Building a motivated team: the dream HR manifesto

If you want your employees to put their heart and soul into the company, the company must put its heart and soul into its people

Jack Hubbard of Propellernet brings us chapter 30 of #FuturePRoof – let us know what you think on Twitter @WeArePRoofed


You’ll learn:

• How becoming the best employer can ensure you have the best team doing the best work with the best clients
• Why taking the time to know and understand your employees immediately improves productivity
• The rewards that come with placing people before profits

The game

Attracting and inspiring talented people to do awesome work is the basis for creating value in PR. 

The problem

1.  Traditional recruitment costs a fortune and you wind up hiring mercenary nomads who are great at inter viewing but jump ship at the sniff of a salary bump.

2.  Staff turnover is a killer. New people need time to adapt to ways of working and establish relationships.

3.  Traditional management styles don’t work. Boxing people up in space and time and getting them to chase numbers across spreadsheets with repetitive tasks is tantamount to modern day slavery and drives your people away.

The solution

To win the best clients and do the best work you need to field the best team. To do this you need to be the best employer.  

Call it karma, what goes around comes around, you get out what you put in, or any one of a thousand clichés - the only way to get your people to really care about the company is by getting your company to really care about them.

Business leaders must to stop chasing money with business process tools and instead pay attention to the human condition; what it means to be alive. People are not born to serve business, business was created to serve us.  To improve our lives in some way is why we work, but what does that really mean?

People want to be happy, healthy and free from pain, stress, anxiety and depression. They want to learn, grow, contribute and be free. They want to have and share wonderful experiences and meaningful relationships. They want to create all these things for the people they care about. These are the things that really make life better.

If your business is driven to max up on all this good stuff for your people, then you will attract and retain great people. It will help them realize their full potential in their work.   

Best of all, it will fill business leaders with happiness and a real sense of purpose.

The proof

At Propellernet we don’t pay recruiters and our good people never leave us. We employ just 60 people and make a net profit of 20% on a turnover of £4m million, despite substantial investment in dream based innovation projects.  

Only 80% of employee time is billed to clients leaving 20% for dreams, personal development and innovation.  

I talk to people about their dreams and look for opportunities to make their dreams happen in ways that create both business and lifestyle value. I call it bucket list business planning and it’s been a revelation.

I used to set financial targets and chase them across spreadsheets never quite catching them. Now I hire amazing people and produce their dreams. When you focus on making life better, people really show up and the money follows.

I bought a dream machine. A giant yellow eighties gobstopper dispenser packed full of dreams. When we hit target, we make a dream come true.

• We sent Alan across Africa on a motorcycle
• Steve and Jim flew to Rio for the football world cup
• Carla took her family on a luxury ski holiday
• Helen and Andy are off to Vegas to renew their wedding vows
• We invested in Gary and Dan’s tech startup idea
• Stella and Laura are giving back to the PR industry that raised them
• Sophie C has adopted a wild dog in Namibia
• Mark is taking his concept band on tour
• Lauren, Rik and Nikki have joined Mark's band
• Rik is also launching a health drink brand
• Eshe is making a cook book
• Sam is leading the Big Data Brighton smart city project
• Sophie T is becoming a published author
• Robin is writing a sci-fi screenplay
• Steve is developing a stand up comedy show
• I’m building a centre for dream led business innovation in the French Alps

And it feels like we are just getting started.

The dreams of our people start as a conversation, become projects, gather momentum and through some creative alchemy become the purpose, culture, product and profit of our business.  

Business is more successful when you stand for something real, and what better thing to stand for than the dreams of your people.

As word of our dream-powered business plan spreads, more smart loyal people join the queue to work at Propellernet, because smart loyal people have smart loyal mates. 

The rate of learning and innovation within our culture is phenomenal. Our creative powers are atomic. When clients need an edge, we never struggle to provide it.

Having a stable profitable business provides financial security for all involved but bringing happiness into the working lives of so many people is a much greater reward. 

Take action

Instead of dreaming up financial targets and struggling to achieve them, dream up experiences worthy of the precious few moments you and your people have on this planet, make these your business objectives and then watch in amazement as your profits soar.

Throw out the business plan and curate a bucket list. Follow the dreams of your people and use business resources to get there.

Director James Cameron always wanted to do a wreck dive of the Titanic. The film was just an excuse to get the funders to commission his dive expedition. The fact that it went on to be the biggest blockbuster smash in history was just a side benefit. 

Branson flies rockets and sails yachts and consistently outperforms corporate competition. These are Big Business bucket listers, but they are also just people with dreams. People like you and me. And why shouldn’t we follow our dreams?

4 billion years, 9 million species and we bagged human in the 21st century. We hit the jackpot. Wake up and enjoy the after party while it’s in full swing.

We are not here for a long time, we are here for a good time, make it count.


Jack Hubbard is CEO of Propellernet, founder of and an entrepreneur in residence at Dream Valley Projects.

Twitter: @jackhubbard