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Home Blog Employee engagement Harris + Hoole’s Festival of Happiness

Harris + Hoole’s Festival of Happiness


Harris + Hoole are one of our valued clients; they are small but rapidly growing chain of coffee shops and the brainchild of three siblings - Nick, Andrew and Laura Tolley. Their vision is to bring great tasting speciality coffee to the high street, which we believe they do – with bells on.

During the summer Harris + Hoole celebrated their first birthday with a 'Festival of Happiness' for their 'Hooligans'. Around 300 employees and their families, plus a few extra lucky people (like us) gathered at the railway arches in Hackney, East London. H+H people are all pretty cool and trendy people, so there was a great array of clothing and everyone wore a hat, which showed how individual and creative they are. Brilliant.

There was a free BBQ and free beer - being served by the Leadership Team - with balloons and stalls and even a cake competition reminiscent of the WI. Earlier that day they held the final of the 'Hoolympics' (Coffee Olympics to you and I) which consisted of a series of challenges for their competitive baristas, such as identifying different coffees by taste and smell, and latte art. There were a series of awards handed out too – to the shop with the best customer feedback and the best community shop – working with the community to hold things such as coffee mornings and mum and baby groups. Despite the large number of people there, it really felt like a family event with everyone having so much fun and such a carefree atmosphere. It was hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere.

Soon it was time for the CEO, Nick Tolley, to make a small speech and thank his Hooligans for their contributions. It was an amazing moment, with everyone whooping and cheering and calling his name, it reminded us of the way Steve Jobs or Steve Ballmer were received whenever they spoke publicly. Quite something.

So why are we blogging about it? Quite simply it was one of the best examples of real employee engagement we've ever seen. Nick talked about how he was proud that all his people took the time to know their customers names, find out about their children and what they're getting up to. That the shops have a really friendly, independent feel and truly become part of the communities they are in. Not to mention the sheer passion for coffee in the room – we're actually surprised they were drinking beers instead. Nick also appeared to know everyone, and so did the other leadership teams. Even with hundreds of staff, the leaders were taking an interest.

You might be wondering how they got to such a point. It's clearly a combination of things – some we have been involved in include strengths based interviewing to make sure every joiner is a natural, and fabulous facilitation to ensure when people learn anything, they're being trained in an engaging, impactful way.

The pride everyone felt in being part of the Harris + Hoole community was contagious and we too are very proud to work with a company that values its employee development so highly. Thanks so much for inviting us guys, we can't wait to be invited to the next one. If you'd like to know how we can help you to get your employees engaged and fulfilled as those at Harris + Hoole, get in touch to find out more.

Employee engagement


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