5 December 2016

I love this time of year! The festive season presents so many opportunities to get together with people – with family and friends, and with the UKFast team.

ukfast xmas party

My favourite part of the evening – handing out our Ten-Year Club cheques.

We always have a packed events calendar throughout December and the pinnacle is our Christmas party. Whilst I always believe that the annual event is an opportunity to really thank the team, this year was the most incredible yet.

We transformed the events space at UKFast Campus into Narnia. I have to commend our team – especially Anna, Sophie, Abi, Chris, Alice and our awesome apprentices – for the extraordinary effort and attention to detail that they put into creating the best Christmas party we’ve ever seen!

An eight-foot polar bear, a giant lion, specialist cocktail mixologists, bands and an incredible DJ set, it was quite the night to remember.

That’s not what makes it so special for me though. Without a doubt my favourite moment of the year is handing out the Five- and Ten-year Club cheques.

We give a £1,000 bonus, which I pay the tax on, to every team member on their fifth anniversary and £10,000 tax paid on their 10th anniversary at UKFast. It is always a very emotional moment for me.

This is life-changing money that has been used to pay for a deposit on a home, a wedding and for a dream holiday among many other things. I’ve been asked many times why we do this and been told that it doesn’t make financial sense. Of course it does! Imagine having to replace someone with a decade’s knowledge of your business. Equally, do you not think that they deserve a huge pat on the back for all of the work and effort that they have put in for a significant portion of their life?

That level of loyalty is rare in this day and age, when moving jobs every couple of years is the norm. I believe that that deserves a huge reward.

On Friday, I was incredibly proud to hand Gavin, one of our longest-standing and most respected members of the tech team, his Ten-Year Club badge and cheque. Whilst Gavin is one of the quieter members of the team and never one to shout the loudest, he is the man to go to with some of our most technical challenges.

For me, one of his greatest qualities is his ability to share his knowledge – he’s trained and supported so many of our technical team throughout the years. Developing others is one of the essential skills of business.

Of course, following the cheques, the team danced the night away until the early hours and enjoyed spectacles including show girls, an ice luge and the ‘Ice Palace Rave’.

What are you doing with your team to celebrate this year? It doesn’t need to be spectacular – we used to go for a beer after work. What’s more important is spending time with people to get to know them, especially in the early days. Time is the greatest gift you can give.

Would you rather be a mystery that hides behind an office door or someone who knows your team, who counts them as friends and even family, and who has fun at work?

That’s why our Friends and Family night – another highlight of the UKFast festive schedule – is one of my favourite events in the calendar. We invite the team, their friends and family over to UKFast Campus for a special festive evening. It’s a brilliant opportunity to show loved ones what we at UKFast are all about.  I’m looking forward to this in the coming week.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing to celebrate Christmas with your team. Do you have a party planned?


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