How we built the best place to work in IT

In 2015, a study conducted by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy confirmed a long-held belief: that happy people are more productive. The study found that contented people were, on average 12% more productive. Some subjects were even as much as 20% more efficient that their more sombre counterparts.1

At ROCK, we’ve long believed that people who are happy, secure and that enjoy themselves at work are more productive and have always done our utmost to foster a culture that promotes employee wellbeing as a result. I spoke with our POPs lead, Billie Jones (pictured below), to discuss how and, crucially, why, ROCK have worked hard to establish ourselves as the best place to work in IT.

“Over the last few years, we’ve worked hard to engender a culture where people feel like they are an integral part of something bigger,” Billie states. “Everyone is unique and ROCK recognise this, but we’ve also looked to ensure that all of the people we hire share a handful of traits. I don’t want to give too much away but I can say that we look for people who are excited about ROCK, that share our vision and, vitally, do not only have values that are closely aligned with ours but that foster those values within themselves, too.”

Starting fresh

To all new starters, it's clear that ROCK work hard to create an environment within which people feel fulfilled and their contributions are recognised, which Billie explains is entirely intentional.

“Absolutely, but a big part of this is finding the right people – people who are capable of adapting to and are excited about the prospect of change. ROCK is always changing. We’re always looking to grow; to produce more innovative services and solutions; to become more agile. Like I say, I don’t want to give too much away, but I am happy to state that we always look for people who possess similar characteristics and I think this is why people feel fulfilled here.

“We do also make a concerted effort to recognise people’s various contributions. We believe hard work should be rewarded and a big part of my job is ensuring that people know that ROCK’s achievements aren’t created in a vacuum – they’re very much a team effort and that people that contribute to this team are identified and presented with opportunities.”

Offering extra outside of work

We go on to discuss the variety of events that ROCK put on for staff; from generous buffets to a coffee morning that, whilst a charity fundraising event, had clearly been planned with staff satisfaction in mind. ROCK put on a considerable number of events for their team and, whilst these have become infamous, they have very humble beginnings.

“I think it all started with me having asked Rob [our CEO] for a small budget for snacks. This progressed to me asking for a slightly larger budget to arrange some events outside of work and this really excited people; they got involved, they wanted to contribute and the response we received were overwhelmingly positive. 

"In terms of events, I’m particularly proud of ROCKfest, which was a mini-festival we held to celebrate our ten-year anniversary. We had bands, food – all the usual festival fare – and the feedback I had back was overwhelming. Our staff really enjoyed themselves and that’s what these events are all about. Some people still talked about work – but at least they were doing this in a more relaxed environment.”

It’s abundantly clear that planning these various events requires considerable effort. They are planned and executed with remarkable precision and regularly involve impromptu gatherings featuring various members of staff. In spite of this, though, Billie is adamant that these efforts – that making staff know they’re valued – are worthwhile.

“Firstly, I fell in love with ROCK’s vision and values – particularly their dedication to recognising and supporting others. I wanted to really drive that forward and take it to the next level. We all know that there can be times when work can be stressful or repetitive but, when people like their colleagues, they’ll still enjoy coming into the office. These events foster friendship and this breeds a happy and supportive workplace. People spend 40 hours in work each week and, for this reason, we want to make work a special place for them.”

Culture truly is king

Support, appreciation and – indeed – fun are in abundance throughout ROCK. The existence of team building days as products is clear proof of the fact that companies consistently look to foster a communal spirit within the workplace but, as many of our staff testify, there’s something distinct and unique about the way ROCK create their culture.

In no way contrived and organic and familial in feel, the events – and, indeed, wider culture –  leave most feeling welcomed immediately, settled shortly afterwards and appreciated within weeks.

"The feedback we get from staff is fantastic, this morning I had an email feedback form from a new starter saying, 'It’s only been a few months, but I can genuinely say that ROCK is the best place I’ve ever worked – and it’s clear I owe Billie and her POP's team a very big thank you for this.' That makes it all worthwhile".

  1. Why Happy Employees are 12% More Productive (2015)


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