By Pamela Phillips.
As an ambitious business owner, I pride myself on creating a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment for all my employees. I want them to feel comfortable, confident, celebrated, and nurtured. For me, our employees are the greatest and most important asset of the business. As individuals, I want them to feel fulfilled, challenged and encouraged to develop themselves and their careers. As a team, I want us to be as efficient and effective as we can be for our clients. And that can only be achieved when everyone feels they can perform at their best.
It may seem obvious, but it’s essential for all business leaders to engage and nurture employees at all levels. By supporting your employees to develop their skills, strengths, and interests, then there will be an inevitable positive impact on the overall business. Plus, it’s likely that you’ll retain employees in the long term.
‘The dP way’ includes many elements that make up our fantastic company culture. Some of these elements may not be unique or original, but for me, they are what makes us extra special and help us attract the best talent in the industry.
Curious? Here are the 6 ways we celebrate and nurture our employees
1. We celebrate more than just business successes
Whilst some business leaders might think celebrating birthdays, engagements, anniversaries and everything in between is a bit gimmicky, I disagree. The people in our team are real people. They're committed to their job and that’s great. But, they have goals and ambitions outside of work too. I want all my employees to feel welcomed and like they can share their out-of-work successes (and failures) in the workplace too. If an employee wants to celebrate something with the team I encourage it. We send gifts and cards to every employee on their birthday and we regularly have team brunches, lunches, and drink socials. These ‘softer’ activities aren’t for us to talk about clients, or spreadsheets, or the HMRC, they’re there to remind us what a great team we are. They are there to remind us that whilst we are work colleagues, we can also be friends. We get along really well and that’s important to me. We try our best to host bigger events a few times a year if possible, for example in December we had dinner, drinks, and a Crystal Maze experience for the whole team to celebrate Christmas. These events are super enjoyable but they also ultimately help us communicate and work better together too.
2. We encourage employees to work on their personal growth
I am a big believer in lifelong learning and I always encourage all my employees at whatever level they’re at to focus on their professional development. Of course, this is beneficial for the company, but it's also important to me that my employees feel nurtured and challenged as individuals.
Every individual has a development plan that maps out their progression in terms of what they’ll be learning as they progress through dP. Across the company, I also ensure that there’s a big investment in training and development for everyone, this includes apprenticeships for junior staff and more specific industry-related training like subscriptions to in-person and online training. In addition to this, I think there’s a huge benefit to learning in-house - from each other. So, I ensure there are lots of one-to-one training and team workshops so we can all learn from each others’ experiences and collaborate with one shared vision to move forward.
All the roles within dP are diverse and varied and that’s one of the main factors I try to convey when interviewing new team members. For example, as part of our client's finance team, there is the opportunity to get involved in clients' projects (such as system set up and migration, training their team, and defining processes and ways of working for them) as well as internal projects doing the same for dP. Even though we are a relatively small company, there is a clear progression plan in terms of promotions from one role to the next to ensure everyone feels valued, challenged, and fulfilled in their roles.
3. We promote a work/life balance and a way of working to suit you
The hybrid working world is here to stay and I encourage business leaders to embrace the benefits of a hybrid working environment. Throughout the pandemic people massively realised the benefits of flexible working and the strict 9-5 lifestyle just doesn’t exist anymore.
How does this work in practice?
- Flexible hours: This means the team can work around their schedule and do what works for their lifestyle. The strict 9-5 schedule is a distant memory.
- Remote working: This has brought many benefits for many individuals and has even shown that we don’t have to recruit from a local pool of talent. You could be based anywhere in the UK or the world! I’m currently based in Germany which has truly shown how agile and flexible we can be!
- Central base: I encourage the team to go to the central Epsom office when they want to see team members or they want to collaborate with each other. Having this option is really great.
4. We regularly give credit when credit is due
Our values are genuinely and regularly lived and breathed across dP. This is something I’m truly proud of. Many businesses see this as a quick exercise to tick off and move on. The dP values are extremely important to me and every individual employee. I want everyone to feel energised by these values and excited when they’ve created something that fits in with our values. I regularly congratulate team members when they are living to our values. This may be in an email, at the end of a team meeting, or in a face-to-face conversation. It doesn’t always have to be a huge or grand gesture, but these little moments of gratitude, acknowledgment, and credit all help to create an appreciated and proud team.
5. We are part of the forward-thinking emerging digital accounting community
As awards winners (Accountancy Excellence Awards) and finalists in the Xero awards, we’re often invited to industry events, forums, and awards shows. Where possible I try to invite as many of the team as possible. This is an incredible opportunity for them to meet industry peers, see how well dP are doing in the wider industry, and generally have a really nice time. These awards look great on our website and marketing materials, but they are way more than that. They’re external recognition that we’re best in class and we’re doing superbly in our industry and alongside many other competitors. This is a great experience to be part of and I want all my employees to feel excited by this journey! There are many other opportunities throughout the calendar year for staff to feel immersed in the world of digital accounting. For example, our annual visit to Xerocon and the digital accountancy show.
6. We recruit based on more than just qualifications
When we recruit, we recruit with culture at the forefront of our decision-making. We really enjoy reading the CVs of all the talented professionals in our industry, however, it’s the character of the individual that helps us make the final decision when recruiting.
What kind of people are we looking for?
- People who are genuinely excited by what tech can do for our clients (and us).
- People who are interested in more than just accounting! People that are invigorated by business and in helping our clients' businesses thrive.
- People who fit our values.
- People who get excited by the dP way and have their own fresh ideas.
- People that are curious and motivated by what we can do to support our clients (and what we can do to improve this support).
- People that have strong technical skills and/or the desire and ability to learn them.
A ‘good’ culture is hard to define, but I believe we have a great one. Employee benefits aren’t always tangible and it's often more about how you treat people and how you make them feel part of something. I want all my employees to feel like they are being heard and that they can contribute to the future of dP. This is a journey I can’t do alone and I need the strongest and keenest team to get us there. By celebrating and nurturing your employees, you’re not just doing the right thing, you’ll be helping your company grow in so many ways.
Do you want to be part of the dP way?
Check out our careers page to find out more about our latest opportunities.