Solve rewards staff by sweeping them off to the sun
An Edinburgh firm which advises other businesses on good HR practices has gone the extra mile to reward its staff by taking them all on a sun-drenched beach holiday in the Algarve.
Solve directors paid £5,000 to take they seven-strong team on a four-day trip to the popular Portugal hotspot after they helped achieve its £300,000 turnover target.
Founding director Stephanie Robinson, who launched the company in 2011 to help clients unlock the benefits of good HR and employment law advice, says an anecdote from her dad inspired her to use a sunshine holiday as an incentive.
She said: “My dad catered for major functions and used to tell me about a huge event he was involved in for a big American company in the 1980s. The company brought all of its sales staff and their wives to Scotland.
“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.
“As they all wanted to be on the trip the following year, it allowed 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.
“So that story from my dad inspired me and I decided to go for it. I told the team that if we could all work together to break £300k, then we’d 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.”
Robinson says as all of her colleagues are women with young children, the lure of a short break without husbands or children was another important motivator for the trip, which saw the team relaxing in a luxury villa with its own swimming pool, near Vale do Lobo.
She said: “As a mum myself I knew that a few days away for peace and quiet and being able to properly relax and unwind would be really special. The result was that we had a fab time and really enjoyed ourselves.”
Solve has an ambitious blueprint 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.
Robinson has already promised the team 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.”