Expecting more from your employer

BrightHR Head of Brand, Sheryl Thompson, reflects on her job history.

I think I must have been very lucky in my career so far, I know I take certain things for granted — flexi-time, open door culture with management, recognition for a job well done and colleagues whom I class as friends.

My first ever job was at Alton Towers Hotel at the age of 17. Although I was probably on minimum wage doing a pretty unglamorous job at the time: housekeeping. I really loved it. There was a great staff social club that put on activities for the team once a month. Not to mention free tickets to the theme park, a great staff restaurant with subsidised meals, free transport, and at Christmas you got a free turkey to take home for the family!

Throughout university I worked in retail; Selfridges & Co, GAP and French Connection — again the work was hard and not brilliantly paid, but I still preferred it (if I’m honest) to going to lectures. These companies knew the best ways to motivate staff with free uniform allowance, discounts and comfy staff areas that made you feel appreciated at the end of a long shift. They also ran employee of the month incentives and gave you at least 2 days customer service training before you were allowed on the shop floor.

After gaining my degree I was set up to work for companies that valued staff and hard work. I simply expected things above pay to be provided by my employer. I worked above and beyond in all of my roles and I liked the transaction of hard work equalling reward.

I decided early on that I wanted to work in Marketing — and got my first break at Littlewoods Shop Direct Group. It was a real challenge adapting to an office environment. At first I was simply knackered keeping up with the terminology - everything was so new to me. This is the role where I really appreciated the people who you work with. Managers that take the time out of their busy schedule to help you understand ROI, colleagues who make it fun and help you to learn from your mistakes — and boy in your first role you make tons! Friendships that have lasted over 10 years were forged in this business and that was down to having a fun and open culture.

As the years have gone on I have worked my way up the ladder in various companies who all nurtured me as a person and as a Marketeer. In an interview situation, I am a lot more likely to ask about the culture of the office than I am to ask about the pension scheme. It is really important to me as I know it will determine if the company is right for me and vice versa.

I now work for BrightHR a company that believes that It Pays to Play. It’s a very creative environment and it brings out the best in me and my team. It isn’t uncommon for a Nerf gun battle to break out, someone to be wearing a Batman costume, or for the CEO to buy everyone ice-creams on a hot day. It’s brilliant.

So what do you think? Have I been lucky with the companies I’ve worked for? Or is it simply what working in the noughties means? I am currently on the lookout for a new way to push the company culture forward. Netflix offers unlimited holidays while Air BnB have an in house restaurant menu to match their around the world locations. Do you have any Bright ideas that will integrate people’s lives and company culture? This next step in engagement is going to be an exciting one!