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The Dots is all about keeping its employees happy — here's 2 approaches that its founder recommends 


With it becoming harder to retain top talent these days, companies are sitting up and taking notice when it comes to work environments and well-being.

Pip Jamieson, the founder of U.K.-based creative network The Dots, sees how vital the team can be to a business. "You can have a great idea, but execution is everything. (And) you can't execute at scale unless you have a bloody brilliant team," she said at The Telegraph's "Women Mean Business" event last week.

The Dots founder broke down two ways to keep tabs on employee well-being, while ensuring output remains stable.

Measuring objectives

Rather than using key performance indicators (KPIs), the network is all about a measurement called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). KPIs may be seen as a key foundation at major corporations, but as Jamieson has previously mentioned, for start-ups — which can operate differently — KPIs can be "a complete nightmare."

Pip Jamieson, founder of The Dots, at The Telegraph's "Women Means Business" Live event in London.
Courtesy of The Telegraph

"When you scale a business, you don't really know what's achievable," Jamieson said in London, explaining that with KPIs, these particular goals are meant to be achievable; yet when new ideas emerge, you may not know what's attainable — so targets may be set too high or low. By opting for OKRs, this framework helps The Dots identify and track objectives, while producing results.

"You're basically looking at a vision, but then you're putting measurable steps on how to achieve that vision, which are results that are measurable. If you get 6 out of 10, you're doing really well. If you get 4 out of 10, then you know that (targets) are too aspirational."

"It's a really good way to motivate the team, as they understand what they're working on, but it also allows for the fact that scale is tricky," she added.

Happiness and productivity

According to Jamieson, who set up the network for creative professionals in 2014, a positive environment can entice workers to stay for longer — even if the pay isn't as high as a competitor's offer.

"What I found is that happiness and productivity are completely correlated. So, if people are happy in your business, they work hard, they are driven."

Another step that The Dots incorporates to ensure that happiness levels remain high is based around a quarterly evaluation, which asks employees to complete an anonymous survey. During the panel event, Jamieson outlined the style of questions sent out:

  1. How happy are you to come to The Dots each day, out of 10?
  2. What do you love about working here?
  3. How can we improve the company's product?
  4. How can we improve the work environment, to elevate happiness?
  5. What would you do if you were the CEO?

"It's a bit like an exit interview — but the problem is when someone's already left the business, how are you going to fix what they did after they've left? So (the survey) gives me a real-world view of what's going on," she said. With the survey being anonymous, it allows workers to be completely honest; plus the survey allows fresh business ideas to materialize.

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The company is currently hitting an average happiness level of "8.2 out of 10," Jamieson revealed. While this is "awesome", it allows an opportunity to explore how to improve the environment for those who scored under the 8.2 figure.

"I can solve those problems and if it's someone who's a rockstar that I don't want to lose, I avoid losing them before they walk out the door," she adds, meaning that the company can work hard to improve the environment, before a competitor swoops in.

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