THE Employer of the Year award recognises the HBID member that has created a stimulating and supportive work environment.

The judges also looked at whether the employer had a real commitment to the welfare of its employees, resulting in high staff satisfaction levels and a well-motivated, ambitious and integrated workforce.

The finalists are: BBR Optometry Ltd; School Uniform Shop and Specsavers Hereford.

The directors at BBR Optometry Ltd (St Owen Street) constantly review and monitor the practice priorities and ensure everyone is kept updated. They use team meetings to involve colleagues in the planning process and to communicate future plans and direction.

Staff commented on the consistency of approach to leadership describing it variously as being approachable, supportive, passionate, inclusive, progressive, friendly and trusted.

There is a high level of motivation among staff and everyone is passionate about what they do.

School Uniform Shop in St Peter's Street aims to be the best school uniform shop in the UK and the team are dedicated self-starters who are committed to their customers.

There is a full training plan in place, with experts coming in and off-site training. They reward sales and service with a bonus scheme, and ensure that everyone in the team is fully aware of the shop's commitment not only to the UK customers but also to ensure they buy well and ethically.

The team is motivated by the fact they have raised considerable sums for overseas projects, and they also know that locally the shop supports children’s school uniform when their parents are unable to afford it.

The first team building trip to West Midland Safari Park in 2015 was so successful they decided to turn it into an annual event.

Specsavers Hereford in Maylord Street has a well established management team which means all of the staff can confidently approach the management with any query they might have, knowing they will be supported fully.

Staff have in-depth conversations with the management team by way of an appraisal once a year. The appraisals are followed up in the summer with a shorter one-to-one discussion to see how things are progressing after the appraisal.

Learning and development is crucial in their line of work as there is always updates to how things are done, technology and new members of staff.

With this in mind there is an in-store trainer who delivers a tailor-made session each Monday morning for one hour. These sessions focus on the subjects that relate directly to the day-to-day work and keep staff up to date.