From board rooms to SaaS & Zooms: Ceri Jury’s journey to launching Advancer
Ceri Jury is the founder and CEO of Advancer. With over 20 years of people development, HR & change management experience with scaling businesses through to large enterprise, Ceri brings a wealth of practical experience.
We were pretty excited to discover that she has bundled this experience into a highly accessible SaaS platform to help business owners, CEOs and managers get HR confident. We sat down with her to learn more about the woman behind the brand and hear what she recommends for business leaders as we lead into COVID recovery.
You’ve achieved so much in your career but tell us, who is Ceri Jury the person?
I’m originally from the UK and have been here for 21 years. I have two kids and spend my spare time running around after them.
What is something that not many people know about you?
I speak French.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
Living in Australia rather than the UK, I think it could be that I speak French!
What are you currently watching/reading/listening to?
Watching Succession with my husband and reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, I’m not listening to anything at the moment but have ‘Teachers Pet’ lined up ready to go (it’s a bit old, but I hear it’s great!)
Who is your professional inspiration?
I once had a boss who was an amazing leader and managed to ensure everyone around her developed to their maximum potential. Her name is Lyn Rowland, she’s not famous, but she is fabulous!
What’s on repeat with your work playlist right now?
My husband and I share an office and he has control of the music. We never listen to the same thing twice!
What’s your most recommended HR resource for business owners and leaders (could be a book, podcast etc)?
I believe that the best thing that business owners can do is maximise the potential of the staff who work for them. To this end, understanding what makes them tick and gives them energy is key. Belbin team roles is a behavioural tool that can assist in the development of high performance teams. The tool is affordable, and the company provides free resources which helps smaller businesses that don’t have as much financial resources to spare.
You spent years crafting an Executive Leadership career in Human Resources and Organisational Change before launching Advancer. What is Advancer and what inspired you to launch this business?
Advancer is a virtual human resource and business strategy company that works with leaders to achieve business and people growth. Having worked mainly in large government organisations, I was inspired to work for myself to experience a leaner, more agile work environment which enables me to have a bigger impact on ensuring the change businesses want is achieved in a faster more efficient manner.
How has it evolved since your husband, Llew joined the company?
Llew brings entrepreneurial business experience that ultimately benefits clients. His experience as the entrepreneur in residence for River City Labs provides greater access to the fast growing start up community in Brisbane and enables us to ‘pay it forward’ as a company by helping leaders out in areas they have no experience in. Having him in the business makes me more accountable. He thinks differently to me so having two heads work though solutions is far better than one.
The last few months have been a wild ride for many businesses, as they grapple with changing market conditions and remote work requirements. What have you noticed, and how have the best leaders and companies navigated these challenges?
The biggest impact on culture I have experienced is the way businesses treated their staff on the way into lockdown. Businesses who were flexible and tried to keep their staff on for as long as possible, treated them with respect and dignity when they had to make a tough call will reap the rewards now as employees stay loyal and will be more likely to go the extra mile for them. Obviously there was an increase in people working from home and this is likely to continue for a while even when all the restrictions are lifted. Some of the key things I told people to do in this situation was to ensure their Workplace Health and Safety obligations were met, we have a checklist on our website that was actually developed by the government that people can download. The best employers also reduced anxiety in the workforce by ensuring that communication throughout the lockdown was very clear and the expectations they had of their staff were equally clear. Staff knew what was expected of them and by when. Where possible, enabling flexibility about when the work had to be done (i.e. working hours were flexible) also reduced the potential for stress).
What are the enduring changes that you think we’ll see beyond COVID recovery?
I think people may review what they consider to be important to them. We may see more people looking for part time work and certainly people looking to work more flexibly. Technology will play a larger part but is unlikely to completely replace the face to face meetings and activities. I think whilst some people will bounce out of restrictions with gusto there will be a group who will be more cautious and choose to remain more isolated than not. With this in mind we must be mindful as we progress not to judge the cohort to which we don’t belong and create a culture of ‘those who come to work and those who don’t’ which can be very damaging.
Do you have any recommendations on how managers and leaders can keep their teams connected whilst working remote, as this seems to be something that will continue long term?
At the start of the lockdown, Advancer launched a platform called Socially that runs virtual events. At this stage it is run on Facebook and people can access it for free. Events such as fitness sessions, cooking classes and competitions have featured heavily. We are in the process of pivoting that part of the business into a platform that can be used by businesses as a tool to ensure their staff can participate in events with their work colleagues (they can be work related or fun) so that they do not become isolated. This platform offers a lot more than work related platforms such as Zoom to keep people connected.
Do you have any tips for business owners and leaders as we move into the new financial year?
Your staff are the key to your success, treat them right and they will help you achieve your outcomes. Advancer has an online tool that businesses can use to check that they are compliant in their people management initiatives. For example, appropriate contracts, contemporary policies and procedures, workplace health and safety is up to standard strategy in place and so forth. Above and beyond compliance is to create and maintain an excellent culture where people want to come to work everyday.
What is next for you?
I’m drafting a short ebook designed to help small businesses with their people management, it is designed to be a ‘go to’ resource before making key decisions from when to hire or who to hire, through how have difficult conversations to end the working relationship.
A big thank you to Ceri for providing her insights in our monthly industry leader Q&A! Want to learn more? Get in touch with Advancer and make sure you connect on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. Read more of our blogs here.