Best UK workplace knows about employee engagement strategies

Piers Bishop · December 14, 2015

You may have noticed (hard to escape it) that Expedia has just been voted the best place to work in Britain.  As a result, journalists of all sorts have been making their way to the former telephone exchange in London which is now the UK headquarters, trying to find the secrets of Expedia’s employee engagement strategies.

As with so many internet companies it depends, on the face of it, on the fun atmosphere and cool playthings; the The Independent even illustrated the story with a big picture of two people playing a racing car game in Expedia-branded simulators. The Indy’s article makes it plain that the appeal of this company, which is undeniably successful at attracting staff and getting them to stay, is all in the wacky atmosphere – they even quote senior mobile project manager Jane Roslyak as saying “It’s awesome – we laugh, like, all day”.

Undoubtedly that’s better than crying all day at work, but here in the WeThrive office we found it hard to believe that a barbecue terrace, can-can-themed meeting pods and constant hysteria would really be the basis of a strong employee engagement strategy, let alone good retention performance. We have seen too many companies put in Pilates sessions, pool tables and free muesli in the hope of improving retention, only to find that a month later the staff have got used to the new perks and are no happier than they were before.

So, after a little digging in places where employees review their workplaces, we are pleased to present a broader view of what Expedia is doing right. You will not be surprised, if you have visited these pages before, to hear that the successful company culture is based on precisely the same things that our less flamboyant case studies have found. Here are some staff  thoughts on the Expedia Experience:

“They really invest on your personal growth” “Plenty of training opportunities and development” “Great people” ” A ‘test & learn’ mentality” “We feel part of a wider team” “You feel you have the support and autonomy to try new things” “Leadership is fantastic” “You feel a valuable part of Expedia” “Good training and support” “Great opportunities for growth” etc, etc.

I am sure you get the picture – all the things you would expect to hear from an employer who understands employee engagement – though if you are new to these pages you might want to take a look at our free engagement resources. The Missing Manual for the Human e-book being explains WeThrive’s uncanny ability to spot what help employees need to become successful long-term contributors to the company.

From our model it is immediately obvious why people think Expedia is a pretty good place to work, and it has very little to do with the lobster-coloured sofas and weekly drinking competitions. It is not only possible to achieve a working culture and environment which is energised and engaging for the staff without the amusements – it can actually be easier. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – quite the opposite – but it does mean that you can’t rely on a hilarious atmosphere to make up for deficits in the more important areas of working life.

So, to get a grip on what’s good and what needs work in your company culture, just give WeThrive a spin. It will tell you in straightforward terms what works for your staff and what needs work – right down to the individual level.  Many, many times better than running an annual satisfaction or engagement survey at a comparable cost, WeThrive gives you personal, immediate, action plans for engaging each employee to help them reach their potential at work.  It could save you a lot of muesli…