For most large enterprises, the value of the HR department in driving the culture of an organisation is undisputed, with many viewing HR as nothing short of a critical business function that goes beyond helping companies hire and retain employees.

Not for the founder and CEO of billion-pound company Octopus Energy though, who reveals in a BBC News interview, he doesn’t have one.

Speaking to Dougal Shaw in BBC series CEO Secrets, Greg Jackson says that while his UK start-up now boasts over 1,200 employees, he has chosen to do without an HR and IT department, in order to avoid “drown[ing] creative people in process and bureaucracy.”

His company, which was set up in 2015 and specialises in renewable energy for households, currently supplies over 1.9 million homes in the UK, and has been valued at more than £1.4bn by private investors.

The CEO is described as a serial entrepreneur who has been at the helm of a number of other businesses and credits his dislike for top-down management structures to his own negative experiences at different companies. His experience with running smaller companies, he reveals, taught him how to handle HR and IT issues himself. Bringing this with him to Octopus Energy, Mr Shaw relies on managers to take responsibility for issues that arise within their teams – an approach he believes makes employees more self-reliant.

Describing a personal incident from his past which involved getting a dressing down from an employee for attempting to give unwanted advice, the CEO describes it as “one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and it forms the basis of my management theory today.”

It led to his favoured management philosophy, and belief in a hands-off approach that allows employees to manage their own affairs with minimal interference.

Related

How to deal with unconscious bias in the workplace

22 May 2024
by Sarah Muscat Azzopardi

Having an unconscious bias among employees can lead to discrimination, and while it is normal to have our own biases, ...

Keeping that fire burning: 5 ways business leaders can stay motivated during difficult times

21 May 2024
by Fabrizio Tabone

Business leaders have to be wary that a lack of motivation from their end will seep through to the rest ...

5 ways to keep your emotions under control while running a business

20 May 2024
by Fabrizio Tabone

Emotion-fuelled decisions can have a negative impact on businesses due to the urgency that they tend to originate from.

Are we mishandling our finances during major life events?

17 May 2024
by Luca Caruana

This week, Money Coach Luca Caruana addresses a pressing concern from a 29-year-old software developer at a critical juncture — ...

Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami