Propellernet is a digital marketing agency. Its founder and CEO Jack Hubbard set it up when he found it difficult to find a workplace culture he was comfortable with.
The war for talent is fierce in this sector, thus retention of staff, and appealing to applicants on more than just pay, became priorities.
Hubbard quickly found that whenever he and his employees followed their values – which they articulated as having fun, personal wellbeing, innovation, creativity and adventure – everything else took care of itself.
“When we started to just operate in accordance with our values and purpose it freed us up. We became a lot more creative. The innovation stepped up a level,” says Hubbard.
“In our industry… [in other companies] people would often stay until eleven o’clock, perhaps midnight… In comparison we never bill out our people’s time beyond 70% to 80% of their standard hours,” he adds. “Otherwise it would just burn people out. We’ve got a big queue of people at the door because we go to extreme lengths to look after our staff.”
Hubbard set up a wellbeing fund to finance people’s passions. There is also a Dream Ball Machine. Each ball contains someone’s name and dream, and one is picked at random each time the company meets its monthly targets. Examples include flying employees to Brazil for the World Cup and booking a ski chalet for a week for a family.
“I don’t always want to wait until a target is hit to make someone’s dream come true, so I’m always looking down the list of dreams and seeing what I can make happen anyway,” adds Hubbard.
The company also hosts a music festival at Hubbard’s base in The Alps, along with hiking and adventure days.
Over the last four years turnover has increased from £1.5 million to £4 million. “The pace of change is accelerating and whole industries are being left behind. Unless you can get excited about something and embrace change with a playful attitude… then you’re going to get wiped out,” says Hubbard of the link between humane management and commercial success.
More details on this case study can be found in Hlupic's new book Humane Capital: How to Create a Management Shift to Transform Performance and Profit