Employee Engagement experts, Purple Cubed, was founded in 2001 in response to chronic skills shortages and labour turnover within service industries. The firm helps brands become more successful by putting people firmly at the heart of their business through a mix of consultancy, delivery and award-winning HR technology. It works internationally from a Central London base with service organisations in hospitality, retail and professional services.
Jane tells us more about the business, its ongoing strategy and the processes taken to develop the company successfully.
“We’ve been awarded both CIPD HR Consultancy of the Year and Personnel Today Supplier of the Year, although our approach is different from others because we come from diverse operational and leadership backgrounds. We’re pragmatic, contemporary and bottom-line focused.
“Our tech is practical, cool and user-friendly, plus we work with our clients on an on-going basis to cement in sustainable results. One‘s been with us for over 14 years so we must be doing something right!”
“Our culture is distinctive and strong – on day one we wrote our values and they drive everything we do.
“Communication is key – asking the right questions, listening and taking action are very important for us.
“We grow leadership traits in everyone, leader or not, so that teams become (mostly) self-managing and collaborative. Then we stand back and let them get on with it, this is, of course, always a work in progress. The key is to make sure there’s always support and guidance available and people are confident enough to ask for it.”
Despite her overwhelming success today, it wasn’t always plain sailing for Jane, She describes some of the challenges she has faced and how they have been overcome.
“I started my business the day before 9/11 so all my well-laid plans (and advance orders) went by the wayside – it was a case of head down and get on with it. Getting through that certainly helped us to deal with anything that’s been thrown at us since.
“There’s always the challenge of making sure there’s cash in the bank – in the early days I used to add and subtract all the incoming and outgoings every day on paper stuck to my desk – what’s visual cannot be ignored!
“Preserving one’s culture as the company grows is a challenge for all SMEs – we get round that by making sure our values live in everything we do and also have values champions. We’ve successfully passed on our techniques to many clients over the years – it’s a case of ‘practice what you preach’.”
With a great track record behind her it’s clear that Jane possesses certain key attributes that make her successful and an awardwinning CEO.
“I’m good at getting to the bottom of things, seeing the big picture and noticing things that others don’t – very useful for a CEO and it’s made me a good NED and charity trustee too,” she says modestly. “Being able to communicate with all types of people is very useful. It’s important to be fair and kind though tough when needed. I like numbers, which helps. People tell me I’m persuasive and a good salesperson though I don’t think of myself as such. I am ever positive, focused, organised, nothing phases me really. Oh and I never take myself too seriously!”
And what is it exactly that motivates Jane?
“Massive belief in what we do keeps me up there as does seeing a client’s business improve – one went from bottom performing in group to top within a year! I’m also a very positive person and set myself a nonwork challenge every year – as a result I’ve written three business books (one a best-seller) and co-authored another. Last year I opened a pop-up retail concept, which was fun and a great learning curve.
“I’m super-organised and believe everything in life presents choices. Once you realise you’re in control of your own destiny it’s hard to become demotivated – if you don’t like it, change it.”
For Jane and Purple Cubed, the future is looking very bright indeed. Here, she shares with us her plans for the next five years and where she sees herself in that time.
“This year is all about realising the investment we’ve made in our products over the past three-five years. We’re also doing more consultancy because people realise that employee engagement is a business priority and they need a downto-earth approach that delivers without a drama.
With regards to myself in five years’ time – I think it’s impossible for anyone to look that far ahead. Although I’m a goal-focused person I’m pretty flexible about where I end up as long as health, wealth and happiness are up there I don’t mind how it comes. I’d like to think the company will be ten times as profitable!”