Working in an organisation that aligns with my personal values is really important to me. It’s one of the reasons I quit my job in 2015 to co-found Relish Learning with my friend Emily.
Before Relish started or even had a name, we brainstormed all of the things we wanted our business to care about.
It was a long list!
Eventually we managed to distil it down to five values:
- Creating opportunities for people to develop
- Supporting the communities we live, work and play in
- Being open, honest and authentic when we communicate
- Challenging ourselves and each other to innovate
- Caring about the small details just as much as the big ideas
Our values are important to us. They describe who we are, what we care about and how we like to work. This includes the way we engage with and attract talent.
At the CIPD HR Software Show in 2015, Manuela Montagnana from ADP talked about the challenges faced by small to medium enterprises as they compete with larger, more well-known brands for talent.
We’re fortunate to be based in Sheffield, a city which retains so many people who come to study here (including myself). There’s no shortage of talent here. However, Relish is a small start-up operating in an industry which many students haven’t heard of. We’re competing against other creative digital agencies and better known companies for the same pool of talent.
For us this means engaging with our local universities and colleges to raise awareness of the e-learning industry and Relish Learning as a company.
One example of this is a mentoring scheme at Sheffield Hallam University. The scheme matches students with professionals who help them to explore different career paths. Emily and I have participated in the scheme for a few years now and we’ve both met some really interesting and talented people. People who could become future clients, referrers or even Relishers.
Through our involvement in that scheme, we were able to connect with a lecturer who teaches a module about e-learning to final year computing students. She’s invited us to input into the design of her module and provide real industry insights to students by teaching guest sessions. From our perspective, this is a fantastic opportunity to meet and shape our local graduate talent pool.
More recently, we’ve been improving our connections at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield College. Our Technical Consultant, Matthew is currently volunteering as an assistant instructor on a Code First: Girls course at the university. Emily has given talks to aspiring young entrepreneurs at the college.
All of these things help raise the profile of Relish Learning and the e-learning industry in our city. When those students are looking to start their career, they will have heard of Relish. We’ll be those people who came and gave that talk, listened to their career ideas or taught a class.
This is just the start. I know there’s more we could be doing.
For example, how do we identify and then attract talent from groups of people who are under-represented in our industry?
Perhaps we could look to companies like Basecamp. Their internships are remote, allowing people to work whenever and wherever in the world they want. For Relish, that could open up opportunities to people who need a more flexible approach to work. We’ll consider things like this as Relish grows and our strategies for attracting and retaining talent develop.
All of this will help us to attract the people who are right for Relish. And they will be able to work in an organisation which is right for them. An organisation that shares their personal values.