7 December 2018

UKFast, christmas, lawrence jones mbe, festive period

On stage at the UKFast Christmas Party, thanking the team for all that they do.

This time last week we were building up to UKFast’s social event of the year – the annual Christmas party.

Many years ago we would head to the pub down the road from the office, now it’s quite the spectacle. Gail, Jonathan and I take the opportunity of the festive season to show the UKFast team how much we truly value their contribution. Alongside our Friends and Family night, we have the Party.

I remember just before we moved into UKFast Campus, we hired out one of the Living Ventures bars for our end of year party. We filled it so quickly, I realised that we were going to need somewhere of our own to hold these events. Since then, we’ve held the event in our own Campus auditorium. Now, we’ve even had to build a bigger one of those to accommodate not only the team for this annual event, but for the demand for the space from the community around us.

With all of that in mind, this year was undoubtedly the biggest yet. The events team transformed the space into a Hawaiian paradise with tiki huts, a 7ft flamingo, surfboards and palm trees. There was even sand!

We hand out awards for everything from ‘Most Supportive Person’ to ‘The Person You Can Never Find’! And we also give out £1,000 to the UKFasters that reached their five-year milestone that year, and £10,000 to those who reached their ten-year milestone.

A second family

Many business people have asked me why we invest so much time, energy and money into events like this, and particularly why we continue to pay out the five- and ten-year bonuses. It’s perfectly simple.

When someone works for us full time, for example, they dedicate at least 37.5 hours a week to their role. They give their time, energy and passion to the role. The teammates around them, and you as a business leader, become their second family.

When someone gives so much, they deserve just as much in return. The least we can do is to throw a fantastic event for everyone to celebrate together. From a business perspective it also makes perfect sense. Events like this help the team to build relationships, boost energy and let teammates know that they’re valued.

As for our five- and ten-year bonuses, there is nothing like handing these cheques out. We pay the tax on these too, so this year we paid out around £100,000 before taking that extra tax into account. You can’t buy five or ten years’ experience in your company though. These people are the core of our culture and the way we work as a team: they’re the very foundation of Team UKFast.

In this day and age, staying in one role for a decade is extremely rare. We’re seeing a huge trend for people bouncing from role to role. So, when someone chooses to stay with us, that’s an incredible honour for me personally.

There is no greater feeling than handing over the giant £10,000 cheques and hearing that the money is for the deposit to buy a house or to take the family to Disneyland.

Thank you to everyone at UKFast for being the awesome team that you are. I am already looking forward to next year’s celebrations!

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