6 lessons from start-ups

We work with a growing number of start-ups and we’ve been thinking about what businesses at any age can learn from their younger cousins…

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      • Demand flexibility, but give people boundaries: People need to be flexible in their roles, but they still need to be clear about what they need to do! You don’t have to have a 3- page job description, but your team do need to know what is expected of them, what they’re delivering and who they can turn to for support.
      • Consider different employment types: Zero-hours contracts have a bad reputation but in some cases they can really help fill a gap in your team. Consider professionals looking for flexible employment, or local parents who need a few hours a week. Timewise is one example of a marketplace matching businesses seeking part-time talent
      • Grow with direction and purpose: Don’t fall into the trap of hiring just when things are busy and your team seems too small to cope. Make sure each new-hire fits with your longer-term strategy, your team shape and skills that you already have. Consider the paths for promotion for the people you already employ: what future do they have in your company?
      • Be innovative with your support functions: when you’re small you don’t need in-house HR, IT or accountants. There are lots of people offering outsourced professional solutions to save you money (Bedrock HR being one!)  But you’ll also be surprised by the other favours you might be able to pull in from your networks, like PR, marketing or events management. Local business networking groups like BNI, Athena and Business Biscotti are a great place to start
      • Have an ideas culture, but know when to make decisions: one of our clients gets this just right. They have an open-dialogue in workshops that involve the whole team, but at other times they’re clear that some decisions are made just by the senior leadership. Your team will thank you when they’re not asked for an opinion on everything!
      • Don’t neglect development: it’s tempting in start-ups to run as fast as you can, for as long as you can. But this can’t last!  You have to stop and give energy to training and team-work.  This isn’t just for junior staff – CEO’s need development too. Consider using a coach or mentor if you’re a CEO, and find someone who you trust to challenge and support you when you’re feeling frazzled.


Bedrock HR works with businesses at all stages, typically with between 5-50 employees, to provide a cost-effective outsourced HR solution. Talk to us if you’ve got any questions, we’d love to hear from you.