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Expert HR advice for start-ups from an industry pro; Part three

Expert HR advice for start-ups from an industry pro; Part three

Expert HR advice for start-ups from an industry pro; Part three

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a good leader if you help other people in your team be good leaders.

“The nature of your job as managing director changes over time. Now, I very rarely do anything to do with the [HR services]. My focus now is on managing the team, coaching them on my experiences, and removing barriers.”

Be human - after all, nobody’s perfect

“You have to be good at delegating and compensating for those areas where you need help. Concentrate on your strengths and let go of the rubbishy bits that you feel like you need to take control of because your start-up is your baby.

“Be human – every time you make a mistake you learn a lesson. If you can admit that you have made a mistake, then other people in your team can more readily admit to making a mistake.

“This is far different from a blame culture, you’ll actually have people that join you in finding the answer so if you’re struggling with a question then go to your team.”

How to maintain your company culture, even as the business grows

Company values are essential: “Our first four values that I created when we first started weren’t too bad but we were only three people then. Every year, we’ve reviewed these values and asked the team; ‘Do these resonate with you?’ ‘Do you believe in this?’ Your company values should guide your business.

“Often, businesses think that company values are just words and don’t mean anything but it needs to be far more than that, it should be everything you stand for. If you say your business is honest and transparent then this should be evidenced on your site, your social media, your service.

“We deal with a client who has just two values and they don’t live them, they look like they’re being dishonest and it impacts company culture as it doesn’t reflect trust and transparency.”

The importance of no-blame culture

“You should enable your staff to have responsibilities and you should create a no-blame culture.

“It’s about knowing who you are – are you a Donald Trump or a Justin Trudeau? Do you micro-manage and blame others or do you see yourself as a facilitator, a communicator?

“One of our points is principles. By this I mean we face it, we fix it and then we move on. If something went wrong and I started screaming at staff, I wouldn’t be living the values that I and the business promote.”

How to create an employee benefits scheme that really works

“What are the employee benefits or approaches that are most likely to ensure your employees feel valued, trusted and rewarded? This is what you should consider.

“Employee benefits can’t be a gimmick; we see so many gimmicks like ‘smiley face tick boxes’ that don’t show a desire to value and reward employees.

“It should be about time spent together; not a plan, programme, or schedule. These things can be completely free and don’t have to cost an arm or a leg.

“You focus should be on communication, honesty, and valuing everyone. For example, I recently spent an entire weekend making felt hearts – ‘heart felt thanks’ - for each member of staff because I really did value the contributions and my time was worth it.

Morley-Jones' 'heart felt thanks'Morley-Jones' 'heart felt thanks'

“I’ve also written personal cards when someone’s achieved something or worked outside their comfort zone, and I’ve baked cakes.

“It’s about showing that because they care, I care. You should pay it forward.”

Ideas to incentivise and reward staff, even on a limited budget

“It doesn’t matter what you do or how much money you spend, it should all be about time spent together as a team. Here are my suggestions:

• Hold a huddle: We do this. The staff come in with their kids, we eat a lot of food – made by the staff – and have some great conversation.

• Set up a mini playroom

• Get a karaoke subscription and go do karaoke at someone’s home.

• Help a local charity. That’s important for us as we recently helped out and raised over £700 for Leeds Children’s Infirmary Heart Ward by baking lots of cakes and selling them to all of companies on our estate. For us, it’s integral that you balance profit and purpose and help the wider community.

• Group activity days. We have done afternoon tea and other activities – you can find cheap and easy activities if you know where to look.

• Most importantly, it’s about the messaging you’re giving out. I would always refer to HR180 as ‘our business’ not ‘my’ and I would never say that I have staff that work for me, instead they work with me.”

Want more HR advice like this? Claire Morley-Jones will be speaking at our exclusive Talent Masterclass on Wednesday 15 March 2017 at the Victoria Warehouse Hotel in Manchester. Get your free ticket here, places are limited.

Plusnet is on a mission to help small businesses and budding entrepreneurs grow and has teamed up with to create Plusnet Pioneers, an exciting programme of content, events and mentoring. Article written by and first published on .