Was being named in the top 5 small businesses to work for a shock?
Myself and Colin had discussed possibly coming in the top 20 but we would have been delighted to be anywhere in the top 35. It was the first time for us entering The Sunday Times Best Companies survey so we were initially just thrilled to find out that we were in the top 100 best small companies to work for.
Over the years we've worked incredibly hard to build a positive workplace culture and achieving this award is the icing on the cake to what has been an incredibly successful past few years.
What’s the best thing to come out of landing this award?
Firstly, it’s a nice pat on the back for everyone at Equilibrium. The team put a lot of effort into making the office a fun and sociable place to be.
It’s also brilliant news from a recruitment perspective, as we will hopefully be very much on the radar of talented people who are looking for the next move in their careers. As a business we place a lot of focus on finding and keeping talented team members: some of our staff have been with us for over 10 years, but we’ve also taken on seven new recruits in the past year. I’m hopeful that the Top 100 Award will keep those numbers going up!
Prior to joining Equilibrium in 2010, you lived in Toronto and worked for a business coaching company. What did you learn in that role?
I worked for a company called Strategic Coach and got to interact with a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs who often talked about the importance of having the right people in the right roles.
This is something that I definitely brought with me and we always look for motivated and dynamic people to join Equilibrium with ‘batteries included’. If you find the right people, all you then have to do is point them in the right direction and let them run with it.
So what did you envisage Equilibrium becoming after joining in 2010?
To have solid structures in place, easily trackable revenue and profits, scalable growth potential and be an all-round great place to work. I feel it’s important for a business to be somewhere people feel like they are taken care of and rewarded for doing good work, where they enjoy the job, but work hard.
Equally, I wanted a culture where the team are encouraged to be ‘interesting’ people.
What do you mean by ‘interesting people’?
There is more to life than just working and we are absolutely against squeezing the life out of people. Our priority is for colleagues to feel well-rounded as individuals and be able to maintain their work-life balance.
We don’t expect people to be replying to emails and on their phones outside of work hours. When you’re burnt out you don’t have the time and energy to read, explore, get involved with projects, which are all things that encourage innovation and ideas that drive the growth of the business.
We want our people to leave work on time and spend time with family and friends. If people don’t (or can’t) do that it’s easy to become exhausted and less focused and motivated. That’s one of the reasons why we offer such a generous holiday package so that people feel well rested and are able to perform to the best of their ability.
What’s your philosophy?
One of our big things is that we don’t do traditional career paths. People have got to come to the table wanting to progress. If they tell us what they want to do, our job is to provide them with the opportunities they can take advantage of.
For example, there are broad roles that we hire in for. But not everyone is suited to becoming a manager. Everyone comes to the table with various talents, interests and their own unique-ness.
We are big enough and lucky enough to be able to then tailor our roles around people’s strengths, interests and passions. If they are then prepared to take some initiative, they can evolve in the direction they choose. If the team are happy with what they are doing, they are more creative and productive. Essentially, what we do is ask ‘where do you want to go?’ and then say 'we’ll see if we can make it work for you’.