An organisational culture that supports operations is very important to the success of an organisation. Often it is companies with influential founders that most obviously have such cultures – J.W. Marriott at Marriott International and Anita Roddick at Body Shop spring to mind. But it is not often that a financial services company has a strong power culture, as they are often thought of as being bureaucratic with role cultures. This appears not to be the case with Admiral, the insurance company.
According to a BBC report, Admiral has a “Ministry of Fun”, a team dedicated to organising weekly social activities for staff, such as come to work in fancy dress days, nights out, or computer game tournaments in lunch breaks. This is because their Founder and CEO, Henry Engelhardt believes that “if people like what they do, they will do it better”. One outcome of this approach is that Admiral has always appeared in the ‘100 Best UK Companies To Work For’ reports by the Sunday Times newspaper. Other aspects of the culture are that all staff are offered shares in the company, and Engelhardt meets every new employee personally.
Having a strong culture, with dedicated and committed staff, meant that Admiral’s decision to set up its own call centre and sell directly to the public was on a firm footing. The company now employs 5,000 staff and is worth £4 billion.