HR & Management

Employee engagement: Four companies that know how to keep staff happy

6 min read

18 October 2015

Do all of your employees enjoy coming into work each day? These four companies' workers do – and here's what you can learn from them.

The way we work is evolving. As we spend so many hours at work throughout the week, it’s essential that we’re happy in our jobs and it’s down to businesses to ensure that people enjoy coming into work each day.

Ranging from cycling initiatives and team sports to free lunches and cracking open beers at 5pm on a Friday, we have collected the best stories from four companies that will inspire other businesses to put workers first.

1) Work/Life Balance: Naked Wines

Naked Wines are a company who found themselves 64th on the Sunday Times Best Small-Sized Companies to Work For List this year, and all because they know how to look after their staff. 

But it’s not all about one-off annual treats. Although these make wonderful initiatives, Naked Wines also encourages its employees to relax during the working day. 

Each day at 12pm, a wine adviser will spend 15 minutes initiating ‘play time’. Anyone who wishes to spend some time away from their computer is welcome, and activities can range from yoga, playing instruments and singing or even a game of ‘It’. On any given day, between 10 and 20 people will get involved; all taking some time for themselves to unwind and re-energise, ready to get back to work after lunch.

2) Go the Extra Mile: Lindum Group

Companies that go the extra mile for their staff will always benefit from higher levels of employee engagement, and that’s exactly what the Lindum Group did. 

Over the past year, staff at the Lindum Group have experienced severe disruption thanks to maintenance work on the road outside the office. 

Anyone who commutes to work will understand how soul-crushing it can be to sit in slow moving traffic. But by liaising with their staff, this year Lindum implemented staggered starting and finishing times to spare the frustration of morning and evening traffic jams; some chose to start earlier, whilst others stayed later in the evening. 

By adapting to their employees’ specific requirements, Lindum have shown just how much they care about their wellbeing, whilst also maintaining impressive levels of customer delivery.

Discover two more companies leading by example on the next page…

3) R&D also applies to the workforce: Hawksmoor

The best way for a company to advance and grow is to ensure that their employees are always developing with it. 

Hawksmoor, which has grown from an independent restaurant into a five location-strong chain across London since 2006, very much believe that their employees are the future.

Everyone at Hawksmoor follows ‘The Rule of Seven’, a system that ensures every employee works and trains two candidates to replace them. Assistant Managers are trained by General Managers, Sous Chefs and Chefs de Partie are trained by Head Chefs, and so on. Hawksmoor chiefs believe that successfully training your own replacement is the best way to tell when somebody is ready for a promotion. 

This method ensures that staff are always moving onwards and upwards through the business, as well as encouraging the constant learning and passing on of new skills.

4) Take pride and invest: HIT Training

HIT Training, specialists in training others to work in the hospitality industry, are another example of a business who take pride in their employees. 

As the future of the business, HIT aren’t afraid to invest in their staff, which they do by running a bespoke leadership and management development programme. 

This initiative focuses on boosting the skills of each employee, by using the results of the Best Companies survey and their individual MC3 scores, to ensure that every person is growing to be at their very best. 

Employees who don’t feel valued by a business aren’t going to care about their work in return, nor are they going to want to stay there in the long term, and high staff turnover can harm not only the company’s finances, but can also damage delivery to customers.

The businesses highlighted in this article and their initiatives are certainly something to take inspiration from! The benefits of improving the lives of your employees are endless: improved productivity, happier employees, less staff turnover and better results to customers being just a few.

You don’t have to jump straight in at the deep end with extravagant company trips; instead opt for smaller changes that show you care, perhaps a new review system that keeps people’s progression on track or a pizza and movie night! 

Jonathan Austin is the founder and CEO of Best Companies.