To Work For LGBTQIA+ Spotlight Awards. Both reflect the genuine ‘people first’ culture that we have built within our 104-strong Manchester- and London-based practice. 

It’s always a two-way conversation with the team. For example, we engage with our people on benefits to ensure they are relevant. Following our last People survey we introduced enhanced maternity, adoption and paternity pay, and improved our hybrid flexible working offer.

We always look at ways to improve our people offer, especially in terms of learning and development. Last year we introduced a new coaching-led review process, with a focus on regular conversations rather than an annual review. It supports the team by building confidence and tackling issues such as imposter syndrome and fear of failure. By understanding mindset and behaviours we can support people’s long-term development, performance and wellbeing.

By understanding mindset and behaviours we can support people’s long-term development, performance and wellbeing

We regularly review our strategies with feedback from the team. We understand the importance of good, open dialogue, and this enables the business to provide an environment where people feel supported and can do their best. 

Our internal EDI and Social Value and Wellbeing Committees are great examples. They not only support the communities in which we work, but also our people, sharing knowledge and bringing people together. Through volunteering or charity fundraising, for example, we create a suitable environment for our diverse team, and a culture that we can all be proud of. 

Karey Wardhaugh is head of people at AEW

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