Case Study:

Why employee empowerment is key

Tuesday 19 January 2016
As part of it's 2016 quality of working life research, CMI spoke to Flamingo HR director Diane Foster to see how the consultancy is putting employee well-being and an inclusive work
group of business professionals stacking hands

Flamingo is a multiple award-winning global insight and strategy consultancy. It was founded in 1997 and now has around 300 employees spread over seven offices around the world.

The company is growing consistently both financially and in people terms.

The reason Flamingo keeps growing and winning awards is not only down to the work that they do – but also the caring and nurturing culture that they do it in.


From the very beginning, when founders Maggie Collier and Kirsty Fuller (now co-CEOs) started the company, Flamingo has been a non-political, non-prescriptive and collaborative company.

The power is not in one place; the culture is very inclusive.

As HR director Diane Foster says: “Our annual Expo event brings everyone together from all levels in the company to an overseas location to develop team spirit, share ideas and provide a common sense of purpose, community and inspiration.”

The culture and environment are also very flexible. There are many flexible working arrangements in place, and Flamingo won a Mumsnet Gold Award in 2014 after the company culture was rated by an external survey as 97% supportive of those with families.

As an example of how this policy operates in practice, one of the directors recently enjoyed seven months extended paternity leave. The result is a culture of empowerment where people enjoy the autonomy and ownership of work and are being given free rein to share ideas and use their creativity to its full potential.

“Our commitment has always been to empower talent and to keep our employees inspired, engaged and challenged,” says Foster. “This attitude has everything to do with ensuring employees are healthy and happy. One of our main strategies is to give employees a rich and rewarding work life, and we firmly believe that both personal and professional development are the way to do that.”

The focus is very much on sharing and connecting with colleagues around the world – and with the world itself.

“Culture is part of our DNA. I’m very proud of our company spirit, progressiveness and entrepreneurialism,” says Foster. She believes that Flamingo’s culture has a very positive impact on how its employees feel and behave – and how productive, happy and satisfied they are in their jobs.

It is seen as one of the most important factors contributing to employee health and wellbeing.

Find out more about CMI’s Quality of Working Life research here.