How to become one of the best places to work

I’m always amazed at how many businesses claim that “people are our most valuable asset” but who do nothing to demonstrate that in practice. If your team love working for you, not only will your office be a nicer place to be, but they’ll try that much harder to succeed, and you’ll reap the rewards in profit, too.

Periscopix has just been voted one of the best places to work in the UK. Achieving that doesn’t happen overnight; we have to work on it every day. The way I see it, it involves focusing on five areas:

1. Hire the best

Hire passionate people, not just qualified ones. Do they share your values? It’s especially important for a business in the service industry. You have to believe that what you do matters – to you, your clients and your business. You can’t teach passion.

2. Show employees that they are valued

Work-life balance has become something of a buzzword, but it lies at the heart of most of the companies that are recognised as some of the best places to work. Reasonable working hours help keep people happy, and with the energy to do a great job.

 Presenteeism – getting in early, working through lunch, making sure you’re the last to leave the office – all of these traits are too common in office life, particularly in London. People will burn out if they do this for a long period of time, so actively encourage them not to stay late. 

We also offer family-friendly working arrangements for staff with children, and try to help out all employees where we can.

Offer the chance to progress. When employees see that they will be rewarded for hard work or great ideas with promotions and verbal recognition, it adds to the overall sense of well-being in the company.

Provide good benefits. A decent amount of holiday time and flexible working practices not only keep employees happy and full of energy, but help attract top quality candidates to the business, adding to its expertise. We also offer things like nursery vouchers, and family days at work.

3. Clear communication is vital

Internal communication becomes more important as your business grows. Systems such as a company intranet provide a way for employees to connect with each other and work closely with people from other departments than their own.

Feedback systems, especially anonymous ones, allow employees to give their honest opinion and let management spot any issues brewing behind the scenes. They also help demonstrate to employees that the company cares about what they think.

We use a feedback system called TINYpulse, which is a great way of collecting feedback so we can spot trends and opportunities to improve the company culture.

Be social. Having regular social events means your team will get to know each other better outside of the office as well as in it. We get everyone’s families along to events throughout the year, which is great fun, and means we’re all just that bit more invested in each other.

4. Live your values

Live your values every day. You can’t expect your team to believe in your values if you can’t remember what they are! Doing something that demonstrates them – such as getting behind a charity initiative that you all believe in – helps bring them to life.

5. Invest in your employees’ futures

Provide excellent training and support. Continual training and mentoring helps bring the best out of your people, and creates an environment where people aren’t afraid to speak up or suggest change.

Encourage ideas and innovation. A fairly flat management structure will do a lot to encourage employees of all levels of experience to innovate, and suggest ideas. Ideas don’t just come from managers.

Make the time for annual reviews, and give merit-based pay rises. Management feedback is one of the best ways to ensure employees remain motivated and engaged. Don’t wait for an annual review, though; good managers provide constant advice and constructive feedback throughout the year.

Marc Warren is MD of PPC-specialist agency Periscopix

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