Frontier Financial Services was yesterday crowned Bermuda’s best employer.
The professional-services firm made a winning debut, taking top honours in its first entry into the RG Business Top Ten Employers Awards, presented by PwC Bermuda.
FedEx Express, which topped the rankings in four of the past five years, came in second, while Bacardi, another former winner, was third.
Ten organisations were honoured in a breakfast awards ceremony and celebration at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club yesterday.
Peter Brodsky, Frontier’s vice-president and chief financial officer, was taken aback by his company’s success.
“It’s a bit of a shock — in a good way,” Mr Brodsky said. “We were happy to make the Top Ten and when you look at the companies represented in the room and how well respected they are, we’re just very excited and surprised.
“We’re a service-industry company, so our people are what matters. We try to create a family atmosphere in the workplace. Many of our people are with clients a lot of the time and we try to give them the experience they need to advance.”
Frontier, based in Wessex House on Reid Street, has been in business for 18 years, has 35 employees and its services include business consulting, recruitment, payroll and immigration.
The awards, now in their tenth year, are based on a survey of employees. The data is processed by quantitative research firm Global Research, who generate the rankings. No judges are involved. Employers also fill in a form on what they do for their staff. Mr Brodsky said this aspect had been an eye-opener.
“I learnt a lot doing the management side of the survey,” he said. “I realised there were some things we could improve on. We spoke about it as a management team and will work on those things over the next year.”
PwC was sponsoring the Top Ten Employers event for a seventh consecutive year. Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda leader, congratulated all ten organisations and said that as great employers, they had a positive impact on the economy and the community as a whole.
He said PwC, a professional-services firm with more than 250,000 employees around the world, believed great employers needed to be purpose-led, values-driven, agile and focused on the individual.
“We talk about our employees and our people being our greatest asset,” Mr Wightman said. “What we’re talking about is a group of individuals.
“Each of our more than 200 people in Bermuda has different aspirations. As employers, we need to connect with the aspirations of each individual.”
Global Research worked with RG Business magazine on the Top Ten survey for an eighth year.
Leslie Steede, a director at Global Research, said authenticity was crucial for attracting excellent staff, to have a strong brand based on positive values and a to build a reputation for helping employees to achieve a good work-life balance.
“If organisations act like their core values, then they tend to naturally attract people with complementary values,” Dr Steede said.
A short video featuring each of the winning companies was played to the audience before a representative came up on stage to receive a plaque from Mr Wightman and Michael Grier, sales director of Bermuda Press (Holdings), parent company of The Royal Gazette.
There were four newcomers to the Top Ten this year: Frontier, accounting-services firm ABS (sixth), Bermuda Skyport Corporation (seventh) and fund administrator and ILS facilitator Horseshoe Group (ninth).
Skyport is a newly formed company that has responsibility for building the new airport terminal and for operations at LF Wade International Airport, having taken on staff that were previously public-sector workers.
Companies making repeat appearances in the Top Ten were FedEx (second), Bacardi (third), Argus Group (fourth), Marshall Diel and Myers (fifth), Fireminds (eighth) and Auto Solutions (tenth).
Mr Grier said the awards ceremony was a feel-good occasion and that “to get it, you had to experience it”.
FedEx remains the most successful employer in Top Ten history, with four first places and two seconds in the space of six years.
Chris Heslop, FedEx’s senior manager for Bermuda and the British Caribbean, said the global logistics and courier-service firm had a strong employee focus.
“To be recognised as a top employer says so much about how we treat our people and how our people feel about us,” Mr Heslop said.
Third-placed Bacardi is another regular in the Top Ten. Douglas Mello, managing director at the privately-held spirits producer’s global headquarters in Bermuda, said what made Bacardi exceptional was its 156-year history as a family-run company. It strove to make employees feel like family and to be encouraged to act like owners, he added.
Mr Mello praised the organisers of the awards, saying “the spirit of the Top Ten is a benefit to our economy and our community”.