Scottish employment law advisory firm, Solve, revamped the idea of a bonus scheme by taking all its staff on a sun-kissed holiday to reward excellent performance.
The company’s directors paid £5000 to take the seven-strong team on a four-day trip to the Algarve in Portugal after they helped steer the firm to its £300,000 turnover target.
Founding director Stephanie Robinson launched the business in 2011 to help clients unlock the benefits of good HR, which includes keeping staff happy and boosting productivity.
But it was an anecdote from her father which inspired her to use the promise of a sunny getaway to bond and motivate her own team.
“My dad catered for major functions and used to tell me about a huge event he was involved with for a big American company in the 1980s. The company brought all of its sales staff and their wives to Scotland,” Robinson said.
The idea was they would reward their top performing people by taking them around all of Scotland’s most prestigious venues and give them a ‘money can’t buy’ experience. That would reinforce that their company was a fabulous place to work and to drive growth.
It also incentivised staff to look forward to a similar trip the following year, allowing them to retain their best talent.
“With my own business I was determined to reach £300,000 turnover, not least because lots of people in the world of SMEs told me that getting past £250,000 could be a real challenge and I didn’t want to get stuck there.
Robinson told her team that if they could all work together to break £300K, then they’d all go away on holiday. “It seemed to work because towards year end there was a real team effort to drive sales and more and more projects started to come off.”
“What was most important to me was that it did not happen in a pushy sales way, because that is definitely not we are about. It was more about everyone pulling together and supporting each other toward a shared goal.”
Solve has an ambitious targets for growth to reach 50 retained clients, £1 million turnover and 50 staff by 2020.
The business is built on allowing the team to work flexibly, which invariably means working from home.
While each member of the team will have individual bonus opportunities, en route to realising the firm’s growth plans, Robinson has already promised them another holiday if they reach the next target – breaking through the £400,000 turnover mark.
She added: “For me this is about the big picture of encouraging high performance work. To do that you have to engage your people. Part of that is about having individual targets and bonuses, but more important is having a shared goal to strive for.”