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William Hill – developing different perspectives to employee engagement

Windmills worked in partnership with William Hill, the country’s largest bookmaker to develop a project that linked authentic corporate social responsibility with staff and community engagement.

william hill 


When Ralph Topping, became Chief Executive in 2008 he set about a range of people development initiatives that he personally signed up to and championed. His vision was, and is, to run a highly successful business but in parallel to give something back to the community in which the business operates.  He is adamant that “everyone in William Hill has humility”.  Along with Beverley Newman , Head of HR they have launched “Different Perspectives” a range of initiatives that Windmills has got involved with – click here t to read the Different Perspectives article and Beverley’s comments in CIPD.

Windmills collaborated with Beverley and her HR team to design and deliver a volunteering programme with a difference for their senior managers. One that would make CSR, employee and community engagement more meaningful for all concerned.


Drawing on the Windmills 3 –Thinking approach,(click on the word three thinking to find out more about it and link it to the three thinking pages on the web) connecting ME ([personal potential), WE (organisational development and THEM (community need), an exciting Different Perspectives Programme was co-created.  Over 50 senior leaders across Europe met in a central London location, and after an interactively facilitated session using No Regrets On Sunday (click here to No Regrets on Sunday) exploring their personal potential, Managers were set the SMILE £10 Challenge.  In teams of five or six, their challenge over the next two hours was to utilise their combined skills and talents to make a difference in the local community.  Their goal, with the aid of £10, was to make someone SMILE by Sharing their talents in a Meaningful way to make an Impact which Lasts over time and engages Everyone in a fun way.   The final third of the day celebrated their SMILES and reflected on the lesson learned and their application to the next phase of the programme.  Participants grouped together to develop action plans to support pre-agreed charities.  Over the next nine months each group met to deliver its promise, culminating in a Dragon’s Den style event measuring progress made and identifying future steps.


An innovative Charity Partnership Scheme has been created which focuses on giving time, skills and experience rather than money.  Young people’s Charities such as Catch 22 have benefitted from mentoring, placement opportunities and employment skills coaching provided by the William Hill Team.  Targeted skills based projects have supported Greenwood Retired Racehorses, Sick Children’s Trust, Demelza Children’s Hospice, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Ziv Nearim – Tel Aviv.


The South East team’s organisation of a Christmas Party for 250 children and their families suffering from life-limiting and life threatening illnesses exemplifies the win:win:win benefits of this 3-Thinking approach.   Staff engagement levels in this region have risen to 10% higher than the national average.  Clare Emmett at Demelza House has praised the organisation for “helping to add life to days when days cannot be added to life.”


Beverley Newman, Group Head of People Development at William Hill outlines its strong connection with business imperatives “it’s an initiative that embraces diversity, encourages new thinking and helps others less fortunate.”