Employee-owned Lincolnshire business receives national recognition for cutting-edge staff engagement 

L-R: Matt Rayner, Julie Priestley, James Hopkins

Navenby based DBS Internet Marketing fought off competition from more than 100 UK-wide applicants to take the coveted Employer of the Year prize at FSB’s national awards final in London. The award recognises the firm’s innovative efforts to recruit, motivate and retain staff.

Founded by director David Clarke more than 20 years ago, the business took on Employee Owned Trust (EOT) status in 2017. The move echoes that of Richer Sounds founder Julian Richer who has announced plans to create an EOT for 60% of his shares, putting staff in line for £3.5 million.

DBS Internet Marketing credits the EOT structure with improving the recruitment, retention and motivation of staff and reducing absences. The firm has employee engagement at its core, integrating a thorough 360 degree appraisal system which allows staff to review the performance of themselves, their peers and managers.

Leadership of the business has been handed over to Julie Priestley, who joined DBS 18 years ago as an office manager.

Headed by Baroness Bowles of Berkhamstead, last year’s Ownership Effect Inquiry shows employee-owned businesses (EOBs) outperforming non-EOBs across a range of metrics including sales, headcount growth and strength of operational oversight.

DBS Internet Marketing Director Julie Priestley said: “Even before we set-up an EOT we were investing heavily in our people. Having a happy and healthy team here at DBS Internet Marketing has always been a top priority.

“We are immensely proud to be employee-owned. It made perfect sense to reward the people who have made the business a success over the past 23 years. Everyone has a real stake in the business, so everyone wants to go the extra mile.

“It is fantastic to have our employee engagement efforts recognised by FSB.”

Les Phillimore FSB’s Chair for the East Midlands region said: “DBS Internet Marketing is at the cutting edge of employee engagement, retention and development. This business is a fantastic example of a commercial operation that is both ethical and highly successful.

“My huge congratulations go to DBS Internet Marketing for winning this thoroughly-deserved award. I have no doubt that they will continue to go from strength to strength in future.”

The Awards event was held at Battersea Evolution and the DBS Internet Marketing team was represented on the night by Julie Priestley, James Hopkins and Matt Rayner with David Thorpe of FSB Lincolnshire in attendance.