Running a business without HR, Pipeline Summit conclusions.

pipeline summit

Once again in the middle of May this year I have had the pleasure to attend Pipeline Summit conference targeted at … sales people. Why? The participants and speakers of Pipeline Summit are representatives of very innovative companies. Companies where the customer goes first, where sales are based on understanding and satisfying the real needs of the customer and not by the sellers good at “selling sand in the desert.” These are companies where the business can do without HR (and they do it pretty well). Why do I find it useful to follow the trends that appear in these companies? These are companies of the future, quickly responding to changes in the world around us, the preferences of our customers and the needs of our employees who are able to respond to these expectations very well. As Richard Branson says, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” These are companies where there is no “HR-responsible” person. The managers of particular teams and departments deal with the recruitment process and employees motivation.

What is a common feature of the companies present on Pipeline Summit (many of them are successful startups or software houses)? It is their readiness to approach to the employing and motivating workers issues in an equally innovative way, such as to the customer service or sales. They work beyond the clichés, ready to test and verify everything that works and everything that doesn’t. They are open to use the tools to facilitate processes. What are the key conclusions from the lectures and talks with Pipeline Summit participants that you should know?

1. Hire slowly, fire quickly

The principle proclaimed among others by Jim Collins (I highly recommend his book “From Good to Great” if you haven’t read it yet) was implemented for example in Trello team. Kristen Habacht, VP of Sales at Trello, said that usually, a team consisting of a few people took part in the process of recruiting to Trello. When they must decide whether to hire a person or not, the main principle is the principle of unanimity of all team members in the field of the recruited employee. At the same time, it must be unanimous in a very determined way, “maybe” means “no” – Kristen said. The main competence of candidates searched for at Trello is customer centricity. Therefore, dealers are checked in terms of the ability to find themselves in a non-standard situation a Trello customer may have, instead of “please, sell me this pen” role-playing during the recruitment.

And if so far you have associated Trello only with the system for managing tasks and projects … then you need to know that the Trello team uses Trello to … employee onboarding process. This is the place where all the information and tasks that a new employee should know are kept to make sure his/her onboarding process goes smoothly and in an engaging manner for the employee.

2. You are the person who knows the best who should be hired

Lucjan Samulowski from DocPlanner (a Polish startup that enables people to make online appointments at the doctor has just won another funding round worth € 15mln) commented during Pipeline Summit that no one knew better than you who you needed for the team. In other words, it is far better to determine some internal, proven ways to choose the right candidate rather than to entrust that process to the third party. Also in DocPlanner the process of hiring for managerial positions and for ones connected with business development is not quick and sourcing of carefully selected candidates (including their business cards and social media presence) as well as reaching them directly are definitely the best ways here.

3. It is not worth recruiting “stars” that don’t match the team

This conclusion was drawn by the representatives of the numerous software houses participating in the conference. They talked a lot about how much they were disappointed while hiring an experienced person who impressed them during the recruitment process with his/her expert knowledge but from the beginning, he/she did not match the company in terms of work culture and values. I am very happy to hear that, it is already another argument for in this subject. Not everyone can work in any environment and adapt a candidate to the company’s organizational culture is just as important as the candidate’s “hard” skills.

4. Develop references of your employees because they are a great source of “applications”

A lot companies have very positive experience with a more or less formalised employee referral program. It does not sound surprising for me. Nobody understands better who your company is really looking for than your current employees. In addition, there is no better recommendation for a company than a recommendation from a current employee. Have you ever wondered how many of your employees would recommend your company to their friends as a good place to work in? What aspects of working in your company make your employees do it and what prevents them from doing so? If you would like to check it out, we will do it for you, just contact us: marta @ greatdigital.

5. Innovative companies don’t need HR, business itself deals with the recruitment process

During Pipeline Summit I heard the phrase “recruiting the right people for the team is too serious to entrust it to recruiters” plenty of times. What certainly is a good aspect about this approach is that in companies that have been successful on the market (these are not small businesses, they hire 100 employees or more), employees are already such an important “resource” that a strategic approach to people is of great importance. The person in charge of this area is often the representative of the board of directors or the person responsible for the business development. It is his/her main responsibility, not just an additional one. What are the reasons for this approach? What may be its consequences in the future … Please consider them on your own.

6. HR processes can be successfully optimised with the help of numerous applications

There are many tools supporting your work available on the market (even if they were not devoted to HR). It is important that you properly adapt them to your needs and at the time of implementation, you should take care of the proper campaign to encourage employees to use the tool (yes, such projects are also made at Great Digital). So you can use Trello for employee onboarding, Google Forms to get feedback from employees or Podio as ATS allowing you to control applications submitted by candidates.

I strongly believe that if you wonder where HR is headed now … I can definitely recommend you to take a look at the next edition of Pipeline Summit and hear how fast-growing businesses do without HR. There is no such thing as HR any more. Managers of particular departments are responsible for the people who work in a company as well as how they do it. So what do you think?

PS. And if you want to know what recruitment process startups have, check out the previous Pipeline Summit here.

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