Having spent the last 6 weeks at the sharp end of the business, splitting my time between our talented accounts department and our tenacious helpdesk, I have seen consistently, first-hand, the dedication and endeavour our people offer us, even during particularly stressful or busy periods.
The ‘back to the floor’ exercise has proven to be an insightful and extremely beneficial process, which has highlighted various areas of the business that can be improved, as well as processes that can be adapted in order to work smarter and more efficiently. The most overwhelming and consistent message left resonating with me is how lucky we are to have a team of people who are willing to do whatever it takes, work as long as it takes and try as hard as they can to continually exceed expectations on all fronts.
Although day to day I am in and around the office and can gain a general feeling for the work load and morale within the respective teams, the not-so-undercover boss regime has provided a deeper and more detailed experience. A nostalgic trip down memory lane, taking me back to my helpdesk roots from over 10 years ago, experiencing the positivity of the helpdesk, constantly entertained by the characters and proud of the buzz that emanates from the people we are lucky to have within our ranks.
The AP teams, whilst offering a more hushed environment, are an exhibition of teamwork and collaboration. At the end of the day, cash is king in any business and the AP team is key to ensuring that all the dedicated efforts of our workforce are rewarded accordingly. Under intense pressure, they diligently chase, process and schedule payments retaining a contagious desire to impress.
Morale is key! No two ways about it, no hiding from it and no denying its importance. Morale has a direct link to the success of the business, if your people are stressed, over worked and under-appreciated, let alone under-rewarded, it can only lead in one direction: down.
It is inevitable that people will experience stress or times where they feel overworked, sometimes for a sustained period, and on occasion there is little you as a Senior Manager or Director can do about it, especially when a business is growing and undergoing change. We have experienced this and yet by recognising people’s attitude, communicating with them, acknowledging their efforts as well as the difficulty of the situation, we have been able to turn a potential banana skin into a positive experience for everyone involved.
Rewarding our people is a crucial part of attracting and retaining the best, our staff retention rate is something that fills me with pride whenever I think about it or am questioned on it, and I am convinced it is in no small part down to our wellbeing and benefit programme. We offer many staff benefits including access to Perkbox, half price gym membership, personal training, free yoga pilates, metafit and spin classes, a constant supply of fresh fruit, excellent maternity benefits as well as more recently implementing a social committee, a group of people formed from various members of our teams who are tasked with organising a social event each month for all the staff, paid for by the business.
There are many ways we as a business try to reward and recognise the enormous contribution each of our people make, again something that cannot be underestimated!
Looking around the room as I sit here today amidst our helpdesk, the room is filled with bustle of a hard working group of people, committed to the cause, to each other and to the business. Every now and then a loud cackle breaks the usual sound of telephones, typing and conversation which emphasises the team spirit and mentality the teams have achieved. We, as a management team, have helped this along by being patient and thorough in our recruitment and installing an induction and training process designed to give new-starters the best chance to integrate into our teams and procedures, but it’s the teams themselves that have created and sustained this environment and it is this environment that has got us where we are today.
The ‘morale’ of the story is that in a service driven industry – people are and continue to be our most important asset!
Chris MacDonald, Managing Director