Sebastiaan van den Ouweelen is Talent Leader & Founder of SCLR and has worked at various scale-ups like Backbase and Mambu throughout their hyper-growth phase.

For years, finding good people has become increasingly difficult. I’ve worked in HR and Recruitment for many years, both in-company and as a freelance consultant, at fintech and tech companies going through hyper-growth. Upscaling their teams is a top priority to keep up with the increasing demand for their service. 

To find the right people for your company, you need to know exactly what your company needs in the long term. In this article, I’ll explain the 10 steps you can take to ascertain all the needs and hire the best people at the right time. I’ve broken the steps down into sets of 5 from a strategic POV and an actionable one.


Harness company culture

Over the past years, I’ve led Talent functions in multiple tech scale-ups, of which some went through “hyper-growth”, expanding up to 900% in 3 years. When start-ups evolve into a scale-up environment, they want to replicate what made them successful. I believe a company's culture is the glue that keeps it all together. Processes can be re-written, structures adjusted, and strategies altered, but the company culture often drives a small group of talented individuals to make a start-up a success. To make sure that I can harness that company culture, I spent a lot of time with founders, senior leadership, and other talents with valuable IP (Intellectual Property). To know and work out how the Talent function can support a company’s growth ambitions, you will have to know where it needs to go.


I believe a company's culture is the glue that keeps it all together.


Five-year plan

It’s not just about hiring more people to do more work; it’s also crucial for a company to reassess their internal structures and know what kind of company they want to be. I always ask founders about their five-year plan for their organisation and what employer brand fits them. Going from a start-up to a large corporation requires a whole different set of company values combined with new procedures to lead to their success. Any company needs to set these out because this will help them not only to attract talent but also to keep talents. A start-up that goes into a scale-up phase often experiences many changes in the company structure and its underlying procedures. The company goes from a “day-by-day, case-by-case and worth-of-mouth situation” into a phase of growth where operations can be replicated and scaled.


Not about more people doing more things

So first things first, it’s essential to tackle it all in the correct order. Growth should not be about more people doing more things. It’s about how companies are scaling what they do, how they do it and where they stand while upholding the company values. When you hire new people, they bring their unique experiences, personality and cultural background. It’s up to the talent acquisition teams to ensure that these fit within the existing teams – whether they are similar to the current staff or bring something new to positively spice things up. I always clarify that any business's success depends on setting objectives and guiding talent towards achieving those shared objectives. An effective strategy in driving talent towards goals relies on creating and following comprehensive guidelines. It allows businesses to set expectations, train talent and move them towards the business objectives.