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Our salute to Bermuda’s great employers

Outstanding employer: Flanked by work colleagues, Chris Heslop, FedEx Express senior manager for the British Caribbean islands, holds the plaque that shows his company finished top of the rankings in The Bottom Line Top Ten Employers survey for the third consecutive year (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Great employers deserve their moment in the spotlight. Their immense value to the community all too frequently flies under the radar. The issue of labour relations only seems to make the news when there is a dispute or when employees are found to be badly treated. However, today the organisations that treat their people exceptionally well make the headlines after yesterday’s staging of The Bottom Line’s Top Ten Employers awards.

This was the seventh staging of the event, which is always a feel-good occasion. Sponsored by PwC Bermuda and based on a survey undertaken by Global Research, it aims to highlight the very best employers on the Island.

This year, FedEx was declared top of the rankings for the third year running, edging out Hamilton Insurance Group in second and Fireminds in third.

Argus, Bacardi, CellOne, BF&M, Stevedoring Services, Ariel Re and Butterfield & Vallis were the other top employers honoured at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

The survey goes well beyond a comparison of financial rewards, as is evident from the fact that many local businesses have made the grade amid the competition from multibillion-dollar international companies.

During a six-year recession and against the backdrop of a drastic fall in population, most businesses have seen demand for their goods and services fall.

That translates into lower revenue, tighter margins and the need to achieve more with less. The resulting squeeze on available resources can make it more difficult to provide the perks that great employers provide.

The reward for being a great employer is that employees are likely to be engaged and committed, feel good about going to work, are productive and less likely to go to work for the competition. All that can help to boost the bottom line.

From the employee feedback that is at the core of the Top Ten Employers survey, it is clear that the importance of non-financial rewards is growing. Flexibility, recognition, empowerment to influence what goes on at work, training and personal development all featured strongly in employee comments on why they like working for these top employers.

These companies support employees’ family lives through after-school childcare, time off for sports days and school plays, for example. They encourage employee ownership in the business. Argus and BF&M each have programmes that incentivise their employees to buy company shares.

A recurring theme among the Top Ten was health and wellness. Many paid for a portion of gym memberships and one, Butterfield & Vallis, also paid for employees’ entries into road races and triathlons.

Butterfield & Vallis also prides itself on “employing individuals whom many other organisations deem to be unemployable — for example ex-convicts and recovering addicts”. This is backed up by a strong drug and alcohol policy, which includes random testing, and support for those who test positive.

In their policies as employers, these companies go far beyond the role of enterprises making money for their owners. They are positive influences within the community who encourage individuals to make the most of their potential, strengthening the capabilities of the Island’s workforce as a whole.

They give families the chance to spend important moments together and help their employees to maintain good health, which in turn will help to take some weight off the Island’s strained healthcare system.

We join our sister publication, The Bottom Line, in saluting these excellent corporate citizens whose standards should serve as an example to all employers.

The Top Ten Employers edition of The Bottom Line comes out next Monday, free inside all copies of The Royal Gazette.