How culture and wellbeing add to profitability

13 Dec 2019

In 2016, when a company with over US$35 billion revenue dropped academic qualifications from its entry criteria, it raised some eyebrows.


As one of the “Big Four”, EY’s (formerly Ernst & Young) switch to ‘strengths’ assessments alongside numerical tests to assess the potential of applicants may not have been the first move of its kind but it certainly made a huge impact.

The change is part of a trend towards re-evaluating not just the recruitment process but the impact of employees on business culture once they have joined a company.

According to Gallup, highly engaged business units see a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity. So, it makes complete sense that you would recruit for cultural fit, not just technical ability and academic qualifications but that hasn’t always been the case.

Quite often the recruitment process would start with whittling down CVs or excluding them altogether depending on those factors. However, Patagonia (which employs over 1,000 people and has revenue of over US$200m) start their hiring by reading resumés from the bottom, capturing an applicant’s interests and hobbies before anything else to understand their interest in outdoor lifestyle.

Of course, the process also works both ways. Increasingly candidates want to be part of something bigger than a standard nine to five and additional benefits outside of health insurance, insurance and pensions.

Flexibility, wellbeing and a voice within the company as well as, as cringeworthy as the phrase is, a journey.

In a seemingly homogenised market like Jersey’s financial services, potential employees are looking for differentiators and the ability to make a difference, not just be a small cog in a large machine.

When we visit schools, colleges and recruitment events like the recent Skills Show, the aspects of our business that capture the most attention are the wellbeing initiatives like free guided meditation, yoga and of course #WoofWednesday when we bring our dogs into the office.

In fact, we recently picked up the CIPD award for Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative based on suggestions from across the business through our Colleagues’ Council. It’s a relatively new formalisation of ideas the company has had for a while, but it is proving very popular among current staff and industry feedback.

Prospective candidates still want to know that they will be remunerated appropriately for their role, effort and in line with industry standards, as well as the support to study or train for qualifications to enhance their understanding. But increasingly they are looking for the little things that make walking to work in the morning that little bit better.

A joint 2019 study between Oxford University, MIT and the London School of Economics found there was a strong, positive correlation between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, employee productivity and profitability, especially within financial services.

It seems Steve Jobs was right, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.

Fairway Group is a registered business name of Fairway Trust Limited, Fairway Fund Services Limited and Fairway Pension Trustees Limited. Regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission ("JFSC").

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