May 11, 2023

The Sole Suppliers’ 9-point plan for engaging a young workforce

George Sullivan, CEO of The Sole Supplier, shares his approach to hybrid work and creating a great culture.

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The Sole Suppliers’ 9-point plan for engaging a young workforce

For George Sullivan, CEO and founder of UK and European sneaker release news outlet The Sole Supplier, empowering his team is everything – he believes that by trusting your staff and being flexible, you get so much more back from them. This mantra is one Sullivan has maintained with his approach to ways of working.

“We don’t want to dictate to our staff when they should come into the office, so we let everyone choose which two office days they want to come in for,” he says. 

“The same as other companies, this does mean that desks and meeting rooms are often at capacity on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but we have recently addressed this by encouraging people into the office with more events on Wednesdays.”

After the height of the pandemic, Sullivan decided to introduce cultural changes into the business that created flexibility and freedom for his team. Here, he shares the checklist of initiatives he implemented that tick those boxes:

  1. Increasing our annual leave offer to 36 days including bank holidays, giving people more home time and more opportunities to take a break from work. 
  2. The introduction of two duvet days per year for days for when staff can’t get out of bed. They don’t need to give a reason – they just message on the day.
  3. Bringing in TOIL (time off in lieu) for overtime has meant that staff can log their overtime and take the time back as annual leave. This has increased work-life balance as well as addressing stress levels and burnout. 
  4. Flexible start times – not everyone is a morning person, but if you are you can start early/leave early and vice versa. 
  5. Our remote working policy enables staff to work overseas or away from their usual base for up to four weeks in each calendar year.
  6. Providing breakfast supplies and snacks in the office means that we are saving the staff a little bit of money when they do make that extra effort to come into the office.
  7. On our new joiners’ first day, we take the whole team for lunch. This encourages people to come into the office that day so that new staff get the chance to meet as many of the team as possible face-to-face.
  8. We have a very active social calendar with regular team activities both during work hours and after work. This means that people who have commitments outside of work are able to join us. As the team has grown, we have tried to focus our effort on more wholesome activities without such a heavy focus on booze, such as the Crystal Maze Experience, Otherworld VR, and sound baths.
  9. We have increased our family leave entitlement to support our staff through all stages of their life.

“We are constantly looking at ways of making The Sole Supplier the best place to work and retain staff,” adds Sullivan.


This interview was conducted as part of the 'ways of working' interviews with Techspace members exclusively for The Scaleup Culture Report 2023.

Get your copy of the report by Techspace here >

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