How to Scale Talent with Aptoide, Uniplaces and Talkdesk!
“We bring the best minds with the best real-life experiences when it comes to scaling up business. These are the heroes who took on the difficult odds and lived to tell the tale” — Randy Cantrell (host for ScaleUp Heroes Live)
Key Question 1
The job market nowadays especially in the IT area is extremely candidate driven. Armed with great talents, IT people can find better jobs and be selective in choosing the right jobs for them. What are the implications of this trend in the hiring process of companies?
Panelist 1 :
For our organization, it’s a different game if we are trying to attract talent in the tech space like for product designers, researchers, data scientists, engineers, etc. It’s indeed very candidate driven market. Our organization is constantly trying to attract talent that is not a local. It adds a layer of difficulty in getting talents to move at our head quarters. It’s a different scenario with other professionals like if we are trying to hire sales and marketing professionals. What we do is to reach for people who lives in the area. Another thing is in the tech space, when we’re looking for candidates, we speak to them for six months to a year until we get them to come over and work for us.
What do you think attracts these talents the most? How do you capture these top notch talents?
I would say it’s not easy. A lot of candidates are looking for remote or flexible type working so it’s something my organization is introducing this year. We noticed that this is a huge trend now and so we are adapting to the change especially for our tech team to be able to offer this type of work. We also highlight interesting technologies and our culture. The third thing is we need to keep up with market in terms of salary. It’s been a steep uphill battle so far especially for companies who are still on the scale up phase and potentially are not profitable yet. It’s also the same type of effort to retain the people that we have as it is to recruit new talent.
Our organization is aware of the shift in power from employer to job seekers so we took this as an opportunity to improve our hiring process. We are still considered a young company with six years in operation so our culture is still growing and being defined everyday. In this candidate driven market, we have aligned ourselves with an overall strategy to stay competitive. We act fast to hire fast. We avoid the long interview process. We also try to have a more diverse hiring process like doing panel interviews instead of going through 3 individual interviews. We also try to collect feedback fast and to give feedback fast on candidates so that we are not wasting anyone’s time.
Key Question 2
To retain talents in your organization, How do you make sure these talents love working with you?
First is to attract them and to have them onboard to talk to you. Do employee branding which is difficult to do if you are scaling and culture is still being defined in the process. To keep our talents happy, we need to set expectations and know what kind of people we want to bring onboard.
Having a strong solid recruitment process in which you attract the talents that are already connected to your culture is important. Over the years, the ideal time an employee stays with a company has grown shorter. So think about the ideal tenure and the ideal time someone stays in the same position. In which case, is particularly true in tech positions. Have something in place even an informal one because your team will want to know where they want to be and how they’re going to be there in a year or two. Next important thing is for your talents to have a special connection with the managers. I believe that the manager is key to provide that strong solid training and accompaniment to the generation of employees who wants to be a part of something impactful. Give room for everyone, from interns to the COO to contribute to the organization’s growth.
How do you reach out to your employees to refer other talents?
We start with our culture in order to sell the idea outside. If the employees pride themselves of working in the organization, then they can refer their colleagues or friends to work for us.
Key Question 3
What are the advantages and disadvantages of hiring talent internationally?
It’s not a choice, it’s a day to day thing that we deal with. Half of our staff doesn’t speak the local dialect so we have to speak English at work. We support and help these foreign talents going through the process of adjusting to the local culture and language barrier. The disadvantage is working the talent’s visas because of the bureaucracy.
We are learning everyday how to deal with foreign talents in our organization. This is something very new to us so we are finding ways to make things better. That moving from their country to our country is a positive experience for them. We are working on a strategy to streamline the hiring process for international talents. Our organization is trying to increase the diversity of our teams.
Key Question 4
Do you see the startups in Lisbon changing the bureaucratic process to make it easier for foreign workers to come work in the country?
I can’t predict the future but I think eventually the bureaucracy will lessen its hold as events like Web Summit and other related events play an important part in the startup business scene.
It’s definitely happening already. We’ve had some radical changes lately like the non-habitual resident status which means that people who move to Lisbon pay a third of the tax for ten years. We also have people in the government fund the startups who got Web Summit to come. We’re already seeing the revolution with tech companies and online based companies who are setting the standards at digitalizing work that even the big corporations are following the trend. I’ve also seen lots of people who left Lisbon to work at other countries’ tech scene are coming back.
Key Question 5
What process can you automate in the HR department? Does automation in HR have a future?
An ideal company for me is a company where HR is almost not needed. If managers are doing their jobs properly or if every person has a little bit of HR in them, then HR will have less work to do. In terms of automation, currently the tools that we use are becoming more user friendly as developers make them adaptable to the current times. We have payroll apps now accessible on smartphones. The reports and analytics are already automated. With the recruitment side, it’s still better to have a face-to-face interview but two thirds of our recruitment process is done at a distance. Then there’s the admin paper work. When I first started in HR, we have huge filing cabinets for that. Now it’s all on the hard drive and cloud. So automation in HR will only lessen the admin type of work and the function of the HR personnels will adapt to a more business centered roles which are strategic type roles.
I don’t think HR will lose their roles if the department is automated. Actually it will help HR increase productivity and level up the overall quality of admin work. In our organization, we are already in the process of implying automation technologies to recruitment. We are trying to limit the human interaction for key situations that are important to our people.
Do you agree that if managers are doing their job well, HR is less needed?
I agree that managers will be helpful because they have insights on the company and the teams and we can use that to bridge the gap between HR and the rest of the staff. It helps that there’s one gatekeeper, one key contact and usually that’s the manager’s role or someone who is senior at the team to decrease that gap.
Key Question 5
Have you encountered problems in the process of automation?
Yes, we have encountered problems as we were growing. We did a lot of things that were wrong like having a huge backlog of admin work. We tried to work on the backlogs as well as doing other work –related processes. We dealt with these problems and improved in the process.
Yes, we have problems as we were growing. I think what’s great with working in a startup environment is that necessity is the mother of invention. So when you don’t have a big team and you have to do everything, and at the same time you have to keep up with the company that is demanding a lot from you, particularly in terms of recruitment and also onboarding a large number of people, Automation is a necessity. In this case and you have to do it smartly, often with very few resources. It’s very challenging to get the most time-consuming parts of the job done so you can focus on the other areas. Now it’s a necessity to hire people who are proficient with tools, who are not afraid to try new things and who will dig Google to find things that are needed.
Key Question 6
What are the best HR hacks you can share ?
I once did a full performance management system for around 700 people on Google, on Google sites with forums and Google sheets and all of that because we had no budget to spend on a performance management system. It was a big hack then until it backfired because we had everyone delivering their performance appraisals and the system kept breaking down. A hack implies that there will be a few mishaps along the way but it’s also a gain because you were able to build something even without resources. Another trick is to make it simple as possible on the user side so that people don’t get bored with using very complicated tools.
When your organization is scaling, imagine when you have to work with a low budget to get things done. It’s very challenging to find things that will help work in performance appraisals which is a huge process so we had to put more work hours.
I think companies should think globally in terms of recruiting talents. Don’t limit yourself to a country or to a single talent pool. Be ready to expand horizons, and showcase your culture. Lastly, consider automating the HR processes and only retaining work that is impossible to delegate to a machine.