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Smiles all round: from L-R, Deborah Geering, Associate at Furley Page; Shawn Webster, Affie Scott-Read and Denise Hamilton of Childrensalon; Andrew Masters, Partner and Head of Employment at Furley Page

Smiles all round: from L-R, Deborah Geering, Associate at Furley Page; Shawn Webster, Affie Scott-Read and Denise Hamilton of Childrensalon; Andrew Masters, Partner and Head of Employment at Furley Page

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Excellence in Business is child’s play for employer of the year award winner

Smiles all round: from L-R, Deborah Geering, Associate at Furley Page; Shawn Webster, Affie Scott-Read and Denise Hamilton of Childrensalon; Andrew Masters, Partner and Head of Employment at Furley Page

Smiles all round: from L-R, Deborah Geering, Associate at Furley Page; Shawn Webster, Affie Scott-Read and Denise Hamilton of Childrensalon; Andrew Masters, Partner and Head of Employment at Furley Page

A Tunbridge Wells company which has spent 65 years “dressing children beautifully” has won the Employer of the Year award, sponsored by law firm Furley Page, at the Kent Excellence in Business Awards 2017.

Childrensalon employs nearly 300 staff running the world’s largest online store for designer childrenswear. Director Denise Hamilton was presented with the award by Andrew Masters, Partner and Head of Employment at Furley Page, at a glittering ceremony at the Kent Event Centre on 22 June.

Andrew says: “It’s been an enormous pleasure for Furley Page to sponsor the Employer of the Year category and to have the opportunity to visit and meet so many excellent and hard-working employers in Kent. We feel privileged to have so many great employers in our county.

“In this highly competitive category, irrespective of size or sector, the employer must demonstrate the hard economics of commercial success – turnover, profit and strategies for growth – while achieving excellence in its commitment to the support and development of its most important asset – its workforce. 

“All of the finalists are passionate about their staff. They were able to demonstrate clear evidence of how innovative initiatives around staff engagement were making a positive difference to the lives of their staff and the benefits this brings to business outcomes.”

Andrew says Childrensalon was a clear and stand-out winner.

“It is a highly successful and rapidly growing business with a good story to tell. It has a great buzz with very happy staff. In terms of housing, health and education it ticks all the boxes. Crucially, with a generous heart, it actively lives its mantra of people before profit. Huge congratulations to them.

“This is the first year we have sponsored a KEiBA award and it has been an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding experience and we look forward to being involved again in 2018.”

Childrensalon has used annual growth of 50% to invest in its staff and create a motivated workforce, often promoted from within the ranks.

“Hiring from within is an important part of our culture,” says Denise Hamilton. “Having people who ‘get’ our culture is important, and promoting from within ensures this. Career progression is paramount.”

Almost all its team in its photo studio started as warehouse packers, with similar stories in its buying team, IT and customer service. About a third of mid-level and senior management came from lower level positions. It pays the well above the living wage as a Living Wage Foundation employer and works with new mothers to offer home working where possible, along with flexi-time, part-time and sabbaticals.

Ms Hamilton says: “We motivate our employees by giving them autonomy and trust. We believe in letting people do their jobs.”

The company aims to provide subsidised meals and childcare subsidies. It runs English-as-a-second-language classes in-house at no cost to staff. A weekly newsletter shares news and every employee is invited to a weekly sales meeting.

Sponsoring the Employer of the Year Award is a natural fit for Furley Page, which has one of the most highly experienced employment law teams in the region. The team’s expertise is recognised by independent national legal guide Chambers UK, while Andrew is personally ranked in the highest band for employment lawyers in the South of England.

Andrew was also keen to heap praise on his colleague, Associate Deborah Geering, for her significant role and hard work in supporting him throughout the judging process. For advice on employment law and related HR issues, contact Andrew Masters on 01227 763939 or email asm@furleypage.co.uk

To find out more about Furley Page, visit www.furleypage.co.uk

For more information about Childrensalon visit www.childrensalon.com

Further information about the KEiBA awards visit www.keiba.co.uk

Search and find the perfect commercial property in Kent for your business. Locate in Kent gives advice and relocation support to international and UK companies looking to move or expand. Call +44 (0)1732 520700 or email enquiries@locateinkent.com


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