When digital marketing firm Croud launched in 2011 it not only wanted a different business model but also to give employees – both in-house and within Croud’s network of on-demand digital experts known as ‘Croudies’ – a better work-life balance and more flexibility. But as the company grew, maintaining the same company culture and connection with everyone started to become a struggle and inconsistency in culture began to appear.

It was clear Croud’s 10 values were not imprinted in its culture and were not being used actively. Decision making was being affected and recruitment, sales and marketing activities were suffering. Croud realised it needed to make their company culture and values part of its DNA.

"An incentive scheme allows employees to relate each reward to at least one of the values"

Following a global staff survey, three core values were identified: passion, integrity and imagination. These were launched into the business and put into practice in a number of ways, from values ambassadors to embedding in performance reviews. Informal listening groups were also introduced to enable team members to share what they like and dislike about working for Croud. Additionally a ‘Lunch with Founders’ initiative was launched by both co-founders, Ben Knight and Luke Smith, where new starters are invited for an off-site lunch to encourage open communication.

In 2019, Croud launched a ‘Bonusly’ incentive scheme which allows employees to reward each other with ‘Croud Coins’, which are redeemable across various vendors and simultaneously relate each reward to at least one of the values. Plus, the teams moved into new offices in 2018, which provided creative and comfortable spaces for collaborative, as well as independent, working.

The initiatives worked. Croud’s Glassdoor rating is 4.7/5 and 1,038 bonuses were given across the business in one month alone. By embedding the values into performance reviews, employees have clear, consistent objectives, as well as a better understanding of how their work ties in with overall business goals. As a result, in the last three years, employee retention is at an all time high and Croud has been included in the Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work For list and Campaign Magazine’s Best Places to Work for ranking