Quick facts

About 4Com plc

“OUR SALES STAFF have a three-minute challenge,” explains Dean Cartledge, 4Com’s telemarketing director. “They have to find out what type of biscuits the managing director likes at a company we are hoping to do business with, and chat about anything but telecoms to make the call memorable.” His bouncy team, cold-calling small and medium-size companies, do their research: then sales people take along the cookie of choice to sweeten the first meeting.

This personal touch extends to its employees, helping 4Com to top our mid-size league having grown large enough to qualify, after four years as a Best Small Company. Founded in 1999, it supplies 10,000 UK firms with telecommunication systems, software and hardware, including its jazzy new touch-screen handset.

Based in Christchurch, Dorset, 4Com ranks top for Leadership, Wellbeing, Fair Deal, Giving Something Back and the 257 employees’ connection to My Company. There’s a real sense of family, too, winning a top score of 91% positive. Cartledge is just one of many employees with a relative here — his wife, Lynda, is human resources director.

But this cosiness doesn’t stop them being sharp about business: the office dress code is ultra-smart, and product manager Jon Guerra Fernandez describes a culture of quick innovation. “People are quite slopey-shouldered in corporate environments,” he says. “Here, we get excited. It’s easier to innovate in a company that supports it.”

Senior managers such as chairman Daron Hutt listen (87%) and many staffers are shareholders themselves, since they typically get an allocation through an EMI (enterprise management incentives) share scheme after every five years of service. Fernandez also describes the place as a “crazy family”, and there’s certainly a sense of kinship in the shiny fleet of low-emission or hybrid company vehicles.

Nobody feels that health suffers due to work (90%), thanks to a breakfast bar and salad lunches when they hit targets, flower-filled offices and music and disco lights to keep up morale in the call centre. Everyone has private healthcare for the whole family.

Cartledge, who also heads the 4Com Foundation, organises a host of sponsored activities and spent last Christmas day at Poole hospital with the charity Amelia’s Rainbow, giving out presents to sick children. “I’ve run up a lot of hills in my life, but this was a bit different — it was very humbling,” he says.


What is it like to work for 4Com plc

4Com plc's Senior Management Team have been part of the organisation for many years and still like to promote a family feel, despite a continuous increase in its staff base. There is a constant commitment to engagement at all levels and rewarding staff for the contribution towards the success of the business. The business has a culture of 'Excellence at Everything' and there is always the investment of funding or other resource-support for training, research and development, as well as any infrastructure required to do the very best they can. The Best Companies survey acts as a benchmark regarding engagement and wellbeing of staff is at the forefront of everything 4com do. The monthly 'Free Food Friday', company update and staff awards engage staff at all levels and the lunch that follows gives them exposure to senior management. The Chairman and MD Daron Hutt was present at Tough Mudder South West to witness 41 members of his staff tackle the gruelling course for charity, seeing first-hand the camaraderie and all-round effort required to be successful. Every three months a video card is produced and posted to employees and their families detailing the company’s achievements over the last quarter, what the next quarter holds and any charity/community updates. This is particularly useful for those remote workers who rarely get the opportunity to attend the 'Free Food Fridays'.
Last year saw the introduction of a free healthy breakfast bar three days a week, where staff can consume juices, smoothies, fruit and even healthy breakfasts. Throughout the year on the remaining two days 4com offer a salad and noodle bar in the Summer and a soup bar in the colder months. These are free of charge to employees and all healthy options. The company also have had a masseur in the office to relieve back and neck problems and improve posture, as well as free flu jabs for office staff and flu jab vouchers for remote workers. More recently, as part of their annual '4Com's Biggest Loser' campaign, they have linked voluntary staff weight loss with money donated to the Foundation. They regularly invite a nutrition and weight loss coach to provide dietary advice to staff members. The latest initiative they have at 4Com is the introduction of a 'Chill Out' area away from the hustle and bustle of the business, where staff can relax in a quiet environment away from the canteen or pool table areas. They are flexible with break times and maintain an open-door management policy to promote communication at all levels. The staff healthcare package includes confidential counselling as required. As a first this year, the telesales staff have received emotional intelligence training from an external specialist to enable them to control their own mind set and resilience more effectively.
Giving Something Back
Giving Something Back
The 4Com Foundation is well established now as the company's focal point for fundraising, charity and community activities. Having recently raised over £36,000 for Diverse Abilities' Lilipad Appeal, this has enabled the charity to completely fund an indoor play area and they will be allowing staff to assist with the build during working hours through tasks such as painting and labouring. 4com also have a partnership with Age Concern and Christchurch Angels, where they regularly invite groups of senior citizens from the community to come to the 4com offices for a hot lunch, music, singing and bingo. They have donated a third minibus to Linwood School via Variety Wessex to assist children with profound learning difficulties and assisted 12 separate charities through the '12 Days of Christmas' event. Assistance to charity and community over the last 12 months, in terms of cash donations and equipment, have totalled over £100,000.

Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here


  • Charity Activities
    Charity Activities

    At least 20% of staff are known to undertake charitable activities during business hours without incurring financial loss

  • Gym

    companies offering either free gym/ sports facilities or offering subsidised gym membership for all employees

  • Health Insurance
    Health Insurance

    Companies offering private health insurance for all employees

Company Statistics

  • Staff Turnover:


  • UK sites:


  • Staff:


  • Average Age:


  • Earning £35,000+:


  • Male : Female:

    63% / 37%


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