Four organisations share strategies for successfully expanding across
By Simon Kent
Over the last year, Deliverect’s employee count has quadrupled from 50 to 200 employees across nine markets including EMEA. An integration platform for food delivery, the organization has advertised between 20 and 30 roles each month. According to their head of people Jennifer Gardener, whilst the pandemic has affected access to talent, being precise and tailored about their needs has delivered success.
“We understand that whilst each candidate is the one being interviewed, we also need to demonstrate why they should want to work with us,” she says. “The way we engage with each candidate from initial contact to the final decision is a huge indicator of how we operate as a business. This way, we find people that are just as passionate about our mission as we are about their prospect and growth at Deliverect.”
Recruiting for both commercial and technical roles, Gardener explains that recruitment techniques for this growing company are often as unique as the roles they are trying to fill. The ability to be flexible in their approach is just one benefit of being a small, agile, growing company.
“We find advertising openings on social media is the best tool to differentiate ourselves from other existing companies recruiting in a similar space,” she says. “It’s also really important for us to highlight our work culture. We believe in employee autonomy and whilst most organisations have only just gotten to grips with remote working in the last year, it’s in Deliverect’s DNA. Since the very beginning, we’ve implemented a hybrid model, whereby our team members are given full control over when they come into the office versus working from home or in another remote location.”
Sarah-Jane McQueen is the general manager of the UK arm of Candlefox, an expanding branch of an education marketing brand established in Australia. Whilst smaller than their APAC counterpart, McQueen explains that having the parent company gives them an advantage when explaining opportunities to candidates. “Our recruitment process is similarly aligned from the job specification through to assessment of candidates to match the best practices we’ve harnessed in Australia,” she explains.
Being a part of a global business as well as a small growing enterprise can offer candidates the best of both worlds. “Our attraction strategy emphasises the fact that we have the small and personable nature of a start-up, whilst enjoying the support of our parent company as we develop our presence across the UK,” says McQueen.
“We’ve also always been very keen to ensure that the business is constantly reinvesting in its employees and that they come to work every day full of optimism,” she adds. “Everything from our work environment to our socials is tailored to fit what their preferences are and a lot of our business decisions are only taken once everyone has had the opportunity to have their say.”
This ability to have a direct impact on the business and to be closely involved in nearly everything is a game-changer, says Stacey Kane, business development lead at drainage and building suppliers EasyMerchant. “In our company, we provide newcomers the flexibility to think imaginatively because the status quo isn’t set in stone yet,” she says. “We’re a lot more receptive to supporting innovative thinking and embracing unorthodox ideas. Furthermore, newcomers work directly with our CEO and other senior executives, which helps them gain industry knowledge and a better grasp of how firms operate, which they may utilise to become better workers in the future.”
Sarah Fern, chief people officer at global expansion solutions provider Velocity Global notes that with workers no longer tied to an office, city, or even a country, the challenge is to ensure the remote working experience is positive for newcomers.
“For sectors like tech that are constantly evolving, this creates a unique challenge beyond just finding where the talent lies globally, but also to create an environment where remote employees will thrive,” she says. “Gone are the days of 20-year careers with one employer and it’s on us to stay relevant by challenging ourselves to make sure people feel heard and understood. This process will become the norm for HR professionals who are designing the global remote strategies for the growth of their firms and reaching out to talent beyond borders.”
Paula Parfitt, EVP of Cielo, agrees. “Even before the pandemic, we were seeing a clear trend for candidates valuing purpose and culture above remuneration,” she says. “We expect that this trend will continue, so the ability to create a sense of joint vision and mission across a virtual community will need to remain a key focus for those companies who want to attract the best people, and ultimately keep them.”
Parfitt echoes the views from frontline HR staff that expanding businesses need to be clear who their ideal candidate is for a particular position. “By focusing on persona driven talent engagement from the start, expanding businesses are much more likely to attract, retain, and develop talented, commercially minded people who strive to achieve the best for themselves and the business,” she says.
Naturally the opportunities and challenges of a fast-growing business will appeal to some people more than others, and likewise, some people are simply not suited to the agility and pace of a rapidly expanding business. “The trick is to create your messaging to attract the people who will thrive and will truly advance your organization, and one way to do this is to focus on a more holistic offering rather than just salaries and benefits,” says Parfitt.
Effectively targeting recruitment campaigns is also paramount so companies need to know where their candidates are, what they will engage with, and how they can be attracted.
Deliverect’s Gardener confirms her business still offers competitive rewards, benchmarked globally to make sure they stay ‘above par’ in each of the markets where they operate. “We’re not big on hierarchy, so our company structure is relatively flat and we’re using our open and transparent company culture to help us ascertain what candidates and existing employees want by simply listening,” she says. “We also organise regular feedback sessions to foster open and honest discussions about compensation and benefits.”
As the battle for talent increases as the pandemic decreases, the trick may be for all companies—regardless of size or growth aspirations—to be able to use these kind of approaches to attract and retain the talent they need as their markets return.