Why Moneypenny built a pub in its office

ONE MINUTE BRIEFING: Encouraging employees to have fun has helped to maintain a tiny staff turnover.

by Stephen Jones
Last Updated: 04 Jan 2019

Employee engagement is one of those things that is often easier to talk about than to put into meaningful practice.

Wrexham based communications outsourcer Moneypenny is testament to the benefits that can be had if a company can get it right. It’s appeared in The Sunday Times ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ five times in a row - including top five listings in 2015 and 2017 - and has a staff churn rate of under 5% (in an industry which averages between 15 and 20%).

Co-founder and director Ed Reeves explains why it has been successful.


"I’ve generally found that there are three reasons why people work. One is career development, two is money and three is enjoyment. The easiest one for anyone to influence is the third.

"So we work really hard to try and blur the lines between work and play - not by saying take your work home, but rather bring your friendships to work.

"For example we have a pub in the office which opens on a Friday evening at five until eight. It's a bit like a student Union in that it costs £1 a drink, which comes off the employees wage bill at the end of the month. It encourages everyone to socialise outside of the working environment but at the same time within the working environment.

"Among other things, we also invest heavily in putting on at least four or five staff parties a year. These are generally light-touch things that range from taking all 600 staff to the cinema in Wrexham to hosting Bongo’s Bingo in the office.

"What we do is decided by staff committees not by management and aren't delivered with a corporate tag. It’s simply about giving people reasons to be excited about getting out with their colleagues and around 80% of our staff attend each event.

"To make things like this work isn't just a case of having fancy offices. For it to work the example has to come from the top of the business. If the management left the staff to it, the pub would just be a bit of an eyesore that doesn't get used. If we say 'it's ours' it let’s everyone else know that it’s okay to engage.

"These are things that add massive value to our business. Tangible things like recruitment for example. We don't really advertise at all for jobs yet we have over 3,000 applicants a year for positions.

"Our staff churn is tiny, which means our training costs are a fraction of other businesses in our industry and the inherent knowledge held within our staff is incredible."

FOR MORE INFORMATION

To identify the warning signs of a toxic corporate culture (and how to fix it), read this piece by Alliance Manchester Business School’s Cary Cooper. For an insight into how the French approach employee engagement, click here. Finally, Julian Richer shares his 10 steps to top-class employee engagement.


Image credits: RuthBlack/Gettyimages

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