Thursday, 31 May 2012

Make. Staff. Happier.

Make. Staff. Happier.

Happy staff make for happy clients. We all know it, right? And yet so many agencies don’t do it. As the boss is in Brussels tonight to pick up this year’s SABRE for Employee Engagement we thought we’d share some of what makes our staff happier than at other agencies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (we love saying that).

Firstly, it absolutely starts at the top in the shape of our founder and Chairman Caroline Kinsey. From the very outset she wanted an agency built on an ethos that was the polar opposite of the sweat-shop. “Some people think being renowned as a sweat-shop means being renowned for working hard,” she says, “it doesn’t, we work hard, we just treat our staff with respect as well.”

Secondly, we continuously innovate. Among our original working practices are:

- work-from-home-Fridays for all staff at account manager level and above

- directors who decide their holiday entitlement based on their work-load and nothing else - we don’t allocate, we trust

- flexible locations – we use office spaces in London and leafy Beaconsfield, allow working from home and encourage regular working from clients meaning our people don’t have to face rush-hour tubes all the time

This year we’ve begun using FaceTime on our iPads to help create face-to-face interactions when we’re in different places… it’s almost like the dream of a few years ago, where we could all work wherever we wanted, is actually beginning to come true.

Thirdly, we democratise. Not only do we believe in no-closed-doors policy, this year we’ve implemented hot-desking across the agency. This means that one day you can be sitting opposite your best friend, the next day a member of staff you might not know so well, the next day the MD.

Fourth, we help facilitate a healthy lifestyle. We realise most people lead a debit/credit approach to health, and while we have our nights out like any agency, we invest more in the credit side through subsidised fitness classes including circuit training, Zumba, half marathons and charity runs.

Lastly, we invest in continuous learning for every member of staff… in 2011 we spent an average of £20k (including time) per team member.

Does it work?

Our higher than average client and staff retention rates would suggest it does. But the real proof is in the financial pudding… and we’ve seen double-digit growth every year for more than ten years.

It may not work for everyone, some people might prefer an agency which doesn’t invest in them, where senior and junior talent don’t know each other and where technology isn’t improving working life, but hey, that’s their choice.

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