Face to Face Finance, a financial advisory firm based in Norwich, has been awarded for its approach to employee engagement and development.

The company won the Outstanding Employer award, sponsored by Jarrold Training, at the Broadland and South Norfolk Business Awards 2022 – held at Norwich City Football Club on Wednesday, March 23. “We do a lot of work on wellbeing and making sure we have a really happy team environment,” said managing director Julie Hunt. “To be acknowledged for that just means the world.”

Julie founded Face to Face Finance in 2003 and has since overseen its growth from three people to a team of 16. “We started 19 years ago, and even back then we always tried to do team-building activities, go for a drink after work on a Friday, celebrate birthdays and things like that,” said Julie. “As you grow as a team, it’s harder to keep that family feel, but I think we’ve done it really well.

“We support each other, we celebrate each other's successes and it’s very much an open door,” she added. “Everyone knows what's happening in the company and that they can come and talk to me or Sophie (operations director) whenever they like.”

The firm also offers flexible hours so employees can work around things like childcare – which was especially important during lockdown. In 2019, it went a step further and introduced a four-day week. “We researched how many client calls we got on a Friday – and we found the level of calls lowered significantly,” said Julie. “There's very little in our industry that can’t wait until Monday.”

A handful of staff work each Friday on a rota basis – while one employee prefers to work every Friday with shorter days for the remainder of the week. “We try to keep it as flexible as possible for everybody,” Julie explained.

The approach has also found favour with clients. “They have been really supportive of the way we work,” she added. “Happy staff always equals happy clients.”

Some clients are even happy to follow the company’s lead in wearing slippers to the office. “It makes us a little bit quirky,” Julie concluded. “Finance doesn't always shout fun, but we think everyone should feel comfortable talking about money.”

For more information, visit www.ftof-finance.co.uk