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We held our first Masterclass of 2018 at Carrwood Park yesterday 11th Jan. It was a panel event  with 3 of our Entrepreneurs in Residence John Hall, former CEO of Ring Automotive and Volvox Group, Rachel Hannan co-founder of Gatenby Sanderson and multiple investor and Simon Mackaness founder and Chairman of Rudding Park discussing how to maximise employee’s talents

The Key Messages were


All important. It’s easier when you start a company to imbue a culture; you must set out the values you are trying to create. It’s the DNA of the business. The keys could be attitude, innovation, excellence.

Simon Mackaness has 300 employees spread across various parts of the “one unit tourism business” but they all meet at least weekly and imbue the sense of service throughout the organisation.

Although the Millenials are more inclined to work for social enterprises, not for profits and charities it was quite possible to inspire them to work for a normal company if you have the right culture.

John Hall used psychometric testing before employing anyone to try to ensure they fitted in with the culture.

Non-cash benefits

These can be immensely beneficial and much appreciated, examples are a day off on a birthday, as flexible working hours as possible without impacting on the business, say 5 paid days working for a charity.

Share Options

Not much use unless you have a build and sell strategy; with a few exceptions share options only become worth anything on a sale.

Performance Related Pay

Recognising good performance is vital and tying bonuses to performance is the best way to do this. Rachel’s recruitment business had 3 criterion; 1. Fees delivered 2. Customer feedback and 3. Feedback from colleagues. Overall they must hit certain trigger points.


Giving employees the training and tools to do the job is important. A well trained employee is better able to find another job but that is a risk you must take. It shows you are willing to invest in your staff.


Generally good helping everyone to talk to each other


Rachel said each person had a “buddie” who they met quarterly and kept an eye on them. Also it helps find out what motivates them.

Thank Yous

Surprisingly the most appreciated “benefit” of all is thank yous which cost you nothing.

Nick Butler

12th Jan 2018