The next step? Platinum

Sternfenster’s MD, Mike Parczuk, explains a Gold Investors in People award is a thrilling achievement – but says that there’s more to do.

Investors in people is an organisation that encourages businesses to value their people above all else.

Typically, they carry out rigorous assessments every three years, accrediting those organisations that can show they are actively making their workplace a better place for their employees.

So, we are absolutely thrilled to have won Gold, especially since it was only two years after we got the Silver standard, which was back in 2020. We’ve always put our people first, and we believe that the best way we can make leading products, combined with exceptional service, is to engage our workforce effectively.

We’ve always said that our end goal was not the colour of the award, but more about the journey that we were on. Yes, being awarded the Gold standard is absolutely fantastic news, and it clearly sets us apart from lots of businesses in the UK – and across the world – but the most important thing for us is that we now have a trusted framework that we can keep using to make sure that we put our people at the heart of everything that we do.

The main benefit of the award is that it will help us recruit and retain the best possible colleagues, who will ultimately develop, grow, and move the business forward.

Interestingly, the framework we developed to win Gold is something we’ve been using for several years, and it is now ingrained into our everyday operations – it just feels normal. That said, the team work exceptionally hard to keep our training development framework active, and there are lots of great examples where our colleagues have gone over and above their normal duties to deliver effective training sessions.

There is honestly not a day that goes by where significant training doesn’t take place within Sternfenster. It’s such a rewarding and great thing to see and to be part of. Seeing everyone develop and grow has been motivating for me and the rest of the senior management team, and it is a great motivator to go for Platinum (which will be really difficult!).

Another benefit of putting people at the heart of everything that we do is that when we get it right, colleagues are happier, they feel more involved, feel more empowered, and we have greater levels of engagement. These are things that lead to greater job satisfaction, which improves outputs and makes Sternfenster a better place to work.

We have a shared set of values, which is publicised throughout the business. These values cover targets for behaviour, quality and integrity, alongside a broader vision of business success. One of the key areas we’ve worked on is ensuring the whole team is committed to tomorrow better than today.

We don’t get everything right all the time, but because we have the shared values and the shared behaviours, it means that everyone owns their actions, and they work hard at putting things right. And this is ultimately fantastic for our customers.

The other real big benefit of achieving the Gold standard, certainly for myself, is that reinforces all the things that we’ve been doing over the last two years – in fact, all the things we’ve been doing over last five years – have moved us in the right direction.

It is also a real motivator to go for Platinum. Not many companies achieve the platinum standard – or even go for it – but we are very proud of what we’ve achieved, and we all want to make Sternfenster an even better place to work.