Can you tell us a bit about Bulb?
Bulb is a green energy supplier. We supply 100% renewable electricity to homes at rates 20% lower than ‘Big Six’ standard tariffs. We’re able to do this at the same time as offering #1 rated customer service because we use a great deal of automation in our back office operations. We started supplying homes in August 2015 and in the two years since launch have grown to supply 75,000 homes.
What has your experience been of finding work ready staff?
We’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of applicants for Bulb. Personally, I find the intelligence, determination and creativity that the Bulb team brings to its work extremely inspiring. We deliberately chose to found Bulb in Tower Hamlets to give us access to the skilled and diverse workforce of East London. This has been hugely important for us as we’ve grown rapidly over the last 9 months and finding the right people for each role is essential.
When we were founding Bulb, everyone told us we should set up our business away from London because wages are too high here. However, at Bulb, we have a Good Jobs strategy and we believe in paying people more and having a more productive team. London has been a fantastic home for our company because we can draw upon such a diverse pool of skilled people. There are so many different industries to learn from and so many different types of skillsets and capabilities available. London has a wealth of designers, researchers, software engineers, and data scientists and we’re very fortunate to not only hire those people into the Bulb team, but also for our team to be part of the broader communities of practice that exist in the city. The pace of change and learning is wonderful to be a part of.
How do you make sure you get the best out of your staff?
We do our best to make the job as interesting and rewarding for them as possible. Bulb’s mission is to transform the way energy is used and produced, it’s essential that we protect our planet while giving people access to affordable renewable energy. Having this purpose has really helped the team get behind a common goal and helped us all work together. We also place a big focus on getting things done quickly. At Bulb, we call this, “Action this day”. We’ve found that tracking progress weekly and daily really helps us keep up momentum. There’s another behaviour we place a lot of importance on, which we call “Make is better”. Everyone at Bulb spends at least 30% of their time working on improvement projects. This makes the job much more interesting and means we’re constantly innovating in order to improve our product and service and the way we work.
We often hear that startups don’t have the time/can’t afford to train their staff. What is your take on that? Do you agree?
We simply don’t agree with this. At Bulb, we invest in both formal and on-the-job training for everyone on the team. Startups are all about finding a better way of doing things, and in our experience, this means making things better for customers and also making things better for members of the Bulb team.
What have you found to be the best sources of talent?
We’ve had great results with a variety of recruitment methods. Posting vacancies on job boards has been very helpful. We’ve found some awesome candidates from Bulb team members referring their friends and former colleagues. We’ve also invested a lot into talent search. We now have two people in our Talent team, with one person 100% dedicated to sourcing applications from underrepresented demographic groups such as female software engineers. We’ve made significant improvements in this area but still have a long way to go.