Perkbox co-founder Chieu Cao urges SMEs to put employees first
What inspired you to start Perkbox?I had just taken a voluntary redundancy package from Microsoft, so I used that as an incentive to start my own business. At the time, Groupon was popular, so Saurav Chopra the other co-founder and I came together, and we thought we should make a Groupon for businesses. So that’s how Huddlebuy started as a daily deals site for SMEs. We have always been focused on helping businesses. Which is why we then pivoted and realised that the biggest asset to a business is its employees. So, we wanted to help them out, so that’s where we are now with Perkbox. We are one of the fastest growing employee engagement businesses in the country, earning tens of millions in revenue a year, with over 200 employees. We could have been happy with that, but I thought we could do more, I felt that we could really push forward with workplace wellbeing and happiness side of the business. Otherwise, we are just pushing perks, anyone can do that. Im not just here to make money. Of course, you need to keep the lights on but life is about purpose and meaning, and that purpose is so valuable.
Why is that so important to you?The way I look at life is life is too short. I need a meaning or purpose in my life if not Im wasting my time Id rather do something else. You also want to attract people with similar views. Perkbox is a very distinct place to work at, if you are here just for the money and don’t want to get involved with purpose and meaning then you won’t feel comfortable.
“We thought we should make a Groupon for businesses”it’s a culture we have built around it. I have past experiences where I have worked at big companies, good places to work but it felt shallow. For millennials, which is 95 per cent of our staff, it’s not just a paycheck, its paycheck which matches your view of the world. If you get a good selection of people who see the same thing then ultimately you get that mission. Perkbox culture isnt a culture everyone should have its what works for us.
What makes Perkbox a unique platform?Obviously, we are not the only employee benefits provider, let’s not kid ourselves. But we don’t just tackle enterprise corporate vendors lets go for the opposite. Let’s go for a prop that talks about a consumer-facing brand. We are selling happens we are selling happy when they think about Perkbox they should think about fun. Let’s go straight to the employee, connect the brand to the employee not just to the HR and to the admin or business owner. And make that brand prominent and deliver on the promises and have amazing perks, 6 cinema products yeah, Ill take one.
What can employers do to put their people first?Recognise the value of the people first and realise that individuals need to be treated differently. Self-recognition is very important. That’s step one. Step two is to create communication channels that work, leaning on HR, getting HR more prominent position in the organisation and creating a culture where HR has more of an influence and can help bridge that communications. The third is action have HR tell you what the problems are. __________________________________________________________________________________
He launched 90 Subway restaurants, but now it’s cold brew coffee for this entrepreneur Despite being one of the first people to bring sandwich chain Subway to the UK, Josh Thompson was in need of a new challenge so set up his own cold brew coffee brand. __________________________________________________________________________________ Our people director at Perkbox acted like a mirror for our management, he showed me this is what you look like and act like to the rest of the company and this is how you are being interpreted is that what you want? Just by doing that forced me to reconsider and think about what Ive said and from there I have learned to improve and be a better manager.