Cirkle is a multi-award-winning PR & Digital consultancy with clients including Morrisons, Bosch Smart Home, Birds Eye, Energizer and Aquafresh. The agency has grown from a one-man band to a £5m, 40 people- strong business. In 2017, the Board identified a need to take its employee engagement to the next level - continue to attract and retain top talent (in a highly competitive industry); ensure diversity (a 96% white, female team was not representative of the workforce); and devise new company values (easy to articulate).

Cirkle’s Chairman surrendered 60% of her shareholding to create an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). Turning the agency into a majority employee-owned business brought a renewed sense of ownership and investment in the company’s success. Staff empowerment led to the creation of new working subgroups including Future Leaders and Wellbeing Warriors. Mental and physical wellbeing remain at the heart of the agency and Cirkle brings the gym to the office, running group fitness challenges for those wanting to take part. In May 2018, ‘culture’ received the highest Employee Engagement survey score (an increase of 22%).

"A majority employee-owned business brought a renewed sense of ownership and investment in the company's success"

Diversity was addressed through a partnership with Creative Access (BAME recruitment specialists). The MD is now a leading voice on Diversity and her blogs garner positive industry attention. Establishing second offices in London also opened the door to a wider pool of diverse talent. These initiatives have resulted in a reduction of white staff from 96% to 87%, and female from 96% to 82%.

To create a truly values-led business, Cirkle’s HR Director channeled the Board’s personal values into a new set of company values – woven through the agency’s DNA (internal employee awards, training, appraisals) – so popular that teams have also articulated their own individual values.

By fostering an army of engaged, mini entrepreneurs, Cirkle has achieved impressive rates of staff loyalty and client satisfaction.