When you look at all the tech giants of the world, you can’t help but admire the way they run their businesses. Scaling a business is not an easy task.
Where do you start? What works? How do you attract the right talent and more importantly, how do you retain the right talent?
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert but what I do know is that I have spent two years with Invotra and it’s more than just a job to me. I don’t break out in a cold sweat on a Sunday night dreading the week ahead like many other people do every week.
For this and for many other reasons, I know I am very lucky to be in the position I am in, so, I am going to share my insight into why I think they are getting things right and how you, the reader, can emulate this.
Firstly, I will take you back to my interview back in 2017. I had found a job advertised for an Executive Assistant online and after I read the job specification, I concluded that I could do this job and I could do this job well.
After being in the public sector so long, I was sceptical about stepping back into the corporate world, it’s a big change and I am not ashamed to say, I had rent to pay.
After 3 hours of interviewing, I had a call from Allie, the Chief People Officer and our C3PO :). She told me how well I did, how I scored 100% on all of the tests (I am a perfectionist so I was sure I had this in the bag) then she said “we’ve decided to give the job to someone else”. I was gobsmacked.
“We think that you will get bored with that job” (I’ve been doing that job my whole professional life) “and we would like you to come back in to have a chat with us”.
Sure enough, 4 hours later, I had been given the job title of Business Coordinator, with the understanding that I would come in to ‘find my place’.
Now, I know what you are thinking… what does this have to do with building a successful business that retains the right talent? But bear with me, the devil is in the detail as they say.
So, here I was, in a new company, not really knowing my place or what was expected of me but it was exciting as this was the first opportunity I have ever had to shake off my ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ label.
The trust that was put into me was so reaffirming, and because they had put so much faith into me finding my place in the business and doing well, that’s exactly what I did.
When they asked me to take on the social media, I did and our online following began to grow. When they asked me to help redesign our Drupal-based website, I did and I took control of the releasing, meticulously deciding what features took priority. Anything they asked me to do, I did with 110% effort, not because I felt I had to but because I wanted to… there’s a real difference.
So, the moral of that story? Believe in your staff and they will repay you tenfold and be happy in doing so. This is just my story but I know that everyone here has a similar one.
Now for all the other bits that have resulted in us having a 95% retention rate over 5 years.
In order for your business to grow, you need to know that you can trust the staff who are running it and for a few small changes, you can culturally change the way your staff see their jobs.
So every Monday morning, we have a big delivery of fresh fruit to the office. Not much you think? Wrong! The whole bowl is gone by the end of the week and ensuring that your staff are well nourished is a wonderful thing.
We also have a grocery delivery full of breakfast items… why? Well, who works well when they are hungry? No one wants to sit next to the ‘hangry’ person on a Monday morning. But, it’s not just about that. Invotra doesn’t
These small changes can really impact the way people work.
Don’t get me wrong, we all still have bad days but knowing that you won’t miss breakfast if you’re running late certainly helps with the ambience of the office.
Then we have our table tennis table, it resides proudly in the middle of the office, meaning that it encourages staff to get up and have a game, alleviating some of the musculoskeletal problems that office staff might face later on in life. We also hold tournaments every few months and the winner is bestowed with the prestigious title of ‘Best Player in Invotra’.
Then we move on to the really good stuff (previous items mentioned are still awesome, some places have to buy their own milk and everyone loves a perk of the job)…the Christmas parties and jollies.
Fin, Allie, Jonnie, Paul and Sinead (the Invotra Board) all know that we work hard and rightly so, we are paid to do our jobs. But, what really makes us appreciate them as our Board is their understanding that we are all people and every once in a while we all need to let our hair down and get to know each other on a personal level, in order to better grow our professional relationships. This is where Allie (C3PO) will organise a jolly or, like last Christmas, a trip to Cannes.
No, you did read right, for our last Christmas party, they flew us all to Cannes for a day and night! Now, if that doesn’t show appreciation for your staff then I don’t know what does.
So, the key to a successful business has and always will be the staff that run it and if your staff are unhappy then it upsets the dynamics of the whole business so treating your staff right is paramount to scaling your business.
Understand that they are people, and people have good and bad days but as long as you do everything you can to make them highly productive on their good days, then on those bad days, it won’t seem like a lot of productivity is lost.
You don’t even need to take my word for it, just look at Google and how it runs its empire. It’s not just a great product that propels a business into that kind of notoriety, it’s the people behind it and for a company that was only launched 21 years ago, they must be doing something right!