Gone are the days of the 9-5. In the current climate, agile and flexible working practices are both essential for attracting and retaining top talent – but what does this mean in practical terms? Here’s how CAB does it.

Get Flexible

Nowadays, incorporating at least an element of flexible working is essential if you want to get the most out of your staff. Research has repeatedly shown that money is less of a staff incentive than time or freedom.

At CAB, all team members can start anytime between 8-10: they don’t have to ask permission – they just let their line manager know. It’s helped build a culture where people working their ‘set’ 7.5 hours is celebrated rather than people feeling their effort is shown in how long they spend at work each day.

CAB CFO, Matt Wood says, “Flexible working hours aren’t just for people with family commitments. We have quite a young demographic at CAB but that doesn’t mean our team don’t have personal appointments, or want to head off early as they might be meeting a friend for dinner. Our flexi-hours scheme means they can, and are actively encouraged to do it as we know it makes them happier and more engaged.”

Tailor Jobs to People, Not Vice Versa

In a typical agency set up, there are often creative and client services teams, and specialists in each. CAB recognises that there are some people who have skills which span both areas and that it aids retention to allow people to explore their full range of capabilities.

CAB’s Executive Creative Director Ben Wood, says, “The job hybridisation programme has seen numerous studio team members including CAB’s resident email marketing expert, develop a role with client services and  a broader skill set, eventually working across both teams. In some cases hybridisation has meant one person does the job that previously two would have needed to do, but in a more efficient way because they’re able to draw on the creative and operational/strategic skills all at once.”

Recognise and Reward Staff Excellence

Too many people feel overlooked or ignored at work. However, it’s easy to recognise staff – and help them to incentivise each other – by building rewards into your company culture.

Ben Wood says, “Each CAB team member starts the month with 20 casino chips, which they can use as a currency amongst the team when they want to reward colleagues who go the extra mile e.g. helping them out with a really tight deadline on a project or identifying times when colleagues have excelled in a presentation. At the end of each month, the person with the most chips is rewarded with a gift voucher of their choice, or an extra day’s holiday. This programme is in addition to a weekly celebratory ‘high five’, where best examples of client work are recognised and rewarded.”

Matt Wood adds that this recognition is especially important in an agency environment, “We run a tight company and every hour is accounted for, like any consultancy. Sometimes people get immersed in a task and we all know it can be hard to say ‘Could I ask a favour’ or indeed take time out to pat someone on the back. The chips programme really helps make people more open to helping each other out in a more honest and transparent way. The high fives are just a great way to take time out of our tight schedules to show that we appreciate the brilliant work everyone is doing.”

Support Staff Dreams

The gig economy and rise of freelance working means more people than ever have dreams they feel it’s important for them to pursue. Rather than discouraging this, any employee at CAB with a good idea is supported to make it a reality. CAB’s new partner programme provides those with a viable idea for a business which can complement the main CAB offer, with mentoring and funding support to make it happen. The CAB board will help devise a business plan, and bring the business to market, acting as shareholders and mentors thereafter, to reduce the risks of running a business.

Ben Wood says, “Above all, we don’t get complacent. While CAB is proud of its initiatives, we’re always looking for new ways to improve things for staff. Our ‘Studio mum’ bakes fresh treats all day and once a month on a Friday, we might have a Mexican feast cooked by one of the directors, or some other form of studio get-together.”

“By listening to our staff, and helping them achieve their dreams as well as our company objectives, we feel that everyone is getting the best possible experience of work – and we get the best out of our team.”