By Serena Keen, HR Manager, AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians)

Continued Learning and professional development sit at the heart of AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) - a leading education and membership body into accountancy.
We avidly encourage professional development and continued learning through our students, members and the one hundred and 68 staff which make up AAT head office.

Over 75 of us have been here for 5 years or over and I’m a firm believer that our staff retention is so high because of the opportunities we strive to give employees internally through career progression supported with training, learning and continued development.

The more we invest in our staff - helping them to flourish and succeed, the more they continue to give us their best work. We don’t only offer financial support but moral support as well as efficient time for those employees to study alongside work.

We practice what we preach and it’s always nice to hear this from others. When I’m recruiting, often than not, most people when I ask them why they want to work at AAT, say because they have heard AAT is an organisation which invests in its people and encourages career development at all levels.

The economy is still in turmoil and in tough times staff morale can dip and this can have a dire effect on a business. That’s why now, more than ever I’m glad the culture of AAT is built on employees feeling valued, appreciated and motivated.

I also think the flexible nature of our organisation has allowed us to keep hold of employees. We are firmly aware that people’s lives change - this is certainly the case with those that start families and can only work part-time. We try and accommodate our staff as best as possible and this is of course appreciated across the board.

On top of this a majority of our staff have access to flexi time benefits, can clock flexi-time and can work from home - this freedom allows people to take charge of their own time management and work in a way which suits the individual and their internal teams addressing the very important work — life balance.

Our working environment is still considered unique. However I’m aware that more businesses are implementing a hot desking policy. We’ve had this in place for the last three years and it’s been an outstanding success. The hot desking policy at AAT has allowed for a better and more fluid working environment, encouraging people to meet others, intermingle, change ideas and work with others more efficiently. It also complements our flexibility to working and there are no ‘ownership’ issues in our open plan office.

We also like many other companies offer other perks — cycle to work schemes, discounts of gym memberships, life insurance, pension schemes etc, however fundamentally what keeps employees happy regardless of a recession is a sense of worth and value. It’s a reciprocal relationship here at AAT, we listen to employees needs and help accordingly and in exchange we have a workforce of people that evolve with us, shaping our company and making it what it is today.