At Work: Human resources - My top tips - Ian Clayton, assistant chief executive (HR), Encams

RECRUIT THE BEST: Lord Sieff, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer, once famously said that the most important asset any company has is its people. That adage applies most of all in the third sector, so it is vital that you begin by recruiting the best person for the job - and do not settle for the best of a bad bunch.

GET THEM INVOLVED: Once they're on board, it is crucial that you make them feel fully involved. Every day spent inducting a new employee is equal to how many years' service they will eventually give you. Part of that process should be to introduce them to your codes of behaviour.

CREATE A RESPECTFUL ENVIRONMENT: Once you've established a framework, you can give them the freedom to get on with the job. Here at Encams, we encourage our employees to respect one another, and our philosophy is "do unto others as you would have done unto you". Saying "thank you" or "well done" costs nothing, but is so rewarding. A previous employer of mine would always wish you a good weekend on a Friday and ask you how it had been come Monday morning. He took an interest - and even when yours is a large organisation where it can only be done in small doses, that really matters.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO LET PEOPLE GO: Some charities might find this advice less palatable: never be afraid to get rid of someone who does not fit. Do it properly, of course, since in the long run it is in the organisation's and employee's best interests.

HAVE A LAUGH: Work is a serious business, but my final tip is to never lose your sense of humour. There is a ripple of laughter throughout the office as I am writing this: although Encams employees are striving to create a cleaner, safer, greener world, they also know that laughter is the best medicine.

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