The 18th annual Amazon Growing Business Awards are back with a bang on 30 November, but before then we need your help to determine which business will take the coveted Employer of the Year prize home.
We’ve got a shortlist bursting with innovation, achievement and drive to put staff first and foremost. In this article you get to hear from Genie Ventures about why it feels worthy of the accolade, but make sure to check out the other seven companies vying for your vote before making a selection.
The Genie Ventures Employer of the Year pitch
Genie Ventures is a Cambridge digital marketing and publishing company. We’ve enjoyed rapid growth, with staff numbers expected to rise above 50 in 2016 – but we’ve retained a startup attitude. Making Genie Ventures a great place to work is a serious part of company strategy and most of the ideas adopted have come from staff themselves. New employees graduate from Genie Academy: in‐house workshops showing what we do (and how) across all departments. They’re run by staff and management, covering everything from coding and Excel to writing and marketing (some designed in‐house, some officially accredited). And there’s a flexible attitude towards hours and working from home.
All staff have yearly and quarterly objectives and key results. Cross pollination of skills and aiming high is encouraged – it’s not about passing or failing, but pushing yourself forward. And 20 per cent of time can be spent on work‐related personal development: there aren’t failures if we learn something important along the way. We’re not competing against each other, but for each other. We’re not micromanaged, but supported. And everyone is always available, right up to the MD. When we moved office, several Genies asked to help paint it – making it a statement of the Genie Ventures ethos.
Two others organise “wellness workshops” – company‐funded sessions on everything from healthy eating and posture, to dealing with stress or sleeping better. Others organise us for charity events – from runs to Movember to cleaning rivers and painting fences.
We have monthly meetings where our MD Ciaron talks through the monthly figures and progress for all departments – sharing the company’s aspirations helps everyone feel part of things. But equally important are the monthly shout‐outs – an opportunity for any staffer to say “thanks” to colleagues who’ve been a big help, or to share personal victories.
All Genies get more than the minimum holiday allowance, a profit-related Christmas bonus and a great pension scheme, which also gives us regular free access to an independent financial advisor. And we’re always involved: when we changed coffee we had a tasting session and when we got new office chairs we had samples to choose between. We even get free fruit.
We have a pretty even spread of male and female employees, while for every few 20‐somethings you’ll find a 30 or 40‐something who’s just as invested in the Genie Ventures philosophy. And you’ll find natives of France, Germany, India, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Russia under our roof. But it’s a real family: the company pays for regular staff socials while we have table football, board games and sports equipment.
Genie’s staff retention rate is 95+ per cent, and a recent anonymous staff survey found 100 per cent of staff would recommend working for Genie Ventures. When recruiting, personality is an important requisite as people really need the “Genie attitude” to fit in, no matter their age or experience. We often have speed dating-style interviews, held in a bar or café with potential recruits meeting several staff and undertaking tasks in a fun and friendly environment.
Have a look at the other Employer of the Year shortlisted businesses:
Make your vote count by picking your favourite for the Employer of the Year category at the 2016 Amazon Growing Business Awards below.