After two long years, Moneypenny finally moved into its new headquarters over the summer.
It was a milestone we had all been looking forward to, but the first time we saw our new 'home' we were still blown away.
And not just for the reasons you might think. Yes, the village pub and treehouse are amazing, but it's the reasons why they're there in the first place that make the office even more special.
Designed with staff in mind, the company founders, Ed Reeves and Rachel Clacher, asked every employee what their dream ‘home’ looked like. What they’d want to see and would make them happy. Suggestions ranged from the bizarre (hot tubs) to the small and practical (great acoustics), but each and every one was listened to.
This is where Moneypenny excels. From day one, Ed and Rachel have been dedicated to the well-being of their team. Why? Quite simply, because they believe that the happier their staff, the happier their clients will be.
It's a simple formula, but one that has been the secret to their success. Rachel summed this up at an event recently where she gave a presentation on staff motivation.
She said: “Ask ‘what’s the most important asset in your business?’ and the answer is invariably a pretty trite ‘our people’. A more revealing question is ‘as a business, do you behave every day as though your people are your most important asset?’ – it’s this that will prompt a bit of soul searching.”
And that’s exactly what they do. Be it ‘what type of breakfast will make staff happiest’ or ‘how can we beat last year’s Christmas party’ - it's a daily obsession which drives them both. In return, the team recognise this and put the same level of energy back into the business a thousandfold.
More than that, their dedication has also (unwittingly) created a small army of brand advocates. An army who spread word of Moneypenny far and wide and inadvertently help us attract not only new clients, but the very best receptionists too.
This mentality is applicable to absolutely every kind of business and I’ve spoken to many agents who have seen the positive impact it can have first-hand too.
Karl Tatler, managing director of Karl Tatler Estate Agents & Lettings, told me: “The natural consequence of staff being happy and feeling fulfilled in their role is an increase in productivity and turnover.”
“As a business we dedicate a great deal of time to investing in this and use a number of tools to help make sure we’re doing everything we can. For instance, we draw on psychometric testing to identify what style of management each individual employee will respond best to. We also run a Gallup poll which assesses engagement every six months. An anonymous platform, it enables staff to speak freely and allows us, as managers, to see where we’re excelling - as well as the areas we can improve on.”
“The results of these can be surprising and have been incredibly insightful to gauge the overall feeling of employees. It’s also a fantastic barometer for determining if a new initiative we’ve put in place has worked.”
“We recently, for example, altered the way in which we measure performance. Rather than focus on a ‘sell, sell, sell’ attitude, we instead wanted to look at the ‘how’. How we can help staff be the best they can be, and how we can identify ways in which we can help them improve their performance. It’s a subtle change, but a crucial one.”
“Telling someone that they need to boost their sales figures by 5% is all very well, but if they don’t know how and already feel they’re working their hardest it can be demotivating. By working this way, however, we’re able to equip employees with the skills they need to achieve those goals.”
“We’ve already seen a significant increase in business levels as a result, but the Gallup poll will give us a great indication in terms of the impact it’s had on their engagement and happiness.”
“Lastly, we ensure staff engagement is a part of daily life. As well as having an open culture, we organise monthly team events like dragon boat racing or going for a curry – our way of saying ‘thank you’– and encourage staff to come forward with any suggestions.”
“Some of our best ideas have come from those on the front line, and not only does this provide a fantastic boost to motivation, it gets unquestioned buy-in from the ground level up as it’s come from the coal face. It’s all of this which helps staff feel valued. Juggling performance assessment, well-being and engagement isn’t easy, but it is worth it. As a company we’re constantly trying to evolve and raise the bar, and we know if we crack this we’ll have found the holy grail of business.”
Nathan Emerson, director of Pygott & Crone, agrees.
He said: “Staff engagement is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. It’s clearly documented that happy, respected and engaged staff will actually enhance a business’s effectiveness tenfold.
“As a company we support our staff members through both professional and personal issues without compromise, offering flexibility, financial assistance and complete support.”
“This consistent level of engagement has genuine benefits for our business. These are demonstrated by our practically non-existent sick record and consistently high levels of performance across the entire company.”
“We also have an incredibly low staff turnover. Despite members of the team receiving offers of more senior positions or financial incentives from other firms we see these being rejected time and time again. This is due to the working environment we provide and the strong team mentality we nurture, as well as the pride our staff genuinely feel to work here.”
“In addition, many of our most successful marketing campaigns, current internal operating procedures and even future company growth and expansions have actually come from idea sharing sessions with team members who have appreciated our support.”
The point is this: it’s not just about the grand gestures – it's about the small, every day touches. The genuine thought that goes into something – and that can be applied to every business; no matter what size. Listen to your staff, show them that you care. It really can do amazing things.
*Samantha Jones is Commercial Manager for Property at Moneypenny