When Amber Wells, growth manager, joined Shoreditch-based digital marketing agency Go Up almost five years ago, one of the things she was looking for was a positive work environment. “I had previously worked at a lot of toxic places, and I knew that I wanted to go somewhere which had a nice environment that people could grow within, beyond just beanbags and free pizza,” she says.
Wells initially joined as office manager, but has since taken on responsibility for other areas, including HR, and has set about further developing the organisation’s culture in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Part of this involved the creation of its Happiness Manifesto, which led to the introduction of a number of perks in particular areas, such as mental health, personal development or green initiatives, after focus groups with employees to find out what they wanted. “Each one was tied to our mission statement, which is to do good work,” she says.
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Benefits include access to a life coach, contributions to a gym membership, weekly fitness classes and a bikes-for-work scheme. The business conducts regular surveys to ensure these remain relevant for employees.
Alongside this, the organisation places a strong emphasis on cultural fit when hiring, and operates a four-day week for those who want to get their work done across four rather than five days.
Up to a maximum of five dogs are also welcome in the office, which is equipped with comfy furniture and plants to help create a more relaxed environment. “We want the office to be somewhere people go because they want to be there,” she says.
The initiatives have been particularly well received by more junior staff and graduates, and the organisation received over 400 applications for two jobs earlier this year. “People don’t tend to leave us, and when they do they always say they love the culture,” says Wells.