Size doesn’t matter: the importance of employee reward and incentives in SMEs

Five friends started MVF in 2009 to do something different in digital marketing – a smarter, data-led approach to customer generation. From the very beginning, the founders walked the talk: promoting a good work-life balance, flexible working and a family-first ethos. It’s this approach that helped us rank in the top ten Sunday Times Best Companies to work for the past three years, with results showing 90% of our staff love working for MVF. So what do we do to achieve this?

Incentives for growth

Whether for the 100 people we employed in 2012 or the 400 colleagues we have today, our reward strategy has been consistent with a view to incentivising for growth and sharing success. That’s how we feel we’ve been able to keep the electric air of a start-up within MVF, despite our growing numbers.

We think that when the team puts in a big effort to achieve great things they deserve exceptional reward. Since 2013, we’ve taken our entire company on an annual incentive trip if we hit big targets. We’ve flown everyone to Ibiza three times; the first time it was around 150 people and in 2017 it was closer to 300! The annual incentive trip has a huge impact on motivating our team members in a really positive wat. The vision of cocktails, water sports and golden sandy beaches certainly helps to boost productivity when targets seem challenging. Even more importantly, the annual trip helps to unite the business in the achievement of joint objectives: our employees are massively committed to helping each other succeed.

A personal touch

We also understand that offering rewards which meet the specific needs of our team members is what makes a difference day-to-day through the year. This is the thinking behind our flexible benefits and incentives programme which we continually evolve based on employee feedback.

Motivated and ambitious people also want to grow and develop. That’s why we see learning and training as another part of the overall benefits proposition. In addition to our bespoke management development academy certified by the Institute for Learning and Management we give people an unlimited book allowance and a generous individual training budget. The return on investment is clear to see – the more staff learn and develop, the more value they add to our business.

More light-hearted benefits make a difference to our business too. Although on the surface our clubs – from football to yoga and Frisbee – and the sourdough and egg breakfasts may not have an obvious return on investment, for us there is a clear dividend in the stronger relationships we see across teams and the fact that by getting to know each other they can work better together.

The business case

Spending money on employee incentives may appear to be a drain on profits at first glance, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As any good finance officer knows, growth is all about making the right investments to get the best returns.

Naturally, the money we have spent has grown substantially over the years and, viewed on its own, I imagine our benefits budget would surprise some CFOs. We still have a long way to go as a business, but one thing I am convinced of is that it is having great reward and incentives that will continue to attract and retain the talent we need for the future.


Author: Andy Philpott | Category: Blog | 11/09/2018 | 0

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