An unlimited holidays scheme has been introduced by Microsoft Dynamics partner Preact as part of a range of new employee benefits, including a wellbeing allowance and flexible working to help with the stress of the pandemic.
The scheme has been introduced as part of a wide range of initiatives to reward the hard work of existing staff and attract the best calibre of new recruits.
“We’ve always wanted to differentiate ourselves as an employer and we’re in a very competitive space where there’s a huge skills shortage,” said Selom Bulla, Preact’s Managing Director.
“So we’ve not been afraid to introduce innovative modern policies as far as our employee wellbeing and work/life balance are concerned and to breed an organizational culture that really stands out.
“The unlimited leave policy is a great way to even up the work/life balance a little bit. We do push our team hard but in return we want to give them a lot.”
Selom, who began his career at Preact during a University work placement before quickly rising through the ranks and becoming the owner, said the policy was partly implemented as a result of the Covid pandemic which created “stress” among staff about when they would be able to take their holiday.
“Everyone thought it was too good to be true,” continued Selom.
“The only caveats are that provided it doesn’t disrupt our customers or the individual’s teams and provided they’re on target with their and the business’s objectives then we’re happy for them to take more than the standard amount of time off.
“We’re not putting a cap on this. It could be 30-40 days a year or even more. It’s based on merit and them displaying the values that we have as an organisation.”
Selom believes that in five years’ time unlimited holiday policies will be the norm among UK employers as people increasingly seek more flexible working conditions.
And it’s crucial for companies to be agile and adapt to new ways of working in order to stay competitive, he believes, especially when it comes to digital transformation.
“People are increasingly switched on to the benefits of digital transformation, especially post pandemic, having had their hands forced to a degree,” he said.
“That tidal wave has been coming, but as Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, said, we’ve probably seen about three years’ worth of progress in digital transformation in three months due to the pandemic.
“We’re essentially in the midst of a new industrial revolution.”
When it comes to attracting the right people to join the Preact team, Selom says that now more than ever companies must look at themselves and what they can offer.
“These days employment is just as much about the organisation making itself an appealing place for an individual to work as it is about the individual having the qualities and skills and the intellect required by the organisation,” he said.
“Interviews used to be very one way but nowadays the employee has choice, and they choose to exercise this very often when an alternative employer is a click away.”
The pandemic has seen huge changes in the way people work, something Selom has been keen to embrace as part of the company’s forward-thinking and progressive culture.
“At the beginning of the pandemic we made it our primary objective to ensure that our team all still had jobs when we came out of the other end.
“We were happy to accept that this may be at the expense of the organisation’s profitability.
“With that in mind we gave our staff assurances that our number one objective going into the pandemic was to ensure they all still had their jobs, and they could support their families and pay their mortgages.
“This engendered an awful lot of trust on the part of the team. We doubled down and all worked hard to do what was required to see our way through that period.
“As a result, we ended up by growing by in excess of 20%.”
The need for flexibility in the working day is at the heart of Preact’s culture, with team members able to choose whether to work from home in the office, or a mix of both.
Other perks include a newly launched ‘wellbeing allowance’ which employees can use to support their physical or mental health through a wide range of activities.
This sits alongside a ‘wellbeing day’ scheme which gives anyone who’s struggling the chance to take a day off at short notice.
Leanne Mennie, Preact’s HR & Operations Director, said: “As a company we’re really passionate about supporting our team in any way we can, and the wellbeing allowance is another way of doing this.
“The allowance is a catch-all. People get to choose what to spend it on so it’s completely unique to them and their individual needs.
“They could use it for whatever helps with their physical and mental wellness. It could be used to contribute to a gym membership or classes, or to buy books, magazines or a podcast subscription, or even a massage!”
“It could even be spent on a National Trust membership to help people get out and enjoy the countryside and support their mental and physical wellbeing in this way.”
Selom says this has the added advantage of helping to identify individuals who may need some additional support.
“We really do want to be an employer who puts our people at the forefront of our thinking,” he said.
“We genuinely believe that if we look after our people, they will in turn do a great job for us and look after our customers.
“That in turn will enhance customer loyalty and ultimately reflect on our bottom line.
“It might be unusual, but we believe that being an organisation with a greater sense of purpose is something that will help us attract the right people.
“We want to be a leader in our field, but we want to do that whilst putting people and purpose and values at the forefront of everything we do.
“Also central to what we do is understanding the needs of our customers and solving their problems while provide the best value.
“It’s not about making the most profit – our customers should feel that at the end of an engagement with us that we’ve provided value for them.
“I want to look back in five years’ or ten years’ time and really think that we made a difference.
“A difference in lives of employees, to the planet, to our customers and if we can look back and smile and think yes, we did do all of those things then we would have achieved a degree of success as far as I’m concerned.”
Preact helps clients improve customer relationships, accelerate digital transformation and increase productivity through Dynamics 365 and solutions built on the Microsoft Power Platform.
By collaborating with the teams at Microsoft, Preact maintains a strong expertise across the Microsoft platform to provide innovative solutions and drive customer success.
To find out more about Preact visit: https://www.preact.co.uk/
Selom Bulla, Preact managing director.
Founded in 1993, Preact is a leading specialist in implementing and supporting CRM solutions. As a top-ranked Microsoft provider, Maidenhead-based Preact supports small and medium sized businesses in advancing their digital transformation through Microsoft Dynamics 365 and solutions built on the Power Platform. The company holds multiple Microsoft Gold Certifications and has been awarded the elite Inner Circle status for Microsoft Business Applications each year since 2018. Preact’s solutions are trusted by more than 10,000 Dynamics 365 users.