I did a post last Friday on How to Keep Staff Happy which explained what we do as a company to make our guys working life as easy as we can make it, by providing lots of things like refreshments, BUPA healthcare, a fuel subsidy and free broadband. As the follow up to that we also make sure that we have regular social events organised so that we can “get to know each other better” out of the working environment.
Our offices in Ripon are in an old building, which used to be a big house. The company is split over 2 levels with the SEO team on the ground floor and the Web Development upstairs. As the company grows its important to build a strong team and to allow for the guys to mix. In the “olden days” when we were just starting out it was really easy to go out socially together as there were just a few of us and it could all be pretty much last minute. I recall a few occasions where the weather was great on a Friday, so I’d leave work a bit earlier, dash to the supermarket for beer and burgers, then get the kids and get a barbeque set up at our house all ready for 6pm. I’m hoping that we get good weather this summer so that we can have more staff BBQ’s at the Naylor house, it will just take a little more planning.
On Saturday it’s the 6th Anniversary of myself and Dave buying the company. (what a scary time that was remortgaging our house, with 2 small children – but its worked out well). It’s also our 11th Wedding Anniversary … so what better excuse for a night out? We’re just staying in Ripon for this event and will be heading to our favourite Italian restaurant for a big feast. We always pick up the bill, as well as the beer bill in the pub and try to make it a free night out for everyone.
We have another event planned for the 25th April when we are taking Bronco to see Jimmy Carr in Harrogate so that will be great. We took everyone to see Paddy McGuinness just before Christmas and that gave us the bug to see comedians live, so I also managed to get tickets to Al Murray in March for Dave & I.
The best events for me are when we all go to the horse races. Ripon has its own race course and it is about a 10 minute walk away from the office. We would normally go to the evening meets so that we can go straight from work after a few beers. We tend to get some good tips and generally we all come away smiling! Other good nights have been a poker night at our house which went into the early hours, a pizza and xbox night where I kept beating all the guys on BurnOut (they reckon they let me win!), and a SawIV night where we watched horror movies on Blu-Ray. We’ve also been for lots of meals out in Ripon, Harrogate and York to celebrate various achievements.
So my advice to anyone trying to keep staff happy would be to not save up for one big staff party at Christmas but treat them to more regular night’s out throughout the year, and always pick up the tab.