After working in the start-up world for a number of years, Andrew Humphries co-founded innovation accelerator company The Bakery in 2012. Driving his own personal interest in both mental and physical wellbeing into the business, Andrew is passionate about leading a healthy and happy workforce. The Bakery has 29 employees in the UK and around the world.
I wanted to create a business where, in a changing world, we could work with large corporates to understand the challenges they have in their business by introducing them to the best technology to help meet these challenges. To achieve this, our mission was, and still is, to discover new innovations and to get them to market as quickly as possible. We discovered a gap in the market, which The Bakery now fills, identifying entrepreneurial start-ups and helping them innovate with large corporates.
I am passionate about helping to develop all aspects of a start-up’s business, guiding them to grow and manage an expanding team, helping them to apply opportunity to their business through sales and marketing, as well as developing their technology. I feel proud that the business I’ve created solves other businesses’ problems and develops people’s understanding of the capabilities of the start-up community around the world.
There are a lot of things that are important to employee retention and helping them to feel good about work. In a small business, like The Bakery, your team needs to feel that they know what their place in the company is and how far they can go in the future. I find that away days and weekly social get-togethers help people learn about other areas of the business and are great for bonding and morale.
As well as general employee wellbeing and sense of belonging, I have a passionate interest in the self-management of mental health. At The Bakery we use a coaching start-up called Sanctus, which enables SME employees to benefit from corporate life coaching ─ something you usually only have access to in a larger company. Sanctus provides a much broader set of coaching capabilities so people can benefit from whatever area of their life they might need coaching for ─ both professional and personal.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer completely out of the blue, which was a real knock as I’ve always been relatively fit and healthy. I’m thankful that I can call myself a cancer survivor but it has made me more conscious of becoming ill and how it impacts both myself and my team.
There can sometimes be an incorrect underlying attitude that taking time off for illness doesn’t make you a good employee; it is important to encourage staff not to struggle in to their desks when they’re not well and allow time for recovery.
A big passion is helping young people build on things such as their emotional intelligence, which has the potential to help to make them happier people and allows them to enjoy their lives more.
I came to understand the importance of mental wellbeing and happiness quite late on in life which drove me to start something called the Attitude Academy, a social enterprise which coaches young people in schools using some of the world’s best business coaches and businesses ─ it’s an important passion of mine outside The Bakery.
In my free time, I sing in a band and I’ve even restored a number of old wooden boats. I love the concept of painting and varnishing an old boat, enjoying the slower sailing experience rather than going as fast as possible. In my younger years, I was also passionate about gliding ─ I even bought a share in a glider built in 1944 and flew it all around the country!