by Carl Widger


I have been more than a little bemused with all the talk lately of the “great resignation.” The media are loving the fact that (due to inflation), the entire workforce in Ireland is intent on moving from the existing working environment to a new role with higher pay.


While all businesses must ensure that they are paying their employees competitively, I think the “great resignation” based on pay grades alone is recipe for disaster. At its most basic level, I would beg the question as to why you would work somewhere (for any money) that you do not enjoy going into work every morning?


I will openly admit that when I first set up as a business owner, I was so focused on growing the business to a sustainable level that I forgot about how my team were feeling. Unfortunately, as a result, some great people left for greener pastures. Those who left were offered more money in their new roles but trying to retain them was futile. The missing ingredient at that stage was that I had not created a great culture at work and, in all honesty, it probably was not the most vibrant place in the world to work.


Mea culpa. You live, you learn, you adapt, and you get better.


Over the last few years, I have been very focused on creating a great environment at Metis Ireland. If we take competitive salaries as a given, the most important thing for me as managing director of the business is to make Metis Ireland a great place to work. If all businesses (especially SMEs), focused on this, it will help in team retention and make the job of the poachers more difficult. Of course, it has the added benefit of attracting great talent to our team too.


We have introduced the following fifteen measures at Metis Ireland to try to encourage an environment where high performers can do their thing and enjoy their work while they are at it. I would encourage all leaders to consider adopting at least some of these measures.


  1. Birthday Half Day
    We give everyone a half-day on the Friday before or the Friday after their birthday. Everybody avails of this!


  2. Loyalty Service Leave
    After 5 years’ service, in that particular year you get an extra week’s holidays, and every 5 years thereafter you get an extra two week’s holidays. We have two team members availing of this benefit this year with more to follow in the coming few years.


  3. Breakfast with Carl
    An idea from my friend Alan Smith, I have recently started doing this breakfast event with the team once every few months. There is no agenda other than I fill the team in on what I have been doing, what I will be doing and an open forum for questions around strategy and future plans (and I bring the pastries!).


  4. Pension Contributions
    Many SMEs have no pension scheme set up for their employees. We have recently increased our company pension contributions (which must be matched by our employees).


  5. Life Cover and Permanent Health Insurance
    We have a group life cover policy along with a permanent health insurance policy for all our team. This protects everyone, and their families, in the event of death or sickness.


  6. Maternity Benefit
    I am embarrassed to say that until late last year we did not pay any maternity benefit. We fixed this problem recently. As the age profile of our team is relatively young, this is a benefit that is currently being availed of and I have no doubt will be used in the future too.


  7. Paternity Benefit
    Not to forget about the Dads too! We have introduced paid paternity leave.


  8. Flexi Time
    We have just introduced flexi-time. For our office-based employees, they can arrive at work between 8am and 10am and then leave between 4pm and 6pm. I know this has been greatly received by all in the team as it has drastically cut down commute times for some of the team.


  9. Working from home
    I have changed my mind on this one lots of times. We have settled on allowing office-based employees to nominate one day a week to work from home. We only allow this after a minimum service period as we believe in the early days of your career with Metis Ireland, you need to be in the office all the time to learn as you go.


  10. Membership & Exam Fees
    We pay for our employees’ professional membership fees and professional exam fees. In Our Contract With You, we promise that our team will be highly-qualified and energetic. This helps us to deliver on that promise and support our team to reach their maximum potential.


  11. Pods
    We have broken the business into four pods of 3 or 4 people. These pods have KPIs that are very clear in terms of servicing existing clients and business development. This gives a collective responsibility and has given great energy to our business.


  12. Financial Information
    We have recently shared Metis Ireland’s highlight financial information with all the team. We showed the team where we have come from and where we want to go. This was exceptionally well received by the team and the overriding feedback was that it was good to see the whole picture and get an understanding of how much it costs to run a business like ours and where we want to get to in the future.


  13. Cinco Consultants
    We have engaged with Cinco consultants, and this has been a revelation! We did lots of brainstorming how to make Metis Ireland a great place to work. This is essential for all leaders as it helps shape the employee benefit programmes you might introduce. We also worked on personality traits of everyone in the business. This helps us in how we interact with each other.


  14. Social Events
    We have always excelled at these! We have climbed mountains together and gone kayaking together. We have done escape rooms, golf and spa events. Now that everything has opened back up, we look forward to getting our social diary back on track. I have a goal to do a BBQ at my house in the summer for the team … maybe preceded by a mountain hike!


  15. Employee Assistance Programme
    Protecting and managing your mental health is a priority, at Metis Ireland we provide assistance by providing access to a completely confidential counselling service through an independent service, and time to attend appointments.


We have done lots but there are still loads of things we can do. All these benefits demonstrate my commitment to the team of professionals that work together under the banner of Metis Ireland. I am proud to call them teammates. Along with our loyal clients, the Metis Ireland team are my priority.


If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.


Carl Widger
Managing Director



Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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