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$2 billion company has no HR or IT

CEO Secrets: “My billion pound company has no HR department”

Source: BBC News
By Dougal Shaw

Greg Jackson is the founder and CEO of Octopus Energy, a UK start-up valued at more than £1.4bn ($2bn), selling green energy. Despite now having more than 1,200 employees, he says he has no interest in traditional things like human resources (HR) and information technology (IT) departments.

There is a tendency for large companies to “infantilise” their employees and “drown creative people in process and bureaucracy”, says Jackson.

HR and IT departments don’t make employees happier or more productive in his experience, he says.

So he doesn’t have them.

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Nick’s take

We’ve discussed why Human Resources is unnecessary before. Tom Peters, a management sage of the 1980s, famously said the maximum size of an organization before it begins to fail is 11. He later upped it to 25. Greg Jackson turns even this unconventional wisdom on its head. Jackson has 1,200 employees and his company seems to work well because none are in HR or IT. I wish the article included more details about “how” other employees can handle such tasks.

Can a company with 1,200 employees really operate without HR and IT departments? Are managers and employees really going to learn to do those tasks? How? Can somebody in HR or IT enlighten us? What’s your take?



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  1. The link to the original article should probably be:

    • @Marshall: You’re right! Thanks for pointing it out. My gaffe, now fixed!

  2. The airline I used to work for did something like that. they merged HR, IT and facilities into a department called “infrastructure” so there was no HR, no IT, no facilities, just infrastructure. which in turn supplied the company the infrastructure it needed.

  3. Including my current job of 8 years, my last job had no HR or IT people. Granted, these are small time low shelf employers (25 employees). I’ve been looking for a new job for awhile now. I’ve seen more and more where small to even some mid-sized employers have no HR. Refreshing!!
    I think this last Great Recession took its toll of HR players right out of the playing field. That’s a good thing, in my book. This Brit just may be on to something.