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Reading based property firm retains prestigious gold accreditation

Property consultancy Vail Williams LLP, which has its headquarters in Reading, has been awarded the prestigious Investors in People (IiP) Gold accreditation for a further three years.

Bestowed to just 26% of the UK’s businesses, the award indicates employee satisfaction and validates the firm as “a great place to work”.

The expanding property advisory firm retained its We invest in people standard and improved its score from 2020 against the majority of the benchmarked indicators.

Vail Williams, which employs a record-high 172 people across 11 offices in six regions, increased its score to 738 out of 900, well above both LLP and property industry benchmarks.

Investors in People is an organisation which offers an unbiased and independent assessment of businesses’ people strategy, practices and outcomes after surveying staff to gauge their thoughts, feelings and opinions.

In a robust accreditation process, IiP received responses from a statistically-significant 76% of Vail Williams’ employees, with 25 people individually interviewed – and included focus groups, desktop evidence and an office visit.

Vail Williams’ application was led by Tanya Horscroft, the firm’s Learning & Development (L&D) Manager.

An IiP spokesperson said: “The firm’s values are aligned to growth plans and referenced during training, recruitment, career development discussions and performance management.

“The firm actively looks outwards and listens to ideas and opinions from staff, people entering the business and external partners. Maintaining two-way dialogue has helped the firm to manage change effectively and increase trust.

“People are confident they can seek advice guidance from colleagues, partners, regional managing partners, heads of service, learning and development, human resources, and people development managers.

“People are promoted due to their significant experience, taking the lead on projects, developing expertise and exceptional performances.

“Since the last assessment, the team ethos has strengthened, and people believe growth can be achieved through cross referrals and partnerships – internal and external.

“The investment into professional development, concern for employee welfare and wellbeing and flexible working patterns all positively influence why people choose to join and stay with Vail Williams.”

The firm was particularly praised for its caring response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which enforced changes in working patterns, culture and environment.

Vail Williams’ Managing Partner Matthew Samuel-Camps said afterwards: “The three-year reassessment took place earlier this year and we have increased our scoring in nearly all competencies bar one, which had remained as it was.

“In a feedback session we had very positive feedback on our L&D programme. That has been one of the highest areas of improvement, which I’m pleased about because Tanya and her colleagues put an awful lot of effort into establishing our L&D philosophy and creating a culture of continuous L&D.

“Similarly, all our apprentices feel very valued in our business. One of feedbacks was that our team remember how well they were supported during the pandemic.

“Also, the visibility and approachability of our Partners is seen to be very positive.

“The bit for me, the most important thing, is that the review is an external mirror to our business and is a genuine opportunity to measure how well we are doing in comparison with others and ourselves.

“To retain the gold accreditation, particularly in 2023 when people’s attitude to work has changed because of the pandemic, with 30 new staff employed in the past 12 months, and with the business the biggest it has ever been based on headcount and revenues, and to be able to carry that culture through so that it is seen to be reflected by our new employees, as well as older ones who are perhaps used to us, is a fantastic testament to the quality of our business.”

Investors in People has since 1991 been a measurement standard for people management, offering accreditation to organisations that attain and adhere to its standard.

It now operates in more than 66 countries, has made work better for more than 50,000 organisations and 11 million people worldwide and delivers services in more than 30 languages.

Formerly government-backed, Investors in People has been a Community Interest Company since 2017.

Vail Williams’ full-service property advice includes commercial agency, investment and development advice, building consultancy, property valuation, planning, lease advisory, property asset management, business rates and occupier consultancy.

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Sarah Irving

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