Service Excellence Awards 2005: Overall winner and winner, Business to Business - Rackspace Managed Hosting Europe

Among the many wise words posted around the walls at Rackspace is a line attributed to Confucius. 'Get a job you enjoy and never work another day in your life,' it says. For the 65 souls (at the last count) working for Rackspace, it might - just might - be true.

If you ask any schoolkids what they want to do when they grow up, it's unlikely they will answer 'deliver great customer service'. Yet such people exist in the adult world, as Rackspace proves. Somehow, it manages to find people for whom giving service is a real buzz, a kick - even a passion.

On the Rackspace packaging, it says 'Fanatical Support' and the people there seem determined to prove that they really do exactly what it says on the tin.

With the company doubling in size every year, finding these individuals is one of its biggest challenges. It's not down to luck. Rackspace's key recruitment tool is the Gallup Strength Finder, which has enabled it to identify the types who make successful Rackers ('achievers' and 'learners', mainly), and to find more of them. Every employee's photograph is posted on a board with a list of their five key strengths. The net is cast wide: employees come from 20 countries and speak 17 languages. Together, they own 80% of the firm; more than half earn over £34,000.

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