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ISL Recruitment sees 41% increase in revenue since introducing 4.5-day week

ISL Recruitment has reported a 38% increase in interviews and 41% more revenue since it started a 4.5-day week incentive three months ago.

Colleagues at ISL Recruitment, which has its HQ in Bristol, started the conversation in earnest during a celebratory ‘Lunch Club’ meal and within a week decided to trial a stretch target for the following week to have Friday afternoons off from midday.

The target was roughly 150% off budget and while the team didn’t hit it in the first instance, they came very close and the behavioural change in the office was immediately apparent. 

Alan Furley, director of ISL, said, “It was a bit of a shock how successful the incentive was. I think it’s worked so well because it’s a clear short-term goal, which we can collaborate on achieving and was agreed across the office.

“It’s been set at the sweet spot between stretch and achievable, typically 150% of budget. People know they can do something better on Tuesday and see the reward three days later, rather than just in their pay check in three months.

“And, most importantly, the reward is theirs to choose. They can spend the time however they want.” 

Furley thinks the reason it was so successful is that it encourages behaviours that improve our chances of filling jobs – something ISL’s clients want too. In particular, the recruitment process that is a key part of the relationship is much more defined.

He added, “We were much clearer in agreeing expectations with clients and candidates on the prices, avoiding surprises. The incentive created urgency across the board, people presented alternative options and picked up the phone to discuss candidates rather than send emails in hope.

“I think this challenged clients on their appetite to hire and allowed us to perform the role of trusted advisor, which has always been where we work best.”

The ISL team, which consists of around 30 people, hit the target in the following two weeks and three more times in the last 10. 

Furley concluded, “When we’ve finished early everyone has some different reward. Some have gone to the pub. Some napped, cleaned, went for a walk, golfed or picked up kids from school. 

“The key is it’s whatever our people want to do, not what I’m guessing might motivate them. It sounds cheesy but we’re giving the gift of time!

“The atmosphere in the office seems much more positive. There is constant talk about what each other has going on, with greater appetite to help each other. It’s encouraged risk taking and innovation."

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