Fun at work is allowed……….employee engagement at Admiral

A quick post on my day out at the Engage4Success  event hosted by Admiral Insurance in Cardiff.

One of the most significant things I heard about was the Admiral approach to employee engagement. They are a hugely successful company, based largely on having engaged employees. Have a look at the impressive history of the  best workplace awards Admiral have won, including 6th place in  The Sunday Times 2012 awards (officially the best place to work in Wales).  Interestingly the Sunday Times article talks about W L Gore who I’ve mentioned previously.

Back to Admiral.  I don’t think I could adequately do justice to them in a post, (I’m sure there are plenty of people who will have written far more eloquent papers) but here is what I picked up in short digestible bites. Their approach can be summarised in 4 words: Communication; Equality; Recognition and Fun.

Communication.  Everyone talks about ‘communication’ with employees, and lots of organisations do it badly, tokenistic and lacking authenticity. What I got from Admiral was the sense that they are completely committed to effective two way communication. I picked up on a phrase “no matter how much communication you think you are doing, do even more, and use as many channels as you can”.

Equality. This really impressed me.  There was a strong sense of everyone contributing together, no differentiation or a ‘them and us’ culture.  There was mention of only two people in the whole organisation having personal offices, no separate dining areas for executives and no privileged company car scheme.

Recognition.  People get recognised and rewarded for the good work they do. Simple! (obviously not “simples”, that would be very wrong).

Fun. Woah! This really is radical. The idea is that people can and should enjoy themselves at work and have some fun.  You may be aware of the Admiral Ministry of Fun.  This should be something people in other organisations sign up to.

Nothing more to say really, just a quote from the Admiral Website about their culture

“People who like what they do, do it better”

We firmly and wholeheartedly believe people who like what they do, do it better and as such we go out of our way to ensure coming to work in Admiral Group is enjoyable. We think happy staff will create happy customers, happy customers increase profits, and increased profits will make happy shareholders.

So what’s the PONT?

  1. Communication and recognition, things lots of organisations seek to enhance as part of employee recognition.  Good stuff part of the staple diet.
  2. Equality, something a bit trickier as it does affect those who think, “they deserve more, or better”. But special company cars are very divisive.
  3. Fun. Absolutely brilliant. We definitely need to make the job more enjoyable, “People who like what they do, do it better”

About WhatsthePONT

I'm from Old South Wales and I'm interested almost everything. Narrowing it down a bit: cooperatives, social enterprises, decent public services, complexity science, The Cynefin Framework, behavioural science and a sustainable future. In 2018/19 I completed a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, looking at big cooperative enterprises and social businesses in NE Spain and the USA. You can find out more here:

1 Response

  1. Great post! Looks like fun was had by all at the Engage4Success event yesterday and a really productive outcome as a result. I love the idea of the Admiral Ministry of Fun!

    What is really encouraging here is that Admiral seem to have got a great balance between creating high energy from fun but not stopped there or limited the results by only focusing on the surface level ‘happiness’ of employees.

    They also seem to have created a a sustainable culture that involves effective communication, recognition, and equality. A recipe for true engagement.

    Thanks for sharing!


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