18 September 2016

How should a business look after its team?

UKFest UKFast

The main stage at UKFest

I believe that a company’s team is its greatest asset and should be treated as such. That’s why we’ve built a bit of a reputation over the years for throwing some extraordinary events and offering some quite unique rewards.

Today marked the final day of one such event: our weekend-long festival, UKFest. Three days of camping, live music, food and entertainment with the whole UKFast team, friends and family. As an extra surprise, we also invited chart-topper Example to headline the main stage. 

There was a prosecco lawn, massive tipis, zorb football, paintballing, fairground rides, a London bus bar and a corner especially for the kids. There is something really special about realising that our team are growing up – we’re getting married, having babies and growing our families. There were groups of little ones, with their faces glittered by The Sparkle Shack and carrying balloons from our favourite balloon artist. There were also parents, grandparents, husbands, wives and even pets. It was wonderful!

Although it is not the first time we’ve thrown a big event to thank our team for all their hard work, this year’s UKFest has without a doubt been the biggest so far. It’s only right that we have the biggest event in the year when we are set to smash our targets and are well on track to reach our turnover goal.

It is absolutely essential to reward a team for their efforts and I believe that the UKFast team is so extraordinary that they warrant extraordinary rewards. Of course, if you want happy customers, you first need a happy team.

Back in the early days, we would invite the team and their friends and family along to our Snowdon base, to walk around the mountains, build rafts on the lake and sit around the camp fire.

Last year, we hired the whole zoo and gave almost 1,000 people a day out at Chester Zoo and the opportunity to explore after hours with the keepers.  It was a wonderful day of making memories.

Whilst I am often in the bad books with the accountants for these all-expenses-paid events – it seems the traditionally corporate world can’t get their heads around the way we do things at UKFast – it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to reward the team. In the very early days, fish and chips with the team on a Friday evening was how we spent time together and said thank you. I made some of my favourite UKFast memories then, with people who still work for the company now.

lawrence jones mbe and example

With my wife and Elliot / Example. Fantastic performance.

UKFest was extra special for us as we introduced ourselves to our new neighbours and got to know the local community, inviting them along to get to know the UKFast team too. 

It has been brilliant seeing everyone getting excited about the weekend and coming together to make sure UKFest was the best weekend of the year. So many people and different departments of UKFast have come together to produce this incredible event.

I have to say a huge thanks to Anna and Chris, who have been extraordinary and haven’t sat down for a week! They’ve orchestrated the whole thing with calm, focus and an astonishing attitude. They are absolute UKFast Legends now.

Seeing our apprentices pitching in on Friday moving 600 hay bales around the site in a big chain was real moment for me. We’ve had our apprenticeship scheme for a few years and now have almost 50 apprentices! They’re fantastic young people with so much enthusiasm!

Our construction team has also done an incredible job turning a series of overgrown fields into a stunning site that hosted over a thousand people over the weekend, while the design and events teams have worked hard to ensure everyone has had a polished, perfect festival experience.

It’s extraordinarily important to me that the UKFast team are able to have fun together, both inside and outside of working hours. I don’t want anyone who is part of our team to come to work every day just to earn their wage. Teammates should be friends! Shared experiences help to build these relationships.

Life is all about making memories. As a CEO it would be easy to distance yourself from the team and sit behind an office door, as a mystical entity. But that’s not how I think business should be done.

Time is the most precious thing in life and who you spend it with speaks volumes – you should spend it with your team, they deserve it!

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