THE newest sponsor of The Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards, which is backing the Employee of the Year prize for the first time in 2008, is Anglian Water, which provides water and waste-water services to almost six million people. It covers the biggest geographical area of any water company in the country, from the Humber in the north to the Thames Estuary in the south. Industry regulator Ofwat has rated Anglian Water as providing the best overall water and waste-water service in the country. The 3,800 staff who work for the company are vital in ensuring these services are maintained. The company recognises that it is becoming harder for companies to attract and retain key and emerging talent. This is why it places great emphasis on making sure it invests in employees and planning for key events and challenges that it faces. Anglian Water says it values highly the input of its employees and rewards those who show real commitment and go that extra mile. The company has its own Business Excellence Awards at a prestigious event held at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. "At Anglian Water we aspire to be the leading employer in the east of England, and we are committed to investing in education and engaging with young people and the community," said Gill Tipping, resourcing adviser. "We want our workforce to share a passion to deliver great service to our six million customers." Every aspect of our lives depends on a reliable supply of water and anybody who works for Anglian Water is part of, as Anglian Water Group chief executive Jonson Cox points out, an absolutely vital process, providing a service that everybody benefits from. Chief operating officer Peter Simpson says Anglian Water looks for employees who get a sense "of the bigger picture and who have a strong social conscience". Anglian Water is committed to working with the community it serves as one of the region's largest employers, and the company rewards employees who get involved in community programmes under its "give me five" volunteering scheme. During 2007\/8 AW achieved Gold in the Business in the Community's (BITC) Corporate Responsibility Index of the 'Top100 Companies that Count'. Anglian Water makes direct contributions to charities working on a global scale in the areas of education, social regeneration, and the environment, such as Water Aid, which provides clean water and safe sanitation to the developing world. The company also encourages its employees to register with RedR, an organisation that supplies frontline workers to provide humanitarian relief in disaster areas. RedR sent three Anglian Water employees to Indonesia to help with tsunami relief. "Employees who show commitment to their work and the communities we serve with a sense of dedication and duty to their role are duly rewarded at Anglian Water," AW said. "When awarding its own Employee of the Year Award, Anglian Water looks for an individual who excels in their role, demonstrating hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment to work at the highest possible standard. The assessment is linked directly to the company's Skills and Behaviours Framework, and attention is given to how individuals have worked with others, improved their own performance and their focus on internal and external customer service." Anglian Water is also one of the sponsors of the Hunts Food and Drink Festival, supports Young Enterprise in Cambridgeshire, promoting business skills learning for young people, and is one of the leading water companies in encouraging health and nutrition and the benefits of drinking tap water to children and older people. Captain Splosh and AW Fresh are schemes that run in primary and secondary schools, and Health on tap is a new campaign running in care homes for older people. CARING: Incident support manager Andy Gibb reassures an Anglian Water customer.