Why you should strive for top marks

Apprenticeships, internships, secondments, and sabbaticals… Distinction’s HR director Helen Lovack discusses the language of the 21st century working world.

The landscape of employment and migration across the career spectrum is more fluid now than ever before, with opportunities to learn ‘on the job’ alongside working towards professional qualifications a commonplace offer among almost every industry.

It’s not unusual either, for those in the most senior positions to reduce their workload in favour of pursuing academic attainment, or strive for top marks in accreditation, assessment and evaluation of their paid role.

Businesses benchmarking themselves against one another incites healthy competition from sector peers, and those on the doorstep of employment are invited to engage in the widest variety of training, leading to an increased skill-set for life.

In hearing of such wealthy opportunities, it would be easy to assume that you’d have to travel to London, where the streets are paved with gold, to find them. Not so.

Just miles from the stunning Peak District lies 86,000ft2 of Distinction Doors excellence. Nominated ‘Employer of the Year’ in the 2017 Sheffield Business Awards, the composite door specialist had already received the prestigious Health and Wellbeing National Award for England in May of the same year. For any potential employee, these two accolades alone speak volumes about the importance the firm places on preserving a happy workforce.

A short drive up the A61 takes you to Barnsley College, a facility with which Distinction Doors is a Talent United partner. The pairing is part of a localised initiative to bridge the gap between education and employment, and has engaged numerous apprentices with the business.

In August 2018, Distinction Doors received its second Investors in People accreditation.

Our staff is our business, and we believe we have an exceptional team. Without them we simply couldn’t do what we do. Our partnership with Barnsley College has brought bright young minds to all areas of the company; from manufacturing to IT they have taught us that, in many cases, we need the next generation of innovative employees on board in order to keep striving forward.

My fellow directors – three of whom have Institute of Directors Chartered status – know that turning the management structure on its head is equally as important as teaching new recruits from the top down. Five Core Values, which were proposed and agreed by staff before receiving approval from the board, have been implemented.

We asked staff how they would like to be recognised for their efforts and maintaining our core values. They told us that small incentives meant a lot to them, so we introduced ‘treat boxes’ and ‘extra mile awards’.

As a senior team, we want to empower employees to initiate comradeship and pilot their ideas with their colleagues. Our self-appointed health and wellbeing champion Paul Hewkin was recognised for his efforts at Barnsley Council’s Healthy Workplace Awards. With the support of Paul and the other champions, the entire team has benefitted from free fresh fruit, health checks, and opportunities to exercise or relax in a quiet zone during the working day.

Inevitably, taking up any form of continued professional development at Distinction Doors leaves you with letters after your name; certification with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) are all ongoing courses undertaken by members of the team. The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) also provides programmes for all managers and team leaders to participate in.

Subsequently, and fortunately in this world, the concept of staff development and training is an engrained normality. Distinction Doors is more than an employer; it’s an ambassador of improvement and stands strong as its staff take their steps up the career ladder, wherever they may lead.