14 November 2018

National Business Awards 2018 - UKFast Employer of the Year - culture

UKFast director of people development Arlene collecting UKFast’s National Business Award.

What makes an amazing place to work? Finding the secret ingredient of that workplace where people don’t wake up and dread coming to is the holy grail of business. It’s that simple.

My greatest achievements are those that positively impact the people around me. One of my proudest achievements is that we have been recognised as a Great Place to Work and Best Company to Work For for many years. And last night, we were incredibly proud to receive the National Business Award for Employer of the Year.

That’s one of the most prestigious awards a business can win. At the Grosvenor Hotel, the team took to the stage to collect the award in front of more than a thousand guests from across the business world.

We’re continuously learning how to improve and evolve the working environment here at UKFast to help the team grow and be their happiest. It’s a journey that I don’t ever see ending. However, one thing is very much set in stone: our culture is built by the team itself.

Of course, Gail, Jonathan, the board and I have put the foundations of our culture in place. We’ve set core values and our mission, but it’s the team who have built upon these to create the workplace we have today.

Help to grow

The unique features of the office were developed in response to what the UKFast team needed. Coming into the office and finding someone asleep on the couch because they’d refused to go home after a mammoth shift until the job was done, we knew that sleeping pods were the answer. When we moved out of the city centre and away from our free gym, the team made it clear a gym was needed in the office.
Equally, one day a dog appeared in the office, under a desk, minding its own business, while its owner cracked on with their job. A week later, there were a couple more. Now the team are free to bring in their dogs as long as they follow the ‘petiquette’ rules.

The same happened with children! When childcare falls through, you’ll find babies being passed around for cuddles. No doubt there are little ones watching Peppa Pig at a desk, or having a nap in the sleeping pods too. The crèche was one of the first things we opened at the new office because of this!

Now as we grow up as a team and a business, it’s all about supporting teammates through their life events – births, marriages, deaths – and the challenges that life invariably throws at us. And to help our team to grow and develop to meet their own goals.

As business leaders, it’s our job to empower people to drive the culture and shape it to fit what they need. Our role is to do what we can to make people’s lives easier and happier.

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