People & Culture Breakfast Roundtable Notes
Learnitect and Ignite recently hosted a breakfast roundtable with People Ops representatives from over 30 fast growth tech companies including Iwoca, Gousto, GoCardless, Bulb, Farfetch, Appear Here, Yieldify, Makers Academy and many more. We’ve written up our notes below for anyone that didn’t make it, and if you’d like to come to the next one, please email either Ed or Boris.
Recognise that recruitment is a selling process.
Clarify the employee value proposition with help from the founders. Ensure you include long term upside potential. Actively communicate this.
Employee videos get a great response. You can feature:
What people are doing day to day
What attracted existing employees to your company
BUT, team must be engaged and willing to help(!)
Talks and meetups are great way to develop awareness for your company as an employer:
Making it clear that the company supports this can encourage more people to think about it
Providing an opportunity for people to give their talks internally allows them to practice
Blog posts can work well, and can also be written by people throughout the business
Making sure that candidates have a good experience whether or not they are made an offer is super important as this affects employer brand:
Assign them a buddy to keep them engaged and give them feedback
Get feedback from them on the quality of interviews
Give them feedback on what went well and not so well
Have clear timelines for the process and stick to them
Treat them with respect
Canva is a good resource to create graphics
Assign a cost to recruitment process i.e. opportunity cost of each hire going through the pipeline. This allows you to trade off internal vs. external resources
Codify your values early and recruit against them to develop the company culture and avoid bad hires
Define your culture and what this means during recruitment process
Provide guidance on how to test for it, and make sure this is followed
Bulb provided examples here
Standardise and centralise recruitment to scale and enforce consistent quality
Provide interview training for all your managers
Make it clear who has the decision to hire. You might want to use Bain’s RAPID framework
Assign objectives for each stage of the interview
Consider creating trial days for the candidate to work at your office
Graduates & Apprentices
A few people had tried apprentices and placement students; impressed with Whitehat but didn’t hire due to lack of resources to train and attitude and culture fit of apprentices.
Soft skills are more important in hires than hard skills. i.e. look for ability to take feedback, compassion and willingness to learn.
People don’t know what they don’t know if learning on the job, so you need to have a clear learning pathway for people to follow
Graduates will also need to be coached on what the culture means for them so that they grow into it
Client facing jobs tend not to suit graduates as they need experience to be credible, and in contrast clearly defined functional roles tend to work well
Defining values has to be a collective process:
Use small groups to brainstorm words that people associate with the company.
Group these into a small number of themes
Convert these themes into expected behaviours within the company
Pass all communications and people processes (especially recruiting) through values
Aim is to codify existing behaviour, not create new behaviours
Values cannot be generic but must be unique to the business
Much easier to codify values early:
Fewer people to input into them
Becomes self perpetuating
Fewer process to update afterwards, and less marketing collateral will need updating
Really important to make sure the leadership team are connected to the team
Values need to be connected to performance management process too
Netflix culture deck
Rewriting job specs to avoid gendered language
Example words that increase proportion of men applying: “smashing it”, “ninja”, “competitive”
Example words that increase proportion of women applying: “collaborative”, “supportive”
More examples here
Bulb say applications from females jumped from 24-30% doing this
Increasing number of minority applicants makes it easier to prevent positive discrimination
Clarifying and communicating your company’s vision often helps attract female candidates
Diversity also includes diversity of background. Look outside tech for candidates with the right mindset rather than just for technical skills alone.
// PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
Performance management needs to fit overall people strategy:
Match company values and culture
Fit with company goals or OKRs
Provide development plan for individuals
Happen on a regular basis
Important to communicate the goals and process for performance management well, and ensure managers get sufficient training in how to apply it
Radical candor is a popular framework for honest, caring feedback
360s are a good way to get feedback from across organisation
Ad hoc informal feedback can have the most impact at changing people’s behaviours
Encouraging regular informal coffee chats among team members enables better information flow
Need to think about how you calibrate feedback across different departments
Consider getting coaches for top performers (recommendation: ‘Coach in a Box’)
Exit people the right way if they are no longer a good fit with the business
We develop outstanding leadership at the world's fastest growing digital businesses. We organise programmes that pull together high potential team leads from different companies and teach them the skills they need to be excellent managers, as well as provide them with a network of peers for continued development. We make rising stars more productive, more professional and feel more valued. More information on our website.
Part of the Bright Network, Ignite.jobs connects top performing graduates directly with the UK's top employers. The Bright Network is home to 120,000+ of the brightest students and graduates, focusing on the top 20% academics with an average 300+ UCAS points. All Ignite members are recent graduates wanting to join a high growth business.