Workplace of the week: The Right Fuelcard Company

Workplace of the week: The Right Fuelcard Company

Based with the Bayford Group in Hunslet, there’s a fascinating history to Gibralter House and its post-World War One history and heritage. Adam Walsh tells us more.

Describe your business in no more than 100 words.

The Right Fuelcard Company was established in 2011 as an independent distributor of Shell fuel cards. Today our award-winning business also distributes fuel cards for Esso, Keyfuels and UK Fuels.

Operating UK wide, we enable businesses to simplify their fuel management by providing them with the right fuel card to match their needs through outstanding customer service.

Based in Hunslet, we employ 49 staff and are IIP accredited. Our company continues to mark continued growth while operating in a fiercely competitive sector in which we deliver a high value, low margin product against a backdrop of global volatility with shifting oil prices.

What kind of workplace do you have? Factory, offices, home office...

We work out of modern offices - and in a fun environment - at Gibralter House, Bowcliffe Road in Hunslet. Proud of being a people champion, we are shaping our industry in critical areas such as recruitment and employee wellbeing. Our facilities include a break out area with Xbox and pool table for staff to take a break. Our offices accommodate our fantastic team at our pioneering training arm, The Bayford Foundation, and our TRFC employees working across our Credit, Sales and Customer Service departments.          

Is there an interesting history to your workplace? For example, did it have a different use before it became your workplace?

Yes – there is a fascinating history to our origins as we’re part of the Bayford Group stable of businesses run by serial entrepreneur, Jonathan Turner. The company was founded in 1919 in Leeds by four survivors of the World War 1 who pooled their resources to set up a coal agents business. The name Bayford originated from the Hertfordshire village of Bayford where they had been demobilised at the end of the war. Jonathan’s grandfather, Frederick Turner, came on board and worked his way up to becoming Company Chairman. Marking steady growth in the solid fuel business and overcoming the challenges of the General Strike, World War II and the nationalisation of the coal industry, The Bayford company diversified into the petrol and oil distribution business as coal declined. Today the Group, whose headquarters are at Bowcliffe Hall, comprises a number of diverse entrepreneurial companies in the energy, oil, Fuelcard, property and hospitality sectors. 

What makes your workplace special?

As a company which truly ‘looks after the people who look after the business’ our transparent communications and coaching culture - combined with our pioneering approach to diversity in employment – sets up apart.

Staff benefits include free hot drinks, regular meals out, 3pm Friday finish, 26 days’ leave plus bank holidays and paid birthday holiday. We also allocate earnings from specific business targets to “fun fund” to subsidise annual company days out. This year the team enjoyed a colourful dragon boat racing and dinner. We also provide free tickets to events such as the British Grand Prix and Leeds Music Festival.

Staff achieve their potential through structured training and career development plans, and every employee is aware of how instrumental their role is to the wider business plan. All team members receive quarterly financial updates and KPIs - including sales, margin, volume, customer numbers and year-end goals - are published on monthly on our intranet. Our culture focuses on coaching, rather than managing, and we empower employees to make decisions and deliver the vision. IiP accredited in 2014, assessors, said staff enjoy being part of a ‘transparent organisation’. We’ve recently passed our IiP reaccreditation with flying colours.   

Staff refer to us as their ‘second home’  and our pioneering approach to diversity in employment gives people from excluded groups - including ex-offenders who often experience discrimination - the confidence, self-esteem, training and skills to achieve what they previously thought was unachievable. We look beyond every jobseeker’s personal situation to identify talents and attitudes that can be developed.

We’re immensely proud of our reputation as a ‘people champion’. We were ranked 33 in the Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to work for 2016 list, achieving a 3 star Best Companies Accreditation (the highest accolade) for “exceptional levels of employees’ engagement”, based on employees’ feedback via independent questionnaires.

The Sunday Times also recognised our ground breaking work with our Foundation with a Discovering Potential Award and we’ve recently scooped a high-profile Diversity award.  

Who is responsible for making your workplace brilliant?

Myself as business director and our nine strong management team who lead from the front and coach and develop our talented team. In the truest sense of practising what we preach, we also invest substantially (£31k over the last 18 months) in our leadership team. For example, I’m undertaking an MA in Organisational Behaviour (Leeds University) and our managers have either achieved, or are undertaking, a series of management diplomas or qualifications to enhance their development and leadership skills.

What made you want to deviate from the standard ‘desk, chair, kettle’ office setup?

It’s not so much the décor or design (although we do have funky green tables and chairs in our team dining area!)  that is different from the norm.  What is unique is the way we give career opportunities to people from diverse backgrounds, including ex-offenders, who others have given up on – and how we all work closely together as a team to achieve the business goals and targets. 

How does this affect morale, productivity, staff retention?

Our powerful ethos and culture are great motivators which makes our team bounce out of bed every day. The following are a couple of many fantastic examples of why our team thrive here and want to stay with us.  

Ken Thomas, a manual worker, was knocked off his bike in 2010 and referred to us by JobCentre Plus after living on benefit for five years. He said: “My experience with The Bayford Foundation hasn’t just been about learning, but gaining confidence - vital for sales and was possible thanks to supportive colleagues and managers, weekly refresher sessions and monthly training courses.”

Former serviceman, Ryan Hartle, said: “Although I enjoyed it, the Army was too restrictive for me. TRFC provides a clear career path to follow, which gives you something to aspire to, while the training package is very thorough. It really does invest in its people.”

Scott Cummings, who joined our Foundation, said “I cannot recommend The Bayford Foundation enough to all those struggling to find a place willing to give you that shot you’re hoping for. I thank The Prince’s Trust for guiding me there and The Bayford Foundation for moulding me into who I am today."

What kind of reaction do you get from visitors and clients when they see how you work?

We receive the ‘WOW’ factor in spades – even from IiP assessors who are visiting and assessing workplaces day in and day out! Even though we primarily deal with our customers on the telephone, they comment on how genuinely upbeat our team is. Customers find it infectious which is wonderful, enabling us to sustain a great rapport and long-term customer relationships.

How far is too far – have you had to say no to anything?

No – because our ethos of coaching, mentoring and empowering our staff to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes brings powerful results and is instrumental in the businesses continuing to enjoy continued growth.