Mountaineering builds team spirit at UKFast

There is no limit to the lengths to which Lawrence Jones, founder and chief executive of internet hosting business UKFast, will go to motivate and reward his 200 employees.

From an all-expenses paid annual festival for all staff and their families to working breaks in Verbier, Switzerland, and Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, he spares no expense.

Jones strives to generate loyalty from each employee’s first day at work. He has invested in a hotel in Snowdonia, Wales, where new recruits are taken in their first few weeks for team-building activities such as climbing Mount Snowdon and raft building.

Jones says: “One of the key characteristics [we look for in new recruits] is supportive. Our job [as an internet service provider] is to support people 24 hours a day. When it goes wrong, a lot of people are in a lot of pain and you need to focus on getting people back online, so it is a very intense time.”

UKFast stages events to motivate and reward employees throughout the year. Recently, Jones rented a suite at London’s Mayfair Hotel for two days, during which time employees stayed at the hotel on a rotational basis to attend work-related trade shows and black-tie evening events.

Jones estimates that he invests hundreds of thousands of pounds in motivation and reward-related events each year.

“At the end of the day, I am nothing without them,” he says. “I am only as good as the employees around me.

“We have a great time wherever we go, but it’s not just about taking employees on a big jolly. It’s about getting people out of the office to motivate them.”

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For example, a brainstorming event involving all employees in Verbier last year resulted in a redesign of the organisation’s product. “We revolutionalised our business, otherwise there was the danger of having a very tired product in 2013,” says Jones.

“You can do that in your office, but do you get the same loyalty as welcoming employees off the plane and taking them on an experience they would never be able to do in their lives?”