We recognise the value of our colleagues’ knowledge if we are to provide the best possible advice for our customers and their pets. We consciously recruit colleagues who share our love of pets and, recognising the correlation between colleague turnover and expertise, we aim to maintain a consistently high level of engagement with them.
We measure engagement annually by inviting every colleague to participate in an online survey ‘We’re All Ears’. Now in its tenth year, this survey asks colleagues to select from a range of responses, from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’, in answer to questions based on our values, vision and culture. We aim to maintain the measure of overall engagement above 90%. We also measure the percentage of ‘strongly agree’ responses. This was 78% in 2017 compared to 77% in 2016. Our ambition is to increase the level of ‘strongly agree’ responses to 80%.
In 2013 we were ranked first in the Sunday Times list of Best Big Companies to Work For.Having reached this level among UK companies, we decided it would be appropriate to challenge ourselves against a broader peer group and entered the Great Place To Work survey which affords colleagues a further opportunity to provide feedback and allows us to benchmark Pets at Home against the best in Europe. In 2015 we were ranked 15th among larger UK companies. In 2016 we improved to 7th overall in the UK and were the highest placed retailer.
In 2017, we were placed 9th overall in the UK and retained our position as the highest placed retailer. Most of our first opinion veterinary practices are separate small business, owned mainly in joint ventures with partners from the veterinary profession. Colleagues in the veterinary practices are employed by the Joint Venture companies rather than the Group. Many of these Joint Venture companies also recognise the value of measuring colleague engagement and in 2016 we introduced a colleague engagement survey across our first opinion practices. Now in its second year, this survey has proved invaluable in helping our partners measure colleague engagement in their own practice. In FY2017 we generated practice-specific responses from 91 practices and aim to build on this with each successive year, helping our partners be the employer of choice in their community.