innocent has a great reputation as a really friendly place to work. How are new staff welcomed into the company?
Before any new staff start at innocent, they are asked to write down 3 interesting facts about themselves and send them in. On their first Monday morning, the new starter is introduced by one of our Bored members (the heads of the company) at the weekly companywide meeting. They read out the fun facts and everyone is encouraged to say hello when they see them around the office. They also have to send in a baby photo which goes up on a wall in our main area (we call it the Chillout) as a reminder that, whoever we are, we all come from the same place.
In the Culture Team, it’s our job to make sure that the first thing new starters do is have a guided tour of the whole office. We let them know about all the little things we do in the office (such as free breakfasts and subsidized massages) show them our office gym and tell them a bit more about the clubs we run. During that week, we drop them an email to find out how their first week went and remind them to come along to Friday beers.
I also remember when I received my contract through the post the envelope came with my name spelt out in magnets. It was a really nice touch and got me excited to start at innocent.
In what way are staff members encouraged to meet and get to know colleagues from other teams?
We have lots of ways to encourage people to get to know everyone in the office. One of the biggest things that we do is to make sure that no one sits on the same floor as their manager or on a desk with anyone within their team. We do this to encourage people to meet people around the office that they might otherwise not have the opportunity to meet.
Deskmates also tend to be quite close in our office and if they have a new starter on the desk they arrange to all go for lunch together. For a new starter’s first two weeks at innocent, their manager will have planned lunches with different people across the company every day so they get a wider knowledge of what people do and the opportunity to meet more people across the company. innocent really encourages its staff to all take a full hour for lunch between 1-2 – pretty much the whole company come and sit for lunch together. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere and good to get a proper break away from work.
We also run a whole load of clubs at innocent. We have Yoga, Pilates, Cheese Club, Netball, Dim Sum, Book Club and lots more. If you can write a proposal, stand-up in front of the whole company to justify why it will be a positive influence on people and bring people together, then innocent will fund half of the club (up to £500). The one rule we have is that we don’t fund alcohol. We do have a Pub Club once a month which is a good excuse for people to get together after work and pay for their own drinks. On Fridays, to celebrate the hard work people have done in the week, we give out Friday beers and everyone is encouraged to come along to that.
At innocent we have 5 main values: to be natural, entrepreneurial, generous, responsible and commercial. During the interview process we make sure that everyone who works here holds these same values so, in many ways, the people here are already like-minded.
Loneliness in the workplace has a knock-on affect on individual productivity, team work and colleague relationships. In what way does innocent ensure that staff feel supported and not isolated in their work?
This year we are doing a huge push to promote mental health, mindfulness and a healthy workplace at innocent.
Every week, everyone has an hourly 1:1 meeting with their manager where they go over any projects that they are working on, any areas that they are struggling with and are generally encouraged to be really honest about how they are doing with their work. It keeps people on track and motivated with their work and lets them know that they’re supported. For the more confidential meetings, we have The People Clinic every week where anyone can come along and to speak to a member of our People Team who can help out if there’s anything they are struggling with at work or in their personal life.
One of the amazing thing about working here is that everyone appreciates the little things that you do. People go out of their way to say thank you.
How does innocent encourage staff to invest in their local communities?
As you probably know, we give 10% of our profits to charity, and most of that money goes to the innocent foundation. With regards to local communities, we recently launched a new Neighbours Project. We don’t get to chat to our neighbours very often (no handy hedge to peer over) so we wanted to find a nice way of saying hello. To break the ice, we sent out a little pack to all our neighbours that included a voucher for some money off one of our drinks and a few things to help people reach out to their own neighbours, like postcards and thank you notes for signing for a package / trimming their hedge etc.. We were inspired to do this when we found out that only 32% of Londoners knew the names of their nearest neighbours and only 19% would call them friends.
As well as these larger projects, we try to make sure that we are always mindful of our local community. For example, there was a big accident outside our office a couple of months ago and the whole road was closed all day so we made sure to take some drinks down for all of the people working out in the cold. We also offer volunteer days for staff to go and help out at local food banks where they help make up food packs: we recently organised a day for staff to volunteer at FareShare, which is where we donate all our short dated stock that cannot go to shops but is still perfectly drinkable. You can read a bit more about it here.
Thank you to the lovely Lucy for sharing innocent’s top tips on bringing people together in the office and the local community. Keep your eyes peeled for more advice on tackling workplace loneliness, coming out on our blog throughout February.
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We have also created a handy page of resources to help people who might be lonely. Visit our ‘Helpful Services’ for more.