Here’s what they’re doing
Founder Emily Forbes drives business growth with help from the Plusnet Pioneers mentoring programme
Seenit, the London-based digital platform designed to seamlessly co-create video content for brands, is set to double its workforce by 2018.
Founded by Emily Forbes in 2014, the brand is on track to expand its team from 25 to 50 employees over the next year, following rapid growth and several rounds of funding by investors. Seenit currently works with some of the largest brands in the world, including BBC, BT Sport and Morrisons.
As with many start-ups, Seenit has experienced typical business challenges over the last three years, with motivating and retaining talent being the main cause for concern for founder Forbes. According to recent research by business phone and broadband provider, Plusnet, almost 21% of small business owners across the country share Forbes’ worries about retaining talent.
Forbes said: “While it’s fantastic to experience buoyant growth, there continues to be challenges as our team expands. With no formal HR processes in place and ambitious expansion plans, I felt it was time to refine our internal procedures before our team could become 50-strong.
“Talent is what shapes our business, and ensuring the team remains motivated and engaged started to worry me. It’s essential for me to keep my colleagues inspired and reassure them of future opportunities and their career progression, but it’s often easier said than done.”
As part of the Plusnet Pioneers campaign, a programme aimed at helping startups and small business owners realise their ambitions. Forbes was invited to attend a roundtable event exploring issues faced by startups. After identifying the difficulties associated with motivating her team and retaining talent, Forbes was inspired to take part in a series of mentoring sessions, provided by Plusnet, with Claire Morley-Jones, HR expert and owner of HR180.
Speaking of her experience as a mentor, Morley-Jones said: “As a new business owner, Forbes has been extremely focused on seeking finance and building the business.”
“With no immediate staffing concerns, Forbes was balancing most of her time towards her business priorities instead of her people – an easy habit to fall into for start-ups.”
“It’s the small things like review processes, internal team incentives and recognition programmes that are often overlooked, and these go a long way to ensuring staff deliver the very best performance. It’s important to get these right early so that culture and performance don’t suffer as a business experiences typical growth pains.”
As part of the mentoring sessions, Forbes was provided with invaluable tips, advice and encouragement to support her team and ultimately, fulfil her business objectives.
In addition, she was advised to implement additional practices to streamline the business’ HR strategy. But for mentor Morley-Jones, it’s also vital to consider the granular details.
“Without developing business values and a distinctive culture, it’s difficult for staff to feel a part of something special and unique. As a business owner struggling with a particular area like HR, it’s important to go back to basics and identify ways to make your team feel passionate and devoted to your company” says Morley-Jones.
Through the mentoring sessions, Forbes was provided with the tools to improve everyday tasks, from performance review templates and apprenticeship frameworks to reward systems and resource mapping. Morley-Jones helped Forbes to recognise the importance of fundamental HR processes.
Having a mentor hasn’t just enabled Forbes to implement a more considered HR strategy, the sessions helped to shift Forbes’ outlook on the entire business and gave her the confidence to achieve her ambition of doubling the team next year.
Forbes continued: “Having a personal coach has been an invaluable experience. It’s not only hugely benefitted the company and team, but on a personal level it’s helped me to be more self-assured in my decisions.
“Thanks to Plusnet, I’ve learnt how to face future challenges head-on following the mentoring sessions, and I’m now more ambitious than ever to achieve my business goals with the support of an inspired team.