Employing people

In the tenth episode of the Startup Series, CEO and founder of Grind & Co, David Abrahamovitch, explains why hiring the right people can help grow your brand.

Customers get to know your brand in different ways, by using your products or services or through physical or online stores. Your values are also communicated through the first people your customers are likely to meet - your team.

When David Abrahamovitch founded the first Grind in Shoreditch in 2011, he wanted to introduce customers to great tasting coffee within surroundings which had a genuine buzz to them. Grind has since grown to six cafe-bars and three restaurants. Coffee is still at the heart of the brand, but it has now expanded to offer customers brunch, dinner, cocktails and private events. Shoreditch Grind also has a recording studio which is the base for co-founder Kaz James’ music projects and has been used by artists including Sam Smith, Tinie Tempah and Pixie Lott.

From its beginnings six years ago, Grind now employs 200 people. The team are a key part of the whole customer experience, as David explains: “We go, we take a space, fit it out, put a bar in and turn it into a restaurant. We put neon signs up and put our music on, but it just doesn't feel like a Grind until the day the staff come in, two or three days before we open.”

“Suddenly, they’re in there and then it becomes a Grind. They're the people that are communicating our brand every single day. That's who the customers come to see.”

Recruiting the right people for your startup is a time consuming task. Read on for David’s advice on why having the right team is crucial for growth and how creating a great working environment can attract the best employees:

1. Having the right people on board will help your business to grow

David says time and resource invested into your recruitment process will help your business to expand - new team members may have skills and experiences which you do not currently possess.

“Invest as early and as much as possible in people, because when you get the right people doing the right things, your whole business takes on a momentum of its own. It will grow and develop in ways that I could never personally have done [alone]. When you get people who specialise in a particular area, they can make a massive difference. Recruiting those people is really, really, difficult and it’s something we spend more and more time focused on.”

2. Create a great environment to attract brilliant team members

David believes that creating a great working environment makes good business sense as it will attract good employees. “Ultimately, if you create a nice environment where people want to work, the people who work for you will tell other people. Sometimes customers become staff because they like hanging out there - it's kind of a natural evolution.”

3. Promote internally to keep your best people

A great working environment can also lead to team members wanting to stay with your business for longer. David says: “One of our guys who is now our Head of Brands started behind the bar. We’ve had a lot of internal development - if you create a nice place to work, people want to work for you.”

4. Once you've hired the right people, shift your focus to retaining them

Recruiting and training new starters can be costly for businesses. David says these costs can be reduced by focusing more effort on retaining existing team members. “Hiring and retaining people, particularly in London, can be really, really challenging. So you have to think about how you are giving back to the staff. Are you giving them transferable skills they can take somewhere else. Is there progression for them?”

5. Help your team members to reach their potential

Recruitment is a two-way process. Employees help you to grow your business, but it’s also worth thinking about how you can help them to grow their careers. 

David recommends asking yourself the following questions and ensuring the answers are communicated during your recruitment process.

  • Will your potential employees be able to see development potential?
  • Can they see a future with you?
  • Do they see a brand that they want to be associated with?

Have a UK startup that earns up to £50,000? Join Xero for Startups* and get a years' free membership to Enterprise Nation's small business community. *The Startup Series is published in association with Enterprise Nation.


Xero is beautiful online accounting software for your startup

Join Xero for Startups today.

Find out more