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Annie Hayes



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Company of the Week: Badenoch & Clark


Keith Nash
Recruitment outfit, Badenoch & Clark has become an almost permanent fixture of the Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list and its range of quirky and innovative benefits and perks has contributed to the proclamation that indeed it is an employer of choice; Annie Hayes spoke to HR Director Keith Nash about why the benefits scheme is so special.

*Benefits stats*
Benefits offered:

  • sabbaticals

  • flexible working

  • gym membership

  • enhanced maternity/paternity pay and leave

  • child care voucher scheme

  • health cover

  • enhanced pension cover

Most popular benefits: gym membership and sabbaticals.

Most unpopular benefit: pensions.

Benefits tip: ask employees which benefits they want, regularly.


Badenoch & Clark, based in London has just over 500 staff, with 66% earning over £35,000. The typical job is that of a Recruitment Consultant and between them they pull in £156 million in annual sales.

It’s a predominantly young business with 94% of the staff ticking the under-35s box, the ‘play hard, work hard’ mentality is very much at the forefront of this business which thrives on motivation and enthusiasm.

The business which is a quarter of century old has a client base that includes law firms, finance houses and public sector bodies.

As an employer of choice you’d expect them to go over and above the statutory requirements and this is exactly the case:

“We offer sabbaticals, flexible working, gym membership, extended maternity and paternity leave, enhanced maternity/paternity pay after two years’ service, a child care voucher scheme, health cover and an increase in the pension contribution after three and five years of service.”

The key to its success however, is seeing the suite of benefits as a moveable feast. Nash regularly asks the employees what they want and how the benefits can be improved.

“We are keen to provide our employees with a valuable range of benefits which appeal to their needs depending on their life situation. We do this by regularly asking our employees their opinion and monitoring the take up of the benefits available.”

In the latest survey, health care, gym membership and sabbaticals topped the charts for the most popular benefits – fitting with the demographics and desires of a young workforce.

And tying the benefits structure to employee loyalty has paid dividends for employee retention which sits at 28%.

“We have seen no evidence to suggest that our benefits directly help productivity, however employees can take a two month unpaid sabbatical after three years of service. It gives employees an opportunity to take a break from their intense sales role so when they return they are relaxed and revitalised resulting in increased productivity.”

Recognising teamwork, excellence, achievement, innovation and fun is also rewarded by the firm. Staff can win prizes including shopping vouchers and a weekend away while high-performing consultants are rewarded with dinner at a top restaurant.

It is not surprising that pensions aren’t viewed as a benefits panacea therefore at Badenoch and Clark. With a young workforce focused on the here and now they take a backseat in the popularity stakes to gym membership, sabbaticals and the lure of quick-fix prizes. Adair Turner is not a name on the lips of these employees.

Nash impresses upon me, however, that while pensions are not a popular benefit of choice they have been cited as ‘important’ by staff, ‘just not a top priority.’

The benefits formula in place at this recruitment business is not complex or difficult to grasp it follows a few simple rules which take into account the demographics of the workforce, their feedback and the magic ingredient of adding a little bit of spice.

“My top benefits tips would be to conduct regular employee surveys to ensure you know which benefits are important to your employees. There is little point introducing a benefit which isn’t used,” concludes Nash.

Like to nominate your employer/business as a Company of the Week? Then email the editor at [email protected]

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Annie Hayes


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