A Gold Award is the highest accolade a company operating in the food and drink industry can receive.
Open to retailers, wholesalers and grocery manufacturers, the prestigious award is for the employer who, over the past 12 months, has ‘done the most to create a positive working environment, motivating, redirecting and training its people, and improving the company’s reputation and performance in the process.’
In announcing Princes as Employer of the Year at a glittering ceremony at London’s Guildhall hosted by Rt. Hon. Lord William Hague, the judges described Princes as a “true turnaround story”.
They went on to say: “In 2018, Princes suffered a 22% slump in pre-tax profits. That prompted a transformation – and Princes’ people were a crucial part of this mission.
“The starting point was a ‘People Excellence Strategy’ that went on to deliver concrete action. To reward achievement, it put in place a quarterly Pride in Princes awards programme that gave out cash prizes to high performers. This was followed by an Inclusion & Diversity programme in the summer.
“And to support health and wellbeing, Princes put together a monthly campaign with updates and information. Plus, it ensured staff weren’t out of pocket for Covid-related absences, and has committed to flexible working in the wake of the pandemic.
“Princes has not only managed to boost retention, but had a record number of entries to its Graduate Scheme in 2021.”
Other companies shortlisted for the award were Tesco, Aldi and Morrisons.
Joe Dent, Princes’ Chief People Officer, said: “I am thrilled for everyone at Princes that our business has been named Employer of the Year in The Grocer’s Gold Awards. These awards are the most sought after in our industry.
“What is also exciting is that we are only at the beginning of our journey. There is still so much to do to complete the transformation of Princes into a true Employer of Choice.”
The judges were impressed by Princes’ commitment to ensuring that colleagues feel part of one team and that no matter where they are in the world, they have a common purpose in striving to achieve our vision to ‘proudly help families to eat well without costing the earth’.
Fundamental to this was the creation of our ‘Our Princes – Our People’ employer brand which enabled us to bring together the 6 pillars of our People Excellence Strategy
We recognise that there is a still a long way to go on our journey to become an Employer of Choice, but we are also proud of the progress that has been made in the last 12 months – and which has been recognised in the winning of this prestigious award.
We are particularly proud of the engagement we have received for our Pride in Princes awards programme. Held each quarter, the first three saw us receive 712 separate nominations, resulting in 289 colleagues receiving an award (£200 if you are an individual recipient and £50 if a member of a team). In April 2020, we increased the team award to £100 to give every one of our key workers an honorary Pride in Princes Award.
Our decision to continue running our Graduate Scheme has also been rewarded with a record number of entries in 2021. Within a couple of days of opening the scheme, we had received over 800 applications for six places, more than we would normally receive in two months. This at a time when many employers have cancelled their equivalent schemes and furloughed graduates.
Our commitment to our 7,000 Princes colleagues is evident from our strong recruitment and retention rates. For example, in the last year, we have brought on 58 new starters at our Liverpool head office compared to 40 leavers.
The launch in February 2021 of our Pathways Learning and Development portal has also received a phenomenal response – to date there have been over 30,000 visits to the platform and over 8600 course enrolments.
We have seen similar strong engagement levels since our Feel-Good Hub launched in November 2020 offering a range of rewards and benefits with over 40 per cent of colleagues registering.
And we have recently held our second Princes Group Inclusion Week including an Anti-Racism webinar with England football legend John Barnes which enjoyed widespread colleague engagement.