By: Brian Hostetter
In light of Uber’s sexual harassment scandal, there’s a a few lessons to be learned for fast-growing companies, especially when it comes to HR — it’s about human capital, not large-scale talent recruitment. Startup leaders need to be savvy when it comes to human capital, or else it will be too late.
Let’s take a look at some of the top mistakes fast-growing companies like startups and unicorns make, and some tips on how to avoid them.
In fast-growing companies, HR can commonly be designed and staffed to provide the “services” that are most visible to leadership, which is usually large-scale recruiting. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “If risky managerial behavior is tolerated while HR is focused on recruitment, that behavior becomes accepted.” It’s essential to organizational growth and value that checks and balances are established early.
Your company’s core values, vision and mission are a great tool for strategic planning and scaling by design, rather than a headcount. Unfortunately, many companies only go as far as hanging them on the walls, but never actually follow them. Core values need to be brought to life as often as possible by incentivizing your employees, and recognizing and rewarding employees who follow them.
Quite often in fast-growing startups and unicorn companies, HR gets hired too late and stays understaffed for a long time. This makes HR unable to perform its duties to the fullest, which is taking care of people and team performance, as well as maintaining happiness and satisfaction. There should be at least one HR manager for every 50 people.
CEOs and boards can easily overlook basic personnel tasks, being attracted to bright and shiny objects like agile culture, holacracy, best-place-to-work lists or a cool physical space. “The key is to maintain your long-term love affair with the problems you need to solve and the business you are here to serve.”
The root of the problem in all of these mistakes is that the company isn’t focused on the basic needs of their employees. With an employee focus, you can scale your company’s success with a strong company culture.
Along with the benefits of a company-wide, employee-focused culture, emphasizing learning in your culture can have tangible payoffs as well. According to a study by Bersin at Deloitte, high-performing learning organizations are 92% more likely to innovate, 46% more likely to be first to market, 58% more prepared to meet future demand and 37% of their employees experience more productivity:
Too often, startup leaders view such investments as costly training on things that seem to be ‘common sense’ or issues that they can afford to get around to later. But taking a strategic approach by implementing a learning culture can make engaging your employees and risk mitigation easy.
L&D gamification: By gamifying online training topics like compliance, audit preparation and cultural inclusion/diversity, your employees will be more motivated to learn and retain information. Gamified elements, such as leaderboards and badges, can also be applied to your learning management system (LMS).
Peer mentorship & leadership development: Not only does a peer mentorship provide new hires a collaborative, comfortable outlet for on-boarding, it can also provide current employees (especially those pursuing a management position) with leadership opportunities to teach new hires.
Tuition reimbursement opportunities: Providing growth opportunities, such as tuition reimbursement for your employees, has been proven to make them more committed to their company and are more engaged in their job. Our client, JetBlue, is setting the stage for a cost-effective tuition reimbursement model with their program JetBlue Scholars. Check out the case study here.
We invite you to check out our services to see if there’s anything we can help you with! Webanywhere provides learning platforms and custom content solutions, and can partner with you with to nurture a learning culture within your company.
Brian Hostetter is a Senior Account Executive at Webanywhere who is passionate about employee training and development, leadership and HR/HCM technology. Brian connects with L&D professionals on a daily basis helping them find the right learning platforms and content solutions to meet their precise needs.