Award win celebrates Harold Sharp’s investment in culture

Feb 5, 2024 | Careers, Manchester

Pictured L-R: Charlotte Hinchcliffe (Director), Leeanne Drummond (Mentor of the Year – finalist), Fiona Illingworth (Marketing Professional of the Year – winner), Ryan Alderson (Finance Professional of the Year – finalist), James Turner (Finance Professional of the Year – finalist)

Harold Sharp’s Marketing Manager Fiona Illingworth has been named ‘Marketing Professional of the Year’ by Made in Manchester 2024. This recognition is a testament to the work that Fiona has been doing, together with the leadership team, as part of our wider investment in fostering our workplace culture.

At Harold Sharp, our marketing strategy focuses on creating a meaningful impact on our internal stakeholders as much as our external stakeholders. Over the past year, Fiona has played a pivotal role in shaping our firm’s culture which saw her win in the Marketing Professional of the Year category.

At the award’s ceremony on 1 February, the judges shared their reasons for choosing Fiona as their winner. Sarah Clemson, Latitude Strategic Marketing, commented: “You took your role and went above and beyond and created demonstrative transformation within the whole of the business. You created a brave and audacious identity, culture and values proposition for the whole company which has resulted in new employees and a really dynamic environment.”

How do we foster a thriving culture at Harold Sharp?

One of our primary objectives has been to cultivate a culture that engages, attracts and retains top talent. In line with this goal, we have spearheaded various initiatives that have had a profound impact on our workplace culture.

  • Be More Penguin: At Harold Sharp, the penguin is now emblematic of our commitment to our staff and our determination to do things the right way, staying rooted in our values. Working closely with the wider team, Fiona has spent the last 12 months unpicking the firm’s culture and articulating it in a way that is representative. As a result, we crafted a mission statement and set of values that truly reflect our team. In doing so, we landed on a ‘penguin mindset’ – a mindset that embodies our values and reminds us to be clear communicators and team players; to be adaptive to change, curious in nature and positive in attitude. In short, to Be More Penguin.
  • Brand refresh and Careers Hub launch: Our employer brand refresh was designed to add a human element to the Harold Sharp brand, incorporating a broader colour palette and a handwriting script. This was then applied to the overhaul of our Careers Hub which was completely redesigned, both structurally and creatively, to better meet the needs to candidates and to communicate our differentiators more effectively.
  • Flagship Annual Away Day: We now commit to an annual firm-wide Away Day event which is designed, managed and delivered by marketing. This event focuses on enhancing transparency around our strategic goals, improving internal communications and fostering camaraderie among our team members. Feedback from our latest Away Day demonstrated that across the firm the event provided a better understanding of our goals/objectives (84.2%), enhanced internal communication (89.5%), and improved awareness of internal progression (94.8%)
  • Internal social events: We now also host regular internal events to engage our staff socially, including quarterly team breakfasts, quarterly Charity Days, monthly Cake Club and an annual Family Fun Day in July.
  • Health & Wellbeing Committee: We have an active Health & Wellbeing Committee which has a track-record of delivering on employee wants. Some of the Committee’s significant milestones include offering 24/7 mental health support, training 3 Mental Health First Aiders, reducing plastic waste in the Boardrooms, monthly ‘Power Hour’ sessions devoted to CPD and delivering quarterly desk switch days.
  • Employee Engagement Survey: We run regular Employee Engagement Surveys conducted biannually to gather valuable feedback which is also driving internal change.

The results

Our investment in our firm’s culture has been critical for business growth. In 2023, we welcomed 13 new employees. To date, in 2024, we have already welcomed an additional 4 new team members.

Made in Manchester

Winning the ‘Marketing Professional of the Year’ award is a testament to the dedication and innovation of our marketing team which works closely with leadership to deliver on business strategy. We are proud of the progress we’ve made and are excited about the journey ahead, as we continue to #BeMorePenguin and inspire others in our industry.

The Made in Manchester Awards, hosted by pro-Manchester, celebrate the best of Greater Manchester’s young business talent. The event took place on 1 February 2024. We were recognised across 3 award categories:

  • Fiona Illingworth – Marketing Professional of the Year (winner)
  • James Turner – Finance Professional of the Year (finalist)
  • Ryan Alderson – Finance Professional of the Year (finalist)
  • Leeanne Drummond – Mentor of the Year (finalist)