For any company this presents two related but distinct challenges: how to attract the best talent possible and how to maintain your culture in the face of rapid change.
“I used to think culture was a buzzword,” says co-founder and CEO Anil Stocker, “But culture can really make or break how a business succeeds.”
Growth presents particular problems to a leader as their role changes and their responsibilities increase. While Stocker has done aspects of every role, from sales to recruitment, PR and development, his focus is now on strategic aims.
He says: “As a leader you quickly realise that with 35 people in the company you can’t have everyone reporting into you yourself – and it’s not a very good system to have just one central point.”
Instead he has a senior team, his ‘war room’ of seven people who report directly to him, but he says that it’s crucial when putting such a structure in place to make sure you don’t damage the company culture.
“It’s still very flat,” he says. “I’m very much available for everyone – anyone can come up to me and suggest something so we’re trying to keep up that atmosphere.”
Culture is valuable internally for the successful operation of the company, but can also be a valuable differentiator when it comes to seeking talented employees. While some workers will just go after the highest-paid offer on the table, others can be enticed towards an entrepreneurial company with a great atmosphere.
Lawrencia Oppong, MarketInvoice’s new head of talent acquisition, seems to relish the challenge of bringing staff into high-growth tech companies, having previously worked at Expedia, Lebara, Skype and Eventbrite.
She says that startups are facing a battle for talent as California’s giants are increasingly coming to London to set up an EMEA HQ – and scooping up much of the best staff in the process.
“If you’re looking for a, say, really good engineer, they will have two or three offers on the table,” she says. “There has to be fundamentally something more than money which makes them move on.”
This can be about giving them a great product to work on, but ensuring they have an exciting, enjoyable culture to participate in is also important.
This is clearly in evidence speaking to MarketInvoice staff. Matt Cooper, head of business development, says: “I realised at the tail-end of 8 or 9 years in the City that I didn’t really like the person I’d become and so I took some time out and started working in smaller businesses.”
Share this story