Colin Bryce: How do you ensure staff feel appreciated all year round?

With modern workers changing jobs so frequently, it is difficult to manage their expectations because they are always on the lookout for change. With vacancies outstripping supply of labour in many sectors, young people recognise rightly that they are in demand and worthy of greater reward.

I do not understand business owners that complain about the attitude of their employees, because it is a bit like arguing with the weather. Rather than challenging it, I would rather be seen as a fair-minded employer that treats their staff with humility and respect.

We have a particular focus on people’s career progression, through continued professional development. Nobody is ever turned down for training, development, or coaching. I am proud that many of our young and inexperienced recruits go on to work in senior jobs in the industry.

People here go on a learning journey and they have great opportunities to do really interesting work. Our work involves frequent travel for our team to London and Dublin, and even to Amsterdam, Paris, and further afield.

At Cobry, we provide our staff with a range of perks and bonuses, including a profit-share programme, electric car and bikes-for-work subsidies, and enhanced sick pay and pension contributions. Everyone gets a profit-related bonus at the end of the financial year.

As a carer-positive employer, we have staff-run diversity and sustainability committees, we pay for employees’ computer equipment in their homes. We also provide them with two free books of their choice every month and free supplies of green tea and coffee that are delivered to their homes every quarter. In addition, we organise regular social events for the team.

At the same time as we introduced the four-day week in November 2021, we also became a remote-first employer, meaning that all of our staff is now entitled to work from home permanently. The number of hours employees are required to work was reduced from 35 to 31, with no loss of earnings.

We retained our offices as a collaboration space and most of our staff use it from time-to-time, but they are not under any obligation to do so.

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Other benefits offered to Cobry staff include a recruitment referral bonus scheme, performance-related pay and floating bank holidays.

Colin Bryce is managing director of Cobry