What makes us different?
We speak about being passionate about being different. What does this mean? Culturally, how are we different?
Are we trying to say that as accountants we don’t get excited when things add up, that we don’t love a good spreadsheet and working with numbers? Well no, because we can’t even remotely suggest a lot of us in the team don’t love numbers. And whilst we work flexibly for instance and have a dress for your diary policy, we haven’t got a pool table or pub in sight in the office.
What we mean is that we’re passionate about being different with our clients. Providing client delight is what motivates us all on a daily basis. We have some brilliant, ambitious and inspirational clients, often with entrepreneurial businesses, who need our advice on a range of matters. Some of our clients have been with us since Inspire was founded in 2005. Our whole ethos is about building lasting relationships by getting to know our clients, understanding their aspirations and talking to them often so we can help them fulfil their business ambitions, whatever they may be. We question our clients and we listen. We of course aren’t perfect, but we try to be the best we can and we care. Client delight is so important to us we measure it. Every couple of years, we ask an external company to measure our net promoter score which measures the loyalty that exists between us and our clients. Our last rating fell into the ‘excellent’ category, which we got super excited about!
We’re also passionate and caring about supporting each and every team member. It’s our belief that the happier we all are at work, the better we service our clients, the better we perform in our roles and the more we fulfil our potential. We’ve recently introduced a weekly happiness pulse survey – where each week everyone feeds back, on an anonymous basis, how happy, or otherwise, they’ve been that week. The following Monday each team chats about their prior week’s score, how they’re feeling and what they can collectively learn and action. We care about having a culture where it’s ok to not be ok and it’s good to talk.
Everyone in the team feeling like they can have a voice is so important to us, as is transparency. When a decision is taken within the business, which is relevant to all, it will be communicated as quickly as it can be to the team. Each team has a Monday meeting, we have a weekly full team meeting, Warren holds regular informal catch ups and we all get together twice a year to talk about how we’re performing against our strategic plan.
To give you a further idea of what makes us all tick at Inspire, we want our employees to have a growth mind-set and we place a lot of importance of working together as one team. We don’t work in silos – we help each other as needed. Our directors, Andrew, Chris and Warren, are accessible and hugely value when the team come up with ideas and suggestions. We’re an independent practice and in terms of decisions, this means we can be agile and innovative – if ideas are good and will be of benefit, we can implement them quickly.
It’s not just all work
We like a social! There have been some memorable Inspire parties/get-togethers over the years. We celebrated Inspire’s 15th anniversary having a black tie bash in a beautiful banquet room overlooking Poole Harbour. The surprise of the night was Andrew’s band appearing and rocking the night away for us all.
We like to have a quarterly social as well – be it rounders in the park, a pizza night or our Christmas party. And speaking of Christmas, the Inspire Christmas buffet lunch is fairly legendary – our downstairs breakfast bar space, which can normally accommodate quite a number of people sitting round chatting at lunch – becomes laden. As might be expected, there’s a good spreadsheet involved too – one team member each year takes it upon themselves to ensure everyone brings in something different. We can’t possibly have too many sausage rolls and crisps and not enough Polish sausage or cake!
Outside office hours
We’ve climbed Snowdon together, camped on Brownsea Island and tried to raise quite a bit of money for some of our favourite charities. Being part of one team, for the sake of our clients, and because we actually just like each other, is part of our DNA.
We have a sign on the wall in the office, which sums us up well, reading…