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How Do You Become a Hyper Growth Company?

By wwong
Apr. 18, 2016

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked the following question…well, I’d have enough to buy a nice dinner, but not quite enough for a nice car:

How does Appnovation Technologies continually employ talented individuals from often diluted pool of candidates, in a way that supports, sustains and enables the growth of the company?”

To put this into context, we’re talking about 654% growth over the past five years – not small potatoes.

Unfortunately , there is no simple answer, yet I never get tired of the question. When I look at why, I find that there are many different contributory factors. Crucially, our leadership team works to our carefully developed, expertly implemented, and always strategically executed business plan; essentially based on the ‘Rockefeller Habits’ framework.

Put simply, our business plan is designed to encourage alignment and simplicity which, in turn, provides clarity to our strategies; getting the right (and the best) people, achieving our long-term goals, while identifying and solidifying our long and short term business focus.  

By employing this framework, we create a road map, which guides us towards the ultimate goal for every position that we need to fill: Ensuring that we understand who the right person is, why they are the perfect fit, and how we can ensure that they excel in all that they do for the company. It’s a positive goal for both the person and our company, perhaps that is why it works. This approach is also why we are able to secure, as well as retain such talented team members.

We always let the business set the pace and follow up with continued implementation of our human capital plan, a values-based, employee-centred program. What is the purpose of our plan? We aim to support and engage employees through our four strategic ‘talent pillars’:

Though a rapidly growing company, we are mindful that we do not focus all our energy on any particular one of these pillars. For instance, if we focus exclusively on acquiring talent (or any one of the pillars, at the cost of another), we risk people leaving on the back end, due to the lack of focus on engaging and nurturing our existing talent.

The ‘revolving door’ syndrome of people in and people out, sends shivers down our collective corporate spine. It’s an ‘avoid at all costs’ situation, which erodes the quality of the company. The key assumption of our human capital plan is to inspire our workforce to achieve personal and collective greatness. Ultimately, this translates to where individuals can use their talents to compliment our corporate strategy. This is where ‘talent organization' pillar comes in; ensuring that we employ and deploy all staff members in a way, which optimises their, and our success.

When I talk about success, I mean both the personal development of our staff and the achievement of stellar growth oriented business results. When it comes to team and culture we are a company that simply gets stuff done.  To support this mentality, as an example, our Talent & Culture department lives by a simple, but effective creed:

In all our endeavors, we never devalue the importance of communicating as a company. Using PULSE, our employee engagement survey,  and UPWARD, our management feedback survey, we are able to continuously improve what, how, and when we communicate with our global workforce. Geography should never be used as an excuse to not communicate.

Our ‘talent acquisition’ pillar is another element of success that we can’t underestimate the importance of. From a 30-day coffee chat follow up with our in-house talent acquisition specialist, to ongoing conversations, we always want to nurture after acquisition. One without the other is simply not sustainable. We continuously seek to involve the entire team in reinforcing and refining our company story and employer brand.

Next, comes the all-important ‘talent cultivation’ pillar. One simply can’t put a tangible figure on the value of learning and development. To highlight this, we created Appno-U, designed to establish and maintain a company-wide approach to technical knowledge sharing for techs like Drupal & MuleSoft, leadership learning, and overall in-house people development. This is a simple, yet effective way to cement growth and engagement in our internal community.

Last, but by no means least, comes ‘talent retention’. Retaining and rewarding talent, our most valued asset, is something we always look to do. Whether it’s in-house perks, compensation, or other benefits, we want to create and continuously improve an environment and reward structure that keeps people committed to Appnovation. From weekly Beer Clubs, to on site yoga, soccer teams and more, our success is as social as it is professional.

None of these ‘talent pillars’ can be seen as less important than another, any more than a wheel of a car could be to supporting the entire vehicle. I can but hope that Appnovation’s talent pillars will provide some food for thought and even inspire questions, which I am always ready to answer – even if I am not given a dollar every time…