Why this CEO makes his performance review public

Webmart’s Simon Biltcliffe runs his business as a ‘Marxist capitalist’.

by Kate Bassett

Simon Biltcliffe founded print services firm Webmart in 1996 using £10,000 of his own savings. Now, with a “preposterously yellow” HQ in Oxfordshire plus offices in Yorkshire and London, he employs 42 staff and turns over £25m. He’s never borrowed money – and he’s never been in the red. He explains how he’s combined Marxist and capitalist principles to build the business.

On ‘Marxist capitalism’:

It’s a pretty simple, coherent way of looking at the world. At Webmart, we use capitalism to create value (intellectually, emotionally and financially). And then we use Marxist principles to redistribute surplus wealth back to the people who deserve it – the “Webmarteers”. This is about working for the people, not just those at the top who have everything. 

On hiring new people:

First, we’ll have a 10-minute Skype chat with potential new recruits. That’s fairly Darwinian: if you’re not comfortable and cool with tech, you’re not the right fit for Webmart. Next, there’s a psychometric test followed by a team interview. If you get through that, you’ll be interviewed by me. All new starters are asked to send in a one-minute video on who they are and what they’re all about (which gets shared with the whole company), we’ll stick their photo up on the wall, and everyone will welcome them.  This is a company that feels different and acts differently.

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