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Hamish Raynham was always the perfect gentleman, courteous, helpful and willing every day at work. When he retired, Meta-morphose International decided that one of the most fitting leaving presents they could give him was an award in his name.
Now, every year at the recruitment agency "where attitude is more important than aptitude", one of the 52 employees receives a "Hamish award" for going beyond the call of duty Ñ last year it was David Maylor, a coach, who won the gleaming cup.
This is just one of the gestures that make staff feel valued at the agency, which places graduates in sales jobs.
As a recent thank-you, the company organised a day out on a luxury motor cruiser in Dartmouth followed by a dinner and overnight stay. One team was rewarded with a four-day trip to Paris, and another with a break in Las Vegas, while the top salesperson each year gets a £5,000 holiday for two.
Even if people don't have a chance to get away, they can enjoy the Friday night drinks funded by the firm.
No wonder staff say their managers express appreciation of a job well done (89%) and that teams go out of their way to help one another (87%), the third and sixth highest scores in these areas respectively.
At Meta-morphose there is a sense that the values of good training, enthusiasm and recognition come from the top. Staff feel that their senior managers and direct managers truly live the company's values, with scores of 92% and 91% respectively — the best and second best rankings respectively across all 100 top SMEs.
People feel their jobs are secure (85%) and appreciate the opportunities for training. This includes support for suitable outside courses.
Holiday, which starts at 23 days, increases to 30 days after seven years of service. Most people do not feel under so much pressure that they cannot concentrate (83%) and one of the firm's values is: "Hard work (as long as you remember you have another life outside of work)." The company, based in Cheltenham and with another office in Newport, Wales, offers some members of staff car allowances as a core benefit, and supports the environment by raising money for charity with events such as fetes, online auctions and dress down days, while recycling paper and composting biodegradable waste.
Matthew Carr, a sales support employee, says: "I love coming to work and want to do well for the business, in the knowledge that I will be looked after. I can safely say I am one of the minority in this country who is truly content with [his] job."
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