In the run-up to this year’s Gloucestershire Business Awards, as sponsor of the Lifetime Achievement Award, we explore the link between good leadership and business success among previous winners. 

This week, we look back at two firms whose focus on employee engagement is exemplary. 

Creed Foodservice, one of the UK’s leading independent family-owned foodservice wholesalers, was named Gloucestershire’s Environmental Business of the Year in 2012. Many other industry and regional accolades have been bestowed upon the firm since then. Earlier this year, they were awarded ‘1-star best company’ status in the national Best Companies accreditation scheme. This recognises their commitment to the development and welfare of their 350+ staff, something that Chris Creed, Chief Executive, credits with being central to Creed’s success. 

Chris was on the first cohort of LEAD, our leadership development programme, back in 2011. He’s said that this experience was a catalyst for learning a really important lesson; that employee engagement is fundamental and that this must be driven by the leadership team. 

A core set of values runs through Creed, reflected in their mantra ‘Believe in More’. These values have been embedded within systems that are supporting the firm’s continued expansion. They influence the recruitment process, they are discussed in the induction of all new staff and celebrated through their own awards scheme recognising the exceptional performance of staff.  

Chris describes his experience on LEAD as life changing; he has become more reflective, open to other perspectives and is comfortable being challenged. Together with his senior team, many of whom have also been on LEAD, they are creating a supportive environment in which people have every opportunity to do their best, and to succeed. 

Creating a culture in which people feel valued and enthused has been the cornerstone of success for another past winner, BAM Agency. In 2014 the specialist student marketing agency was awarded Best Place to Work at the Gloucestershire Business Awards. That same year, BAM was recognised by Great Place to Work® as being fourth best small company in the UK. 

BAM’s Managing Director, Tim Bodenham, was also inspired by his learning from LEAD, where he met John Oliver, the former CEO of Leyland Truck and recognised practitioner in employee engagement. Embracing the insights he gained and making it his own, BAM was recognised for its outstanding communication with staff, open-room policy, and simply taking the time to say ‘thank you’.  

Tim and his top team were clear that values are as important as performance. Involving the staff in developing their own performance goals, regular one-to-one management support and a high performance culture have seen increasing levels of employee engagement. 

The next LEAD programme begins in November 2019, when we’ll be bringing together another small group of MDs, owner-managers, directors, senior managers and partners to explore their leadership and grow their companies.  

To see videos from like-minded leaders and discover whether LEAD might help you with your leadership development, visit 

This article was first published in the Gloucester Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo on Thursday 5th September, 2019. 



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