+Scott Watson

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Is Richard Reed Innocent? Absolutely!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Richard Reed, co-founder of the Innocent smoothie brand.  The invitation to participate in this event was extended by Prof. John Thompson, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Huddersfield.

It was a refreshing change to listen to an authentic talk which covered the bumps and bruises of developing and running a business rather than the 'Look at me, I've made it' approach so often employed by the self-appointed motivational speakers and gurus.  My view is that most of that crowd are more 'irritational' than motivational, but that's a discussion for another time.

Now, here's the fabulous news for human resources professionals.  Mr Reed is certainly not a HR expert and he wouldn't claim to be, but he has some very clear boundaries and beliefs about how engaging employees (all, not just some) can add significant value to an organisation.  I've detailed the key points from his thought-provoking presentation below.

95% of Innocent employees stated in an anonymous staff survey that they were 'proud' to work at Innocent.

Innocent's purpose is to 'Help people live healthy and die old' and everything they do is centred around this one commitment.

The recruitment policy at Innocent doesn't focus on getting bums on seats to fill vacancies, it focuses on 'spotting, attracting and retaining' individuals who can be passionate about the brand promise' which is to make things a little bit better and a little bit easier for everyone.

The success of Innocent is directly attributed to their commitment to getting the right people for their organisation.  The 'default heart setting' for an employee should be 'YES', I can help, 'YES' I will do all I can to make things a little bit better for everyone.

There will occasionally be someone in your team who doesn't play by the values of the organisation and having these people in your team is toxic.  Mr Reed stated 'Some will piss in the well rather than help draw the water from it' and these people need to be made aware they're not right for your organisation and your organisation is not right for them.

In a world where so many business leaders continue to claim that 'Our people are our most important asset' but fail to translate this old cliche in to an organisational reality (at least from the employees' point of view), it is quite simply inspiring to learn from from this gentleman that even without being a HR professional, clarity of purpose, straightforward recruitment based on authentic values and high levels of employee engagement can build a wonderfully successful brand and profitable organisation.

Wouldn't we all benefit if there were more business leaders who didn't just make the right noises about ethics, integrity and doing the right thing, but actually just made living such values a daily reality within their organisation?

By the way, a BIG THANK YOU to Richard Reed for his kind offer to contribute to the Job Hunting Bootcamp taking place in November.  Your contribution will certainly make things a little bit better for everyone involved in this community centred programme.

No comments:

Post a Comment