Brighton and Hove Albion are back in English football’s big time, Premier League soccer awaits the Seagulls next season.
It’s a remarkable phoenix-from-the-ashes success story. Just 20 years ago the club almost dropped out of professional football, now they stand ready to take their place among the elite.
Their promotion from the Championship is testament to a club ethos that goes way beyond events on the field of play – and one from which we might all learn.
There’s an old adage that states ‘when you change nothing, nothing changes’ – it’s an adage that club chairman Tony Bloom and chief executive Paul Barber may well subscribe to.
After a number of years of underperformance, the pair set about devising ‘TEAM Brighton Values’ – organisational changes that would revolutionise the fortunes of the south coast club and bring them back to the big time.
In this context TEAM represents – ‘treat people well’, ‘exceed expectations’, ‘aim high’ and ‘make it special’.
A central tenet of the TEAM philosophy has been an all-employee bonus scheme that will see everyone of the club’s 1000 plus staff – from matchday stewards to directors – receive a promotion bonus equivalent to 10% of their salary in next month’s pay packet.
The 200 full-time staff could receive a further 10% based on performance in June.
“If you want a high performance environment you can’t just focus on the athletes,” says Barber.
“When we had our poor season, two and a half seasons ago . . . we realised that we needed to galvanize the whole staff. The bonus system was a big part of that.”
Where collective endeavours, a sole aim and teamwork are a must, this is an ideal type of incentivisation.
But the bonus scheme is just one facet of the wider TEAM Brighton motivational strategy, which further creates the collective ethos by providing free food for staff and offering staff wellbeing initiatives such as meditation classes and schemes to increase staff physical activity levels.
It’s an ethos of equality designed to see everyone pull together.
‘Me’ is replaced with ‘we’ in an all encompassing, top down and bottom up, motivational strategy, that works to drive high performance right across the club.
Each and every organisation and business will face its own unique challenge and what has underpinned Brighton’s success may not work for all.
However, by galvanising staff around one core aim, creating an ethos of equality and reinforcing a clearly defined value system through effective communication and reward – not just for one but for all – results will flourish.