A word from our Co-Founder and CEO Charlotte about our ‘why’.
‘’HR isn’t fun. It’s not an earner. HR is a burner, an obligated administrative responsibility. And therefore we won’t let HR grab a chair at the decision making table. HR is just standing in the corner, waiting for strategic decision to be made to act on. HR won’t guide us. It follows.’’
Not despite of. Because of.
That’s my summary of at least 70% of all leaders’ opinion about HR. I hope you belong to the 30% leaders who have already found out that this perception of HR doesn’t match the 21th century in which we are living, because HR isn’t just a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business. In fact, 73% of all failed scaleups stated that their main cause of failure was a lack of having the right (combination of) people on board.
Let’s think about some successful companies you know. The ones who dreamed big and actually became bigger. Those are the companies that were able to make the right investments. To turn the right costs into a solid ROI, allowing them to grow. A fun fact about scaling companies: On average 63-81% of the total monthly costs of these companies are personnel costs. Quite a large cost item, isn’t it?
These scaling companies didn’t managed to actually scale despite of these personnel costs, covering 63-81% of the total costs. They grew because of making these costs. Because they successfully invested in people.
That flipping point.
Founders start companies. They structure their ideas, turn these ideas into business plans and take the first step towards executing these plans. And right at that point, where you start executing your business plan, you will start realising that you’re in the need of great people, because you can’t do it all yourself. I call this the flipping point.
For me as a founder, this point on which you recognise that you can’t do it all alone, was a no-brainer, because me and my twin sister Fleur – with whom I started this company – were 21 years old when we reached this point, meaning that we had zero experience in how to successfully grow a tech company – and therefore heavily in the need of getting people on board to fill this gap.
And yes, in case you were wondering, it felt indeed like the most scary decision we ever made when we decided to get people on board. Not making this decision, however, would never allow us to really scale our business. To realise all the plans we had. And our plans were big from day one – we wanted to turn the HR tech market upside down and change the status quo. Even worldwide if possible. So you take the risk.
Or to be more precisely, you take the risks of allocating 61-81% of your total budget on people – hoping that these people understand your business and allow you to bring this business to the next level. And as we all know, budgets are tight in startups, so there’s barely room for some trial and error here. So you better make it worth it.
The misperception about people and teams.
If you’re still reading this, it means I triggered your interest. That hopefully also means that, at this point, we don’t need to discuss the value of people for your company anymore.
What we do need to discuss, however, is the misperception a lot of leaders still have when it comes to people. Or actually teams.
We talk about teams all the time. But actually we just talk about different people who happen to be a ‘team’ because of for instance their shared field of expertise. And it actually makes sense we do this, since the traditional HR mindset is heavily focused on individuals rather than teams. We hire individuals. We review individual performances. And we promote people individually.
Although it makes sense that we talk about teams this way, given the mindset we already have for decades, it’s actually pretty weird, because the sum of all individual performances doesn’t have to be equal to the group performance. Your best people individually might turn out the be the worst team when putting them together. This is why.
Let’s say you have three extremely talented people in your Business Development team or your Engineering team. What these three extremely talented people have in common as well is their actual talent, meaning that they master the same skills. When putting these three people together in a team to complete a tasks, they will overperform in certain aspects of this task, as a result of the skill(s) and personality traits they all three have, but they also lack of important skills and personality traits to complete the task successfully as a whole.
Building great team isn’t about having the most talented people. It’s about having the right combination of talents required to achieve the goals you have for this team as a whole.
This is the principle of Team Composition. Team Composition is the combination of skills, competencies and personality traits that the people in your team represent collectively. And this team composition is the one thing that determines your company’s growth curve, because different growth stages ask for different compositions: different people, different mindsets and different skills.
Our biggest enemy in our mission to scale.
Your team determines your growth curve. So in your mission to scale, the make or break factor is your team. But the biggest enemy in this mission to scale isn’t your team. It’s you.
Although we won’t admit it that easily, we (read: human beings) are the often the brake on our own growth. Because we are still the decision makers, especially when it comes to hiring decisions, tending to let our gut feeling grab a chair instead of letting data do the talking. So here’s what we do wrong.
First of all, we don’t always know what team composition we actually need for a specific growth stage. Secondly, we often don’t know our own team well enough. And finally, as a result of that, we don’t know which candidate is the best additional to our team. So we doubt and we lack of insights – and that’s the exact moment where gut feeling and instinct becomes leading in our decision making process. And although our (biased) instinct might help us out a lot in our daily life, in a people-related decision making process, it never will.
I truly believe in the power of teams, because I believe that execution is more important than having the best idea in the world. And for me, execution is equal to your team. And what I also truly believe is that data outsmarts our gut feeling in every people decision.
So that’s why we started building a Team Composition technology here at Equalture. Because we believe that data enables you to build the right team composition, and that’s all you need to scale. And since you reached this point and still keep reading, it’s time to be honest. HR can actually earn you money. Disliking HR due to the administrative tasks is the dumbest excuse you can have, because there are dozens of tools helping you easily automate this. And HR isn’t the outcome of your strategy. It is your strategy. Because your team is your company. Without a team that aims for the moon, you will never takeoff.
Co-Founder & CEO
Meet our team
Co-Founder & CEOLinkedin
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Damion de Wit