As soon as possible stages of building a startup, it can be difficult to justify focusing on anything other than creating a great product or service and meeting the needs of customers or users. However, there are still a number of foolproof steps that any early-stage business can and do. should set up to achieve success with “people deals” as they scale, according to talented partners at venture capital firm Atomico, Caro Chayot and Dan Hynes.
You need to recruit for what you need, but you also need to think through what to expect.
As members of the VC’s operational support team, both work closely with the companies in the Atomico portfolio to “find, develop and retain” the best employees in their respective fields, at different stages of the business. They are operators at heart and they bring a wealth of experience from the time spent before entering VC.
Prior to joining Atomico, Chayot led the HR EMEA team at Twitter, where she helped grow the company from two to six markets and grew the team from 80 people based in London to 500 in the region. Previously, she worked at Google in human operations for nine years.
Hynes was responsible for talent and staffing at well-known technology companies including Google, Cisco and Skype. At Google, he grew the EMEA team from 60 people based in London to 8,500 across Europe in 2010, and at Skype, he led a talent pool that grew from 600 to 2,300 in three years. .
Caro Chayot’s top 3 tips
1. Think about your organization’s design for the long term (18 months later) and hire again from there
When Most Founders Think About Hiring, They Think About What They Need now and the gaps that exist in their team at that time. Dan and I help the founders see it a little differently. You need to recruit for what you need, but you also need to think through what to expect. What will your business look like in a year or 18 months? The functions and size of the teams will depend on the industry – whether you’re building a marketplace, a SaaS business, or a mainstream business. Founders also need to think about how the employees they hire can grow over the next 18 months. If you hire people who are at their best now, they won’t be able to become the employees you need in the future.
2. Spend time defining your culture. Use it for hiring and everything else related to people
If organizational design is the ‘what’, then culture is the ‘how’. It is about defining values and principles. It might sound fluffy, but understanding what it means to work in your business is key to hiring and retaining the best talent. You can use clearly articulated values at each stage of talent development to shape your employer brand. How do you want potential employees to feel when they see your website? What do you want to look for in the interview process to make sure you’re hiring people who add to the culture? How do you develop people and pay them? These are all expressions of culture.