Career-minded job seekers want more than an exciting job description, they want a company culture and a mission that aligns with their personal values. They want inspiring leadership and professional growth opportunities. If this sounds like you, then we have the company and the leader for you.
A true inspiration and innovator, Anglian Water CEO, Peter Simpson, claims the top spot as Top CEO 2019 in the U.K. for the second time with a 99 percent approval rating. One employee raves about his vision saying, “I have never worked at a company where culture and value is so evident from CEO down to the troops… doing the right thing comes as standard here.”
Naturally, Simpson shies away from his recognition, instead choosing to highlight employees and their contributions. And this isn’t just his reaction at the moment; Simpson has long been a champion for his employees and the Anglian Water leadership as being core to the company’s success.
“I would like to thank all our employees who make Anglian Water such a great place to work every single day – somewhere I love working too,” says Simpson. “I believe it’s so important to create an open culture, where our people are the experts at what they do and they’re given the freedom to do what’s right for our customers.”
Over the past few years, Glassdoor has regularly spoken to Simpson about his leadership style, how he empowers those who work at Anglian Water and what he looks for in applicants. Here’s more than enough reason to apply to one of their open jobs!
What are two or three steps your company has taken to double down on company culture, employee engagement and employee feedback that may have led to this win?
Peter Simpson: We work hard on encouraging employee wellbeing and creating a culture driven by happier, healthier and safer staff. Looking after our employees is at the heart of delivering great customer service, alongside the enthusiasm and dedication our staff have for their jobs.
We’ve undertaken even more work to understand and develop the positive culture across the organisation so we can continue to build on our success and support our staff in the best possible way.
Why should job seekers apply for an open role at Anglian Water? What are two to three benefits, practices or traditions that are unique to your company?
Peter Simpson: Our staff are proud to work for Anglian Water. There is a real sense of care and support across the organisation, whatever area you work in. Our employees get a true sense of purpose from providing safe clean drinking water, sewage services and protecting the environment for the wider communities we serve.There’s always the opportunity for our staff to improve, develop their skills and try new things. Over a quarter of our external hires are through employee referrals and we don’t financially incentivise them to refer their family or friends, which speaks volumes about how happy our people are to work here.
Glassdoor is all about transparency and helping people everywhere find a job and company they love. What insights can you share about the interview process at Anglian Water? What types of questions do you ask?
Peter Simpson: We don’t just look for the required skills in our future employees, but also their experience and knowledge too. Just as importantly, we look for people whose behaviours align to our culture and who share the same values as we do as an organisation.
Why do employees stay so long at Anglian Water?
Peter Simpson: It’s because this is a long-term business, to start off with. There are short-term things to do, of course, but also, there’s long-term ambition and once you get hooked on it, you want to see things through.
If you’ve been part of the community of Anglian, it’s something which is not a short-term thing, so I think the sense of family that comes with it, does actually mean you want to stay longer. I often talk to our graduates who join us and quite a few of them, if they’re being completely honest, anticipate finishing the management program, maybe doing a year or two afterwards and then moving on and doing something else. However, I speak to them five or six years later, when they tell me they didn’t realise the full scope of what the organisation does and the diverse opportunities that are on offer.
We are only a water company, but actually, we are creating opportunities for people to grow and giving them a stretch. If we’re doing that, then people say, “Where else will I get that? I don’t have to leave this business to get those opportunities”. So we focus on career development and opportunities, letting people move around the business, encouraging people to be the best they can be. I think all that stuff just hooks people in.
How does the company foster a strong culture?
Peter Simpson: We’ve got three pillars that we focus on: innovation, collaboration and transformation.
Innovation is about looking outside the business. We really encourage people to challenge us and be challenging of themselves and each other, by going out to look at other businesses, bringing best practice into our business from outside.
Collaboration comes about from long-term relationships, both with partners and communities and customers. Transformation is about recognising that change is inevitable and not shying away from that. We might have people who’ve worked in the business for a long time, but being open to change is really important.
What about employee well-being, how do you tackle that?
Peter Simpson: We focus on three areas: “happier, healthier and safer”. We have set out to extol the positive benefits of work, so that work can have a positive contribution to health and wellbeing in particular. That’s an important journey we’re on. For example, with health, we’ve done an awful lot of work on helping employees to understand what great nutrition looks like, and we’ve done lots of programs around weight. We run lots of programs around muscular/skeletal health too. They’re not paternalistic, they’re designed to say, “Here are the benefits and why wouldn’t you be part of this?” It’s been incredibly well received actually, as has the focus on mental health.
Work can be a really positive thing, if it’s the right environment and we create the right sort of jobs for people. It has a really positive effect on people’s overall well-being and frankly, to miss the opportunity of making work like that is a huge shame. Therefore, we’ve written into our health and safety policy that work is to be a positive contribution to employee wellbeing as well as, of course, making sure people are safe when they come to work.
What impact do employee reviews have on your business?
Peter Simpson: There’s nothing better, actually, than feedback from employees about what we’re doing. It takes the gloss off it; it’s reality. You see genuine feedback where we haven’t got it right, or where people don’t have quite the same view and that’s because life isn’t perfect. I think you get a very clear view into a company when you’ve got enough reviews to understand what it’s really about.
What difference does it make to have informed candidates applying to work for you?
Peter Simpson: We see more informed people even at the initial application stage, let alone getting to the next stage of a recruitment process. These candidates have got a much better feel for what the company is really like and increasingly, people joining us are not looking solely at how much it pays or all the rest of it, they’re looking at the culture of the organisation. “Is this really somewhere I want to put my time? Is this a bunch of people with my values?”.
That is much better and, actually, what I’ve noticed is the people I meet, particularly the people who’ve just joined, are a lot more challenging of me and the company and they say, “Well, yeah, it’s great, but what about this? Why aren’t you doing that? Haven’t you thought about this?”. Which is great, I mean, that’s what you want. I don’t really want people joining us thinking everything is great and they don’t need to change anything. They need to come in here and say, “We get what you’re all about, we love the culture, but how about this? What about that?” I see a lot more of that because of these informed candidates.