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Chris Morling


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Exploring employee engagement at

486487059_thinkstock_wavebreakmedia_tugowar recently ranked #7 best small business on the Great Place to Work Best Workplaces list 2015. In this interview we ask their founder and MD Chris Morling some questions on their culture and why they think they ranked so highly.

What’s the fundamental reason you ranked so highly on the Best Workplaces list this year?

Keeping my team happy and engaged is high on my list of priorities and is, in my opinion, one the most important ingredients for any successful business. I love my job and I love coming into the office every day and I want everyone in my team to be as happy and passionate about their work as I am.

I believe our success in the Best Workplaces list is due to three principle factors. We make a huge effort to ensure that:

  • The working environment is a pleasant one, both in terms of the office space and with regards to company culture.
  • Each member of the team is constantly challenged and engaged with interesting work.
  • Great work is recognised and rewarded.

The Best Workplaces list has a strong emphasis on the employee survey so this really is about genuine happiness in the workplace, not just the benefits offered.

How does your approach to employee engagement differ from other companies?

Our business has grown organically and I have retained a pretty flat structure. This means that everyone is the master of their own destiny and can carve out their perfect career without having to move to another company to do it. If someone wants to move from editorial to marketing we will find a way to make it happen. This makes the whole team adaptable and ensures everyone is working on something that interests them.

By giving people power over their own careers you avoid situations whereby people are clambering over each other to get to the top, namely when businesses become political minefields.

In addition, we do not have a blame culture within the business and no-one is ever reprimanded for trying something new and failing – we just move on, learn and do it differently next time.

You’ve said in an interview the business wouldn’t have been so successful if you hadn’t made key strategic choices when recruiting employees. Can you elaborate on what these choices were and how you made them, and how they influence future hiring?

When I’m hiring I always look for people who are passionate about everything they do in their lives. This is a personality trait that spans across everything the individual puts his or her mind to doing. Having a team of five amazing people is far more effective than ten average – hiring best in class individuals is a key to success.

I don’t want to recruit people who are just motivated by money, I also want them to be motivated by success which will naturally lead to financial reward. We now have 38 members of staff and I still personally interview every single one, something I will continue to do.

What’s your best tip for business leaders to better be able to understand and meet the needs of their employees?

Listen and care. Continually give your employees an opportunity to highlight any issues or come forward with suggestions on how work practices or the workplace can be improved. Then take action on that feedback, or explain why it is not possible.

Bonuses are a big part of the reward and recognition schemes at Is it essential to give staff more of a financial stake in success if you want them to be engaged?

The minimum bonus given to my team last year was 45% of their annual salary. This is not a way for me to engage the team, it’s a genuine reward for their hard work. The reason they all received such high bonuses is because they are already 100% engaged and each and every member of the team deserved it.

Do you think engagement at is fundamentally a part of business strategy? You mentioned a technology that allows staff to report on any metric they deem important – this is very enabling but at the same time linked in with core business goals.

Yes. An engaged team is a happy and motivated team. Such a team, when coupled with intelligence, creativity and pride is a force to be reckoned with.

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