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Culture is the Key to Success

Date: Tuesday 3rd July 2012 Time: 11:30am

Companies from across the region gathered to applaud the culture that is the root of their success at a major awards ceremony in Newcastle on Monday.

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Service Network's Culture for Success Awards received a record number of applications from companies eager to demonstrate the vital role employees play in their success. Entrants, from across the North East, represented an array of sectors.

After weeks of consideration by a panel of judges, the overall winner was announced as Barclays Contact Centre, Sunderland.  The judges felt the organisation is an outstanding example of an international brand that has allowed its local contact centre employees to personalise its procedures and service offering for the benefit of its staff and customers.  The culture and values are lived and breathed from the top down with a real sense of community amongst the staff.  Judges commented that the contact centre is the complete opposite to the stereotypical organisation in the call centre industry and their unique approach has paid dividends as the company has very low staff turnover, currently operating at a 98% retention rate.

The organisation is a large employer within the region and is keen to be part of its local community.  Already this year the organisation has raised £118,000 for local charities and groups and also helped to educate local school, youth groups and prisoners about financial management. 

Christine Allenson, Site President & Head of Customer Service at Barclays Contact Centre, Sunderland said:

“Winning this award is true recognition for the fantastic job that our people do day in day out in delivering the best possible service for our customers. Having this recognition from an external perspective fills the whole team here in Sunderland with immense pride and will motivate every single colleague to continue to create that culture that makes us successful.”

Category winners recognised on the night were Calvert Trust Kielder, Dipsticks Research and Spark Response.

Calvert Trust, a charity based at Kielder, was the winner in the small category.   Judges observed that they give their staff real empowerment to introduce new and innovative ideas to ensure their clients receive the best possible experience.  Every member of staff has extensive knowledge of the aims and objectives of the organisation and they understand how their role contributes to achieving them. 

Full service market research agency, Dipsticks Research, was awarded the medium category winner.  The judges were impressed by the company's growth in an industry that is shrinking and their staff numbers have doubled in the last three years.

The winner in the large category was customer contact centre, e-commerce fulfilment and online retail organisation Spark Response.  The company described its culture as being based on clear thinking, candour, dignity and respect - all of which were evident to the judges.  They have a proactive management style and encourage and reward staff not only for going the extra mile but for contributing to innovation in the business. 

Highly Commended by the judges were Exclusive, BL Hairdressing and TH_NK.

All entrants are judged against four key criteria: staff development, customer service, business growth, and contribution to the region; and are judged in categories according to their size.

Service Network introduced a Special Award this year to recognise where an organisation has excelled in a particular area within their application.  The winner of this award was BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art for their fantastic contribution to the region over the past 12 months.  Becoming the first non Tate gallery to host the Turner Prize is a fantastic accolade and it created a fantastic boost to the local economy.  The organisation engaged with 1600 pupils in schools, attracted nearly 150,000 to Newcastle Quayside, many of whom had never visited the North East before, and worked in partnership with numerous local businesses. 

Neil Warwick, Chair of Service Network said:

"The Culture for Success Awards are about the people who make companies work. The Awards recognise the impact that motivated engaged employees have on customer service and ultimately profitability.  The companies shortlisted have demonstrated the key ingredients required for a successful culture and we should be extremely proud to have them on our doorstep."

Sponsors for this year's Awards were CCS Mobile, Cintra HR & Payroll, Spacecraft Events, NCFE and Gateshead College.

For further information about the Awards or the winners call 0191 244 4031 or e-mail talk@service-network.co.uk