Sitback Solutions: pet-friendliness and work-life balance create winning culture

Sam McKeith

When it comes to workplace culture Sitback Solutions is definitely doing something right.

While many businesses struggle with talent acquisition and retention, the Sydney-based website and UX developer has managed to hold on to all of its 37 full-time staff since inception in 2006.

It’s not surprising then, that in today’s tight labour market (particularly in the digital agency space) Sitback Solutions recently took out the titles of Employer of Choice, City of Sydney-supported Excellence in Business and overall Regional Business of the Year at the 2016 Sydney Regional Business Awards.

Sitback Solution CEO Chris McHugh says the business’ positive office culture is all about crafting a “great place to work”.

For Sitback Solutions, he says the first step was working hard to find, and keep, the best workers in the field.

“We’ve employed really senior competent people and if you do that then you don’t need to manage them..."

“We’ve employed really senior competent people and if you do that then you don’t need to manage them, as much you just need to give them the right tools to deliver their best work,” he says.

“It’s about creating an environment where there’s the hardware, the software, the desk, the chair, and the flexibility of working hours [so people] can do their best work day to day.”

Honest and open communication is also key, McHugh says, pointing to weekly company-wide meetings. These catch-ups also open up space for “reward, recognition and celebration” of achievements across the company, with everybody, no matter their position, getting a chance to speak.

“It brings the whole company together as one group,” McHugh says. “It makes sure that along the way we’re not just throwing money at people but we’re recognising when good work is being delivered, which I think is a big motivator for people.”

Sitback Solutions CEO Chris McHugh

Sitback Solutions also stresses career planning, and offers those who stay with the business for more than three years an extra week of annual leave. It’s also easy on flexible working arrangements, so long as work targets are met.

McHugh says being flexible when it comes to work arrangements is an easy way to assist employees maintain work-life balance.

“It’s saying if they’ve got sick kids, or have to leave early or have a family commitment, then we generally try be as flexible as possible as long as the work is getting done at the end of the day,” he says.

“We pay market rates in terms of staff salaries but I think flexibility to people is worth more than money.”

McHugh says the company also keeps its core values – things like knowledge, nurturing and learning – at the forefront of operations, which helps reinforce positive culture in everything that goes on.

Sitback Solutions also stresses career planning, and offers those who stay with the business for more than three years an extra week of annual leave.

Sitback Solutions founder Paul Armstrong echoed this sentiment at the recent 2016 Sydney Regional Business Awards.

“By cultivating working conditions of joy, hard work and professionalism, including perks like having dogs at work, we can retain our employees and work with our clients long term.
 
“While being recognised externally is great for our branding and PR, it ultimately reinforces our key motivator of providing our clients with long-term care.”

Sam McKeith

Sam McKeith is Sydney-based media professional. He has contributed to many leading publications including The Huffington Post, The Australian Financial Review, The Australian and BRW Magazine. He was previously a senior reporter at the Australian Associated Press where he covered national affairs. 

Image: Sitback Solutions official Facebook page

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