What we do to help you get the best from people

Posted on | March 14, 2014 | Comments Off on What we do to help you get the best from people


Helixhr is an HR consultancy looking to combine best practice, commercial ability, psychology and flair to support exciting ambitious businesses, who want to get the best people, motivate and enable them to contribute to their full potential.

We will usually work logically on the steps below:

  • Encourage a safe framework to realise potential .We enable you to operate within legally based rules with fair procedures and a degree of flair to encourage and motivate people. This includes ensuring you have effective contracts, policies and procedures.
  • Build a long term consistent strategy and culture that supports your business plan and vision through an annual budgeted people plan.  We understand and support you as an entrepreneur and free you to develop an outstanding business.
  •  Develop your line managers – effective line managers are the key to catalysts for excellence in people.  They can also muck up the best laid plans. We coach and train your line managers in the behaviour likely to develop people. We will update your managers in employment law and train them in the key skills of coaching, feedback and encouraging high performance. 
  • Find and keep talent. We help you attract the right people with your own web portal or directly recruit and interview on your behalf. We will monitor any leavers and ensure that you have the right environment to retain staff. We will advise on the most effective rewards including psychological rewards.
  • Improve leadership and team work through work groups, team development and leadership programmes. We can maximise training grants and ensure that each person has development goals.
  • Develop your HR capability – we will act as your HR manager or help your HR team. We can coach and develop your own people to do this. We will recommend a suitable provider of HR software and assist in setting it up. This will save you time and improve communication with your employees.
  •  Act as hands on mentors to get you through difficult crises (disputes, redundancy, and long term sickness) and as a long term advisor to your business.

Why use us?


These are some of the reasons:

You get people development expertise on tap when and where you need it at a cost that you can afford.    We save you the anguish of some employment issues and time freeing you to create opportunities. You gain a genuine partner that is not just focused on bolting the door when you are in trouble and referring to processes but helps you find how to build a great people culture.  You get access to a quick and responsive personal service.

Likely business results

 Specific (better retention of people, improved productivity, more ideas and products, less absences, more satisfied staff, improved reputation, faster cheaper recruitment, better team work, less disputes, better performance)General – we will help you build a management team that means you can sell or merge your business in the future. We will have a people strategy that enables you to reach your business targets. Finally we will enable you to build the capacity relevant to each stage of development so you are in control.





How to get the best out of people: Seven errors to avoid and eight operating maxims

Posted on | March 14, 2014 | Comments Off on How to get the best out of people: Seven errors to avoid and eight operating maxims

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Entrepreneurs are often creative, driven, flexible and very good at getting to know the right people to grow their businesses. On occasion, their impatience with procedures and with people can work against the development of their team.  Yet it is this team building ability that will take their business into the next stage of development.

This lack of team building can have a direct impact on the profits of the business. This can show up in the form of:

  • More people leaving the business
  • Tolerance of poor performers
  • Less effective contributions from each individual
  • Higher risks associated with employment including potentially more claims from disaffected employees

Indirectly there may loss of opportunity to work in a focused creative way. So that people and customers turn away from your brand.

I have worked in and with a number of entrepreneurial, owner managed and SME type businesses both in multiple roles as an entrepreneur, as an HR director, as a team member and as a consultant. This blog is just my personal view gathered over twenty years. I love entrepreneurial businesses.  When the climate is right then the team work motivation and “family” feel is very hard to beat. Sometimes the business is lacking is some structure and thought. This does not have to overbearing. My contention is that creativity is balanced and enhanced by structure not stifled. The benefit of structure in an SME helps people feel included, adds to teamwork and this along with the right recruitment creates a high performing team. 

Below are my personal observations of some of the mistakes SME’s can make that can undermine effective team work. These are:


  • Treating people randomly.  If the business operates entirely informally and there are no guidelines or the guidelines while existing on paper do not get implemented then people can feel unsafe or excluded. Entrepreneurs often reject the rules on the basis that rules are meant to be broken. However this may mean the treatment of individuals is inconsistent. An example could be expecting some people to work over a weekend without giving any time off the following week while others are. This unfairness can destroy team work. The answer is to set up a simple framework to operate the fairest policies. This doesn’t have to be “Health and Safety gone mad” but a set of principles enabling you to operate within legally based rules with fair procedures and a degree of flair to encourage and motivate people. This includes ensuring you have effective contracts, policies and procedures.


  • Not having a long term consistent people strategy and culture that supports the business plan and vision.  For example knowing you are going to gain new business but not having a structured recruitment plan to back it up meaning recruitment becomes last minute and reactive. This can result in poor hiring decisions or relying on existing staff to do more and more work often without recognition or reward. Another example is developing a new product but not having sufficient productive skills to meet demand thus putting strains on the production line and the few suitably skilled staff.


  • Putting up with poor line managers – who are often appointed on the basis of long service or trust but without regard to their skill with people. The wrong person can damage severely morale and increase claims and disputes. They can be a significant factor in staff leaving. I have seen it many times that the wrong person is appointed and without support are left to manage in a dangerous way. This can include bullying and harassment and prejudice but more often is of the school of do as I say rather than do as I do school which undermines the credibility of the line manager.


  • Not putting enough effort into finding and keeping talent. Often SME’s response to someone leaving is to use unsuitable agencies and compromise on the candidate due to the necessity to find an immediate replacement. A more effective way is to trawl potential candidates ahead of time and appoint talent even if there is not always a ready- made vacancy.


  • Assuming money is the only motivator or alternatively people are driven in same way as the entrepreneur. It is my belief that the psychological factors that are involved with working are great as if not greater than the financial rewards.  These include the trust, degree of autonomy, the purpose of the business, the learning challenge, and the teamwork in the business. The entrepreneur is not in control of all these factors but assuming that key employees will stay in the business because they are being paid a market rate can be illusory. The entrepreneur should make sure these other factors are in place.


  • Not leading the team:   entrepreneurs will naturally focus externally on customers and markets as their key role. There is a danger that leadership internally is left to poor line managers will the resultant negative effect.


  • Having poor systems capability – we often find that basic systems such as personnel files, records of attendance, holidays, appraisals and training needs are administered informally and again may result in randomness and unfairness. There are very good web based systems that give the potential for employees to manage their own welfare more effectively and the business to be able to spot trends.

For those of you who do not like to focus on the negative I have turned this into a serious of operating maxims.

  • Create a safe workplace where people operate out of trust not fear and can beat their own drum within a team.
  • Communicate and act on the bigger picture by linking changes in the business to changes to the workforce
  • Appoint line managers who are good with people or teach them how to do it.
  • Invest time in finding talent by conventional and non-conventional means
  • Motivate psychologically as well as through money
  • Lead the team – be a good example yourself and don’t absolve responsibility
  • Invest in getting the systems right
  • Invest in getting the teamwork right

This last point is the icing on the cake that will lead to exceptional performance of your people with a creative and hard -working work force. You may want to run these criteria past your own business.




How do you reward in the 21st century?

Posted on | January 19, 2011 | Comments Off on How do you reward in the 21st century?

I recently watched a  youtube video. It is a talk by Dan Pink that examines recent research. This  contends bonus schemes based on reward and punishment don’t work. You can view it by looking at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

I am wondering, if the most important motivators are not financial but psychological,then what does it mean for the way we reward people and the whole philosophy of employee benefits?

Do we find different incentives outside of bonus schemes, pay grades etc? Do we provide rewards based on the psychological needs ?

According to the U – tube clip there are three motivators that lead to better performance:

  • Autonomy – giving the maximum control to the individual on how they contribute to the organisation.
  • Mastery – presenting challenges where people can learn.
  • Purpose  – having a purpose that inspires.

The current practices of Employers  sometimes contradict these motivations. Many organisations, aware of risks, seek compliance to set procedures or routines.  Along with Roger Cook of Zero3 our contention is whilst compliance is necessary in some organisations, it does not mean that there has to be  a total compliance philosophy.

We believe that there needs to be an approach that has a total reward philosophy. It is not going to be any good in the world of the 21st Century Employment to pay good money but then demotivate staff by not giving them sufficient autonomy, challenge or sense of purpose. Thinking this through it would involve:

  • Paying attention to psychological rewards and training mangers to use these
  • Link financials reward to all the processes in the Company
  • Encourage initiative and creativity
  • Communicate rewards differently
  • Offer rewards that help the employee to master new challenges and also recognise them as individuals
  • Benchmark salaries and,pay midrange basic salary and have less bonuses, but more rewards that are not directly cash based.

 These ideas are clearly contradictory to current practice but may be worth exploring.

Helixhr has psychological approaches,  that can help with these motivators. This is the discovery of purpose and the development of potential/mastery through psychological feedback and coaching and improving teamwork which adds to the purpose of the organisation.  We have teamed up with O3 employee benefits to link these to financial rewards.

What is happiness?

Posted on | September 23, 2010 | Comments Off on What is happiness?

What is happiness? How can I be happier? Part One

A couple of people have asked me my thoughts on happiness. It is something we don’t have training on. Here is my personal take on it. In four parts.

When I am unhappy I sometimes think if only I had a car, house, posh shirt, copy of the jive bunnies’ latest music, better job etc. then I will be happy. But although nice things can make life better and can be fun, they are not the source of my happiness. In fact their pursuit alone leads to inner turmoil.

I sometimes seek distraction from unhappiness in chocolate, biscuits, drink, computer games, noise, and television etc. This can only mask unhappiness. Biscuits can be nice with a cup of tea though. My particular addictions are Sky Sports, Marks and Spencer’s hot cross buns and liquorice. Yum.

Happiness comes from within. Within, what I am not sure.

Other people like to help me but sometimes they think they know best. Yuk! Giving to others is a source of happiness, living life according to others rules or expectations is a prison. Friendship is yucky or not depending whether it fulfils these conditions.

When I compare myself to others this can be useful or rubbish. It is useful if I learn how someone does a skill or the attitude they have to a problem. It is rubbish if I think ‘I can never be as cool (beautiful, muscled, tattooed) as that person.’ This creates the so-called ‘bad self esteem’. That in itself is an illusion because I can never take away my worth. Life is not a race against others; I start from where I am and attempt to get better.

Uses of Myers Briggs for schools and teachers

Posted on | September 29, 2009 | No Comments

Teachers deserve excellent approaches

Have you ever wondered whether there is a way of understanding the different personalities in a classroom? Why do some children chatter incessantly and others are more silent than monks? Why does one need to know how to do stuff and another keeps asking questions? Why when you put some in groups you are spending your time stopping major conflict while other teams function, well, like teams?

The Myers Briggs Temperament Indicator

 has a lot to say to teachers about these differences. These differences spring out of the way we prefer to learn, what motivates us and the type of teacher we prefer. It covers the whole spectrum of managing learning.  You can read People Types &Tiger Stripes by Gordon Lawrence (see http://www.amazon.co.uk/People-Types-Tiger-Stripes-Practical/dp/0935652167/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262631633&sr=8-1 

or if your school or business would like an introductory talk-give us a bell.

Are you an entrepreneur?

Posted on | September 29, 2009 | No Comments

Is there an entrepreneurial personality type?

In the research papers  I have read it appears that certain personalities are attracted to entrepreneurial activities. Which comes first might be an element of chicken or egg.

In broad terms the characteristics of the entrepreneurial personality are

  • creative, restless,  but with an eye to the practical
  • logical, analytical, decisive , able to shift through the information
  • adaptable, changeable, flexible

There are two types of entrepreneur-the social ones who tend to be great at networking, selling,(such as Richard Branson) and the more aloof ones who often have a techie approach (e.g. Bill Gates).

Recently I helped a salesman moved into a Managing Director role. One of the main areas we worked on was being able to detach from people to make decisions. This freed him up to use his creativity to find new opportunities.

Why learn about this?

If you are a budding entrepreneur then it might be worth seeing what aspects of your personality will help you and what might limit you.

If you are a coach or advisor you might want to learn how best to approach and get on with an entrepreneur?

Better still give me a call if you want to discuss. 

Find your true career

Posted on | September 29, 2009 | No Comments

Have you found your s yet?

Olympic champions often know what they want to do from early in life. Some of us are late developers. Your red rubber ball is your passion. It gets you up in the morning and the next day.

‘If everyone followed their red rubber ball then they would be happy. We spend so much time doing things we should do, not what we feel is right for us and makes us happy. It is a very exciting idea isn’t it? It has taken me my whole life to get near. It is brilliant you can give people a short cut.’ Lucy England

One of the best training courses I have ever been on was conducted by Neil Kirby and  Steve Williams  of the Red Rubber Ball Company. It answers some really basic questions:

Have you ever wondered what’s all about-where you should be directing your energy? Do you wish you had more motivation? Are you really living your life as you want? Using all your resources? Following your dreams?

 The Red Rubber Ball idea comes from Kevin Carroll.  He is a former Athletic Trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers; he also worked for Nike and is a consultant and public speaker through his company, Katalyst. He did not have the best start in life yet through encouragement and determination he found want made him feel alive and what he wanted to pursue. This he called his red rubber ball. He has been pursuing it ever since.

I have always pursued a number of different goals and roles. The beauty of the Red Rubber Ball process is that it links these all together into one meaningful and exciting journey. And the dreams are coming true. This workshop aims help you start to achieve yours.

If you would like to know more I am doing a taster training at Leweswerks in February. Look at www.leweswerks.org.uk  for more or call on 07940 130970 

5 things to improve your teaching

Posted on | September 21, 2009 | No Comments

Learn about methods

They don’t teach you this at teacher training. From the great teachers at Pilgrims(www.pilgrims.co.uk) I have learnt about:

  •  suggestopedia-a skilful way to go overcome natural resistances to learning. This method was discovered in Bulgaria by Dr Georgi Lozanov.
  • the silent way; this is an approach to language teaching designed to enable students to become independent, autonomous and responsible learners. It is part of aapproach to teaching and learning created by Caleb Cattegno.
  • Neuro-linguistic Programming. This method helps you create worthwhile and constructive relationships with your students as well as ways of reading them individually.
  • Multiple intelligences, psychodrama and many others.

Learn to trust your voice as a teacher

There is no single way to teach. You will have your own voice, your own way of being as a teacher. some teachers will be madly, extravert and entertaining; others will be good at listening or very well organised. Use this voice as a strength and then bridge to reach others.

Teaching is part of the entertainment business

Some element of performance and entertainment are part of the teaching package. I am learning stand-up at the moment which has helped me understand performance. Other forms of creativity such as drama, music, writing etc. add to this.

All teaching teaches humanity

Sounds abit pompous but all teachers are role models and the more human you are and the more you show of yourself the more consistent is the teaching.

Study psychology

It has got alot to teach you. I recommend Fuerstein and his theories of mediation to remind you how much impact a teacher can have.