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We took a risk and changed business direction

Neil Hammerton’s staff and business are now aligned for the future

The problem

Croydon-based telecommunications company Natterbox started out as a voice recording business for mobile phone calls. The idea was based on incoming legislation that would make recording an obligation. However, the new rules weren’t sufficiently enforced, meaning the growth predicted didn’t materialise.

After three years, the company decided the market wasn’t going to change. Although it had the right technology to take the business in a different direction, it would take another two years to develop the services needed. To succeed in its new market, Natterbox required new goals – and to ensure staff were invested enough to buy into them across the different departments that make an impact.

The solution

The main priority for Natterbox was to make sure employees in different areas of the business were moving towards the same vision. Staff targets needed to be ambitious enough to hit the goal of relaunching in two years, but achievable so staff didn’t get demoralised.

Led by CEO and co-founder Neil Hammerton, Natterbox focused staff targets on revenue growth. Each department was assigned an “aggressive but realistic” target based on the current market and the competition. By having everyone working towards the same goal, Natterbox could create a sense of unity and keep employees motivated.

Natterbox also issued share options to show staff that the company valued them and their contribution. For Hammerton, it was important that staff were given the option to achieve the same benefits as the business leaders, should the company hit its revenue goals.

The results

After two years of hard work, little financial success and limited growth as the company built its reputation, Natterbox is now in a strong position in its new market. The company is on track to achieve 45 per cent year-on-year growth in 2019 and is recognised as one of the top vendors within its sector. Hammerton believes the results are clear evidence that if you hold firm and ensure you have staff support, the benefits will pay off.

“As a leader, you have to align yourself with staff by explaining why you’re personally happy with the targets you’ve set for the business – whether it’s for success or financial reward,” Hammerton explained. “Staff have to be able to relate and have those same values or goals. Many businesses choose to invoke the fear factor, but that’s a short-term solution and staff won’t stick around to find out the results.”

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