We’ve known for a long time that good company culture is key to organisational success, yet many growing businesses still don't pay enough attention to their workplace culture. But with a growing generation of employees specifically looking at company culture when assessing potential employers, it’s more important than ever for UK SMEs to foster a supportive working environment. As such, we've provided you with an inside look at how seven UK SMEs are cultivating incredible workplace cultures on a budget.
User verification | Focusing on collaboration | London
Onfido provides document verification and facial biometrics technology to allow users to verify themselves from anywhere by just using a smart phone. The app can scan a user’s government-issued ID and detect whether it’s genuine or fraudulent, down to a single pixel, covering over 4,500 document types from 195 countries.
The team at Onfido believe that collaboration is the secret to their success. As such, the company culture is driven by a collaborative working style that focuses heavily on the idea of teamwork, common objectives and succeeding together. Each member of the team is proud of what the company achieves, whether big or small. Onfido finds this helps to increase success rates while encouraging employees to consistently achieve big results.
Employee engagement consultants | Valuing employees' viewpoints | London
People Insight works with companies to improve employee experience and make work a better place to be. The business works with organisations large and small and uses a variety of survey measurement and expert consulting. As such, having a supportive, human, flexible workplace culture is entirely in their nature.
Every member of staff works flexibly, with technology to support this remote work. Everyone has a variety of start and finish times, which they fit around other commitments. The company even offers extended unpaid leave to employees. Further to flexibility, People Insight makes it clear that they really care about the opinion of each and every employee. Members of staff have a say in everything, from moving offices to voting for their favourite option for the annual Christmas office party. Sharing and collaboration is of utmost importance.
Flooring & home accessories | Promoting team social events | Leeds
Luxury Flooring is known for its excellent organisational culture. The business is owned by two young entrepreneurs, with the average age of its staff around the mid-twenties. It was also featured in Forbes Europe 30 Under 30 in Retail in 2017.
As well as operating flexible working hours that allow employees to organize work around medical appointments and family commitments, Luxury Flooring holds regular team socials to strengthen the bond between employees. The socials take place once a quarter and activities range from cocktail masterclasses to hospitality packages at football matches. Luxury Flooring’s owners believe this has had a hugely positive impact on overall team morale and productivity.
Wearable tech | Placing family and health above everything else | London
Wearable tech brand Techsixtyfour Ltd is a young company that takes work seriously. But for Founder Colleen, family and the health of her employees comes first. As a mother of two, she ensures the company holds flexibility at its core, demonstrated by how she only hires on a flexible working basis and encourages remote working and the use of flexi-time. Everyone is set up to be able to work via their smartphones and it’s company policy that family, children and health are put ahead of work. Colleen says:
"The results have been astonishing. Everyone is dedicated and highly productive and our customer service team is always reviewed as the 'best in class'."
Healthy fruit snacks | Priotising a healthy work/life balance | Croydon
LioBites creates healthy, natural fruit crisps that are colourful and fun. Founder and Director Anna Oldbury has also succeeded in promoting a company culture that is just as dynamic. The result is a working environment which encourages a healthy work/life balance and promotes flexible working through technology. Anna explains:
"I believe a flexible and creative environment is crucial to any company’s success. Our working days and even working hours vary, depending on the schedule. This means that some days we work longer, but some days we only work half a day. Pro-active work ethics are needed in an SME environment and when employees have a healthy work/life balance, they are more productive and motivated. We strongly believe in team bonding and make sure we participate in networking events and days out in London too. Mobile phones and laptops make flexibility so much easier and we fully embrace this."
6. Aspect IT
IT support | Taking wellness and wellbeing seriously | Manchester
Health and wellbeing are an increasing concern for UK companies. Forward-thinking businesses know they need to act if they don’t want their employees burning out.
Aspect IT, a technology firm based in Oldham, has decided to take a proactive approach by offering yoga sessions to employees. Once a month, a yoga instructor is invited to the office and hosts a session to relieve stress and encourage relaxation. Since the yoga sessions began six months ago, the company says they have noticed a remarkable 12% increase in productivity — proving that wellbeing and productivity go hand-in-hand.
7. Clear Review
Performance management software | Embracing remote working | London
Clear Review is a performance management software solution backed up by real HR experts. Stuart Hearn, the Founder and CEO, is committed to agile and flexible working. As a father himself, Stuart understands the demands of family life and allows his employees to work from home three days per week.
Real-time feedback and communication are important to the Clear Review team. Stuart places a focus on goals achieved, rather than tracking hours, which has allowed the business to maintain remarkable levels of productivity. The flexible approach to work is also popular with the employees, which led to the software company picking up the Vendor of the Year prize in the 2018 Employee Engagement Awards.
If you want to know more about how to build a strong company culture within your SME, take a look at this selection of articles from the Knowledge Hub on promoting a strong work culture within a small business.
About the Author
Carolyn Nevitte is the HR Director at People Insight, a company that helps organisations measure and improve the employee experience through employee surveys, expert consulting and 360-degree feedback. Their business psychologists help clients design best-in-class survey programmes, reveal robust insight and understand exactly what to do to improve the employee experience.