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Our people and culture – the “Shaftesbury Way”


At the heart of Shaftesbury is our team, who share a passion and ambition for making great places even better. We are committed to building upon our working culture, developing a diverse and inclusive team from the widest talent pools and making Shaftesbury a great place to work.



Our purpose, culture and values

This year we articulated our purpose and values, with input from everyone in the business, as well as listening to what our key stakeholders said about working with us. We believed we had a good sense of what was distinct about Shaftesbury’s culture and ways of working and this came through strongly in the process, which we undertook with an independent facilitator. Our process included:

  • Employee and Board workshops to explore, discuss and define the culture at Shaftesbury. The focus was on how people experience, and think about, Shaftesbury’s culture today, as well as to indicate aspects of the culture that they felt might need to change or develop in the future.
  • External stakeholder interviews, conducted independently, to gather insights on the Company’s purpose, values, team and ways of working.
  • Working sessions with our internal culture group, made up of a cross section of employees, to gain input and feedback at each stage of the process.
  • Regular Board updates and opportunities to input, with final sign-off and approval of our purpose statement and values.
  • Distillation of our learning from the process to describe what kind of business we are, called the ‘Shaftesbury Way’.

The Shaftesbury Way

We have a small, diverse team of talented people, united by a shared ambition to make our great places better for the benefit of our multiple stakeholders. Our collective desire is to cultivate and foster environments to provide vibrant and inspiring experiences for visitors, occupiers, their customers and residents. Our culture is one of tradition and innovation. We act with courtesy, respect and integrity, embrace change, seek challenge, and look to the future to evolve and improve. We are inclusive, encouraging di²erence and openly welcoming new people, ideas and perspectives to enable everyone to be themselves, have a voice, and make an impact. We combine our strengths to achieve success beyond profit: making a positive di²erence and delivering sustainable, long-term results for our stakeholders, communities and each other. Together, we aim to make a positive, lasting contribution to London’s West End.

Next steps

The next stage of this process, one that is a priority for the coming year, is to fully embed our values into all aspects of our employment proposition and practice. This includes reviewing how we develop, motivate, recognise and reward our team and how we recruit and induct new team members.


Employee engagement

 We are committed to gaining regular feedback from our team and to listening to their perspectives about what we are getting right and where we can improve. In November 2018, we conducted an employee survey via the Best Companies Group “Best Places to Work in Property” survey, with over 90% of our employees taking part. The survey provided evaluation across a number of metrics including overall engagement, leadership and planning, culture and communication, role satisfaction, work environment, training and development, and pay and benefits.

Our results were positive, with strength in the overall engagement, leadership and planning and role satisfaction categories.

100% of respondents said:

“I understand the long-term strategy of this organisation”

“I am very satisfied with my employer”

“I am proud to work for this organisation”

“I would recommend working here to a friend”

The responses for training and development were positive at 80%, but indicated an area for focus and opportunity, which has been factored into our strategic people plan and priorities for the year.

We have continued to have a very low level of employee turnover, with only one leaver this year. The stability of our team, with an average length of service of 10.5 years, reflects the positive feedback from this survey.

Strategic People Plan

This year we developed the Shaftesbury Strategic People Plan 2021, working with an HR consultant to provide independent challenge. Our strategic intent is to be a great place to work; attracting, growing and retaining the best talent.

The plan focuses on five strategic pillars:


  • Understanding and driving high levels of employee engagement, with an active culture of listening and responding to employee needs and perspectives.


  • To be recognised for providing a distinctive and positive employee experience, aligned with our purpose and values.

People development and capability

  • Having the right organisation structure, capability and skills in place to drive business growth, with a committed leadership team which is equipped to lead the business and develop emerging talent for future leadership roles.

People performance

  • To embed a culture of regular development and performance discussions.

Sustainable workforce

  • To have a healthier, more inclusive and more sustainable working environment, where employees feel they make a difference in their roles.

We have shared our strategic plan across the business, developed a strategic delivery roadmap, and are regularly monitoring progress against our targets and priorities.

Developing talent for the future

We remain committed to our outsourced business model, operating with a small team and a wider group of external advisors and partners. However, as part of our strategic people plan, we have recognised the importance of a pipeline of talent and, during the year, we have recruited a number of people, taking our headcount to 34 at 30 September 2019. Together with recruitment in 2018, the age profile of our workforce has shifted over the past two years.

We support everyone in the business to grow and develop. During the year, we have invested further in employee development, delivering nearly 700 hours of training across our team, including ‘Leading Self’, a nine-month leadership programme for a cohort of rising talent.


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