Building HR from the ground up at Homelyfe

Ah, the joys of being an HR Director in a start-up. Policies? None. Processes? None. Employees?  A few.

Think I’m being sarcastic? Not at all!  Being the Head of HR in a start-up is a great job and being the HR lead for Homelyfe? Well that’s a special kind of special.

Why? Because I get to work in a team of talented people, with a clear vision to shake-up the somewhat traditional insurance business. It’s amazing to work with a team who are focused on the strategy and vision of the organisation, but who are also keen to have fun along the way.

Historically I’ve always worked for big corporations, you know the sort where every employee has a number and people always talk in buzzwords– ‘reaching out’ and ‘leaning in’, all at the same time.  I jest, I always enjoyed being part of a large company. It’s where I learnt so much about HR, culture, how people should be treated and how companies become extremely successful.

But nothing beats the blank piece of paper you get given when you join a start-up. The opportunity to be creative and start everything from scratch is a welcome change from doing things the same way it’s always been done, particularly in a company that is founded on doing things differently.

At Homelyfe, so far, I’ve had the autonomy to draft all policies and handbooks in a more relaxed tone of voice, matching the company we are, and the people that work here now and in the future.

My recruitment experience is much more fun, because I can truthfully tell candidates a brilliant and engaging story about the journey so far and the exciting times ahead… and what a rollercoaster that’s going to be. I can set the agenda for hiring talent and how we can grow and develop the team. Another aspect I love is being able to support managers to coach their teams and drive high performance.

I truly believe that we will be a leading insurance business because we have all the ingredients. A CEO who is passionate about his vision, a smart bunch of people who work as a team, and a desire to enjoy the journey: no prima donnas here, isn’t to be underestimated!

The insurance industry is a serious business, and not something to be flippant about. But we’re going to happily transform it.  I for one think that transformation can only be helped along by a team of non-corporate, fun loving people who sometimes play terrible music and will NEVER stop with the nerf guns.

Blog by Nancy Batchelor, Head of HR


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