Charley Maher, Managing Director of Pelican Business Services

Charley Maher, Managing Director of Pelican Business Service

"the single most important aspect of employee engagement is making people feel good about themselves. We aspire to achieve that across our whole business."    Charley Maher, Pelican Business Services

"the single most important aspect of employee engagement is making people feel good about themselves. We aspire to achieve that across our whole business."

Charley Maher, Pelican Business Services

At Moon Consulting, we know that to build a strong employer brand, your workforce must be highly engaged, with this in mind we spoke to Charley Maher to find out how Pelican Business Services keep their employees engaged.

 Since establishing themselves as customer service champions, Pelican Business Services has gone from strength to strength developing their employer brand and culture, securing several award wins along the way. 

These accolades, including Inspiring L&D Team of the Year, Inspiring Leader of the Year and Overall Winner - Employee Engagement, do a great deal to reflect the inspirational culture that is generated by the Pelican workforce.

Why is employee engagement important to Pelican?

Charley said "it's all about making sure everyone looks forward to coming to work and is passionate about being the best possible version of themselves. The resulting benefit is that as a business we are far more likely to achieve our goals, targets and objectives and deliver for our customers. We want to stand out from the crowd as being one of the best places to work, and as a result if we have high levels of employee engagement we will attract and retain the best possible talent."

In your opinion, what is the single most important aspect of employee engagement?

"To coin a phrase from Ken Blanchard; "People who feel good about themselves produce the best results". Therefore, the single most important aspect is making people feel good about themselves. We aspire to achieve that across our whole business."

How do you monitor employee engagement?

"For me to have consistency, we have a minimum benchmark of 80% employee engagement which is monitored through our annual team member survey. I also like to take a temperature check half way through the year and run what I call a mid-year pulse survey. Each of our managers and team leaders across the business have received training in employee engagement and how to develop, motivate and inspire their team members. Through regular team huddles and 121's, they keep a close eye on employee engagement within their teams."

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How does your office environment encourage employee engagement?

"In 2016, we rebranded from BWBSL to Pelican Business Services which was a brand that was created by our people. From our brand colours to our company values, everything has been shaped and designed by our team members. When you walk around our building, it's a bright, fun, inspiring environment to work in. We have a number of ways to encourage the voice of our people, continuous improvement from our 'People's Council' to our 'Health and Well-being Charter' all help with this."

Culture is a significant factor when you are hiring, how do you assess whether a candidate would be the right fit?

"We have a common set of values that define what we stand for. These are expert, trusted, engaging and helpful and these play a crucial part in all recruitment activities. Whilst expertise and knowledge is very important when recruiting, culture fit is a very significant factor. We encourage candidates who want to work for us to explore our website and you only have to spend a couple of minutes there to get a feeling of our strong culture. In fact, every candidate I have interviewed in the last couple of months has said that looking at our website made them want to join our team here at Pelican even more."

What is your on boarding process?

"Our on boarding process in unique. Every new team member at Pelican receives a state of the art on boarding experience provided by our award winning L&D team. Every new team member will receive some engaging surprises from their personalised welcome card from me to their goody bag and branded desk set up on day one."

"All new team members are assigned a buddy from our buddy system to make sure they receive any support they need in their first six months. They will also attend our corporate induction programme followed by a number of bespoke development initiates, which all lead to a really engaging celebration on the completion of their probation." 

You have an award-winning L&D Team, how important is learning & development at Pelican?

"We want everyone to become the best possible version of themselves and in order to do so, we provide them with a range of learning interventions to suit their individual needs. The L&D team have created a range of unique offerings including a coaching framework, a mentoring programme, a bespoke learning portal, a suite of classroom courses and many other leaning initiatives for our team members. All of these initiatives are core to our team members having the right skills and knowledge to provide an outstanding service to our customers." 

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 How do you reward employees for outstanding work?

"We have a range of formal and informal reward and recognition schemes. These includes star of the month, value awards and length of service awards. We also have our summer and Christmas parties to reward every team member for all their hard work and commitment over the previous 6 months. I task all of my managers and team leaders to look for opportunities to 'catch someone doing something right' and to keep me informed of all the great things our people are doing. I share regular 'shout outs' in my weekly blog to the business."

We really enjoyed reading your blog 'catching people doing something right', what is your most memorable example of this?

"I am proud of every example I see or am told about so it's very hard for me to single one out however, for me the most memorable example is the support our team provide the local community. I am overwhelmed by the dedication and commitment that our team members show to support local charities and communities especially in their time of need. In 2016, we a raised a total over £4500 supporting over 14 different charities and supported our local foodbank with regular food drive campaigns."

You have a dedicated Health & Wellbeing Committee; can you tell us a bit more about their role within the business?

"Our committee was set up to ensure our people had the knowledge, opportunity and support needed to make a positive lifestyle choice. The aim of our health and well-being Charter is to benefit our team, our customers and our stakeholders by enhancing productivity and engagement and reducing sickness absence and attrition. We want to ensure that our business recognises and fulfils the well-being requirements of all of our people and to embed a culture in which they can support each other to be happy, healthy and achieve their well-being goals by SMILING (Sharing knowledge, motivating, inspiring, listening, informing, not lecturing and great team work)."

 Philanthropy is at the heart of the business; how does CSR & charity work can help increase employee engagement?

"We have a strong CSR culture within our business and a policy that underpins our objectives and sets out some very clear goals. Every team member is given one day's annual leave to support the local community or a charity of their choice. Every team decides how they would like to support their community and organises an event to have a fun day supporting their community. This helps us increase employee engagement as teams of people work together and give something back to their local community."

You support many charities each year, how do you decide who to support?

"We have a People's Council made up of people from all over the business and at the beginning of each year, they bring a list of nominations from their teams. As a group, they vote for their favourite four and support each for three months of the year. In addition to this, we also hold adhoc charity focus days for national charities or those that may have supported a team member or their family."

Out of all the awards you won last year, which one meant the most to the business & why?

"During the UK Employee Experience awards 2016, to receive the overall winner for employee engagement meant that the hard work that everyone across the business has put in was recognised. I still remember going back to the office with the trophy and visiting every team on every floor to personally congratulate and thank them, and it was clear to me that the strong people and customer centric culture we have was felt right across our business."


Charley's comments strike a chord at Moon Consulting. Our Head of Search, Simon Quinn concurs "it's becoming more common at Moon Consulting to interview against company values and ask for specific real-life examples of situations candidates have faced against those values."

"Our own company values of, 'being Distinctive Ethical, and Approachable in all our undertakings' underpins our whole business.  In our role as head hunters, we really like to get to know the Client culture and environment. To help provide an insight into cultural fit, we also use behaviour led questioning to really understand attitude and motivation, as this is as important as considering the role requirements and skills needed."

Of Pelican, Simon said "It has been a pleasure to work with specific search campaigns with Pelican.  We love their openness, positive attitude and great Corporate Social Responsibility Charter which echoes our own at Moon. In fact, both Moon and Pelican have supported each other at a number of local charity events."


© Moon Consulting 2017