Breegan works with growing startups to implement clearly defined cultural values, an onboarding programme unique to the company, and sustainable, authentic hiring practices. She has also worked in large companies like Amazon and Snap Inc. (the makers of Snapchat).
When it comes to company culture, Breegan thinks that startups have somewhat of an advantage to large organisations, since you start with a ‘clean slate’ — having a smaller team of people who are deeply passionate about the same thing (app, product, service), without the history, red tape & bureaucracy that burden larger organisations.
Oftentimes startups also hire a core team of experienced people who have learned some valuable lessons at previous companies they’ve worked at (read: what not to do). This means there’s a great opportunity to grow a more intentional company culture in the startup environment.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that one environment is better than the other — startups just have more risk involved and therefore employee retention is super important.
Employee retention really begins at the onboarding — there’s so much data around how a company’s onboarding process makes or breaks an employee’s experience. This, of course, bleeds into the company’s culture as a whole.
"Over half of senior leaders will leave their company in the first year of employment because of a bad onboarding experience."
Breegan’s tips on how to retain a great company culture:
Interest in the employee as an individual & their growth
Effective, open lines of communication
Developing real relationships with co-workers
Keeping a good balance between structure & process and fun & creativity. People need to know where they stand in the company in order to feel safe.
"What people are really interested in, is whether they are valued."
1:30 — About Breegan.
2:56 — Startups vs larger organisations.
5:20 — Breegan’s learnings on onboardings & employee retention.
7:41 — Are CV’s still important? Breegan on her recruiting experiences.
11:17 — How to retain a great company culture.
13:30 — Anything you would have done differently?
17:23 — An average day for Breegan.
18:24 — What Breegan’s reading: How to find fulfilling work by Roman Krznaric, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencione.
19:18 — Software tools: Google Calendar for meetings, Asana for project management.
19:50 — Reach out to Breegan at email@example.com, or check her out on social: Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIN, website.
Fedback? Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published at https://www.get5.io/podcast/8-rob-stokes-treat-employees-like-adults
Rob Stokes is an investor, entrepreneur & speaker who is passionate about business and education. He sits as a non-exec Director on the boards of BrandsEye, Openbox, Happy Flats and CloudOne.mobi.
Rob founded the digital agency Quirk in 1999, one of South Africa’s earliest, most award-winning and now largest digital agencies, with five offices across Africa and in London. The company was acquired by WPP in 2014 and then became Mirum Africa in 2016. Nowadays Rob heads up Red & Yellow, the Creative School of Business (they are also the new co-organisers of DisruptHR Cape Town).
Inspired by books such as Maverick by Ricardo Semler and How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams, Rob grew his successful startup Quirk on the principles of treating employees like adults; giving them the freedom to work flexible hours & measuring their productivity through performance and output rather than ‘face time’ in the office.
“The world has changed a lot and keeping those outdated mindsets is a disadvantage.”
0.25 — Rob chats about his concept of Juniors & Giants, as well as the parallels with Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick.
6.50 — Input vs Outcomes when it comes to work & attracting talent.
9.50 — Rob’s learnings through managing people over the last 10 years.
15.37 — Rob’s recipe for success: Skills + Motivation + Expectation = Success
18.35 — More books that have inspired Rob: Mindset by Carol Dweck
23.00 — Podcasts Rob listen to: The Knowledge Project, Tim Ferriss.
24.11 — Reach Rob on the interwebs: Twitter, LinkedIN, Facebook
Originally published at https://www.get5.io/podcast/7-themba-chakela-new-world-of-work
In this episode of our Working better, together. podcast, Themba Chakela joins us for a chat around the state of HR and the “new world of work.”
Themba wears many hats (check out his LinkedIN profile), but is currently the new People and Culture Director for Go-To Market at global IT company, Dimension Data (founded in 1983 in SA).
As a well-educated and experienced HR practitioner, Themba gives us some great insights into the HR landscape, as well as what the future may hold. He believes that middle management plays a bigger role in organisational culture and employee retention than we realise.
“What you need to think about now [in HR], is how do you get people to engage with an organisation from a head, heart and hands perspective…”
Themba argues that the golden egg for your company could be in unlocking the secret to great middle management. As a manager, you should be setting the tone for robust, candid conversations to take place. Management truly sets the standard for their company’s culture.
In the episode, Themba shares some great stories of how a CEO’s behaviour can have an incredible impact on the company’s culture.
“Two things that have stood me in good stead, is to show up and to put your hand up.”
Themba was the former General Manager, Group Organisational Effectiveness at Britehouse, which has now become part of Dimension Data. In his new role at the new company, he sees himself as being in the fortunate position of watching a beautiful learnership unfold as the larger company’s thinking and conceptualisation is transforming the smaller company, and vice versa. It might be difficult for some to believe, but large corporates and SME’s can actually learn a lot from each other!
“Yes, there are challenges and they are significant, but I believe I haven’t met a challenge that I didn’t want to get to know a little bit better.”
Regarding the role of HR in businesses, Themba is well aware that they often have the least say in the conversation. “The further you move away from the financial indicators of your business, the less time you get to represent yourself,” he says. This means when HR speaks up, it really has to count…
0.50 — About Themba — where he’s from and how he ended up in SA working for Dimension Data.
3.09 — Moving to Lesotho at a time when SA was steeped in Apartheid.
4.55 — Sweden vs South Africa today.
6.56 — About Themba’s role and education.
10.48 — HR as a discipline and how it has been evolving.
15.14 — Company Culture: The biggest opportunities companies are missing out on.
20.00 — Themba’s learnings on his journey in HR.
22.05 — An average day in the life of Themba.
23.10 — His favourite reads.
24.56 — Productivity tools/software he uses daily, like Outlook, Microsoft teams, Trello, Planner.
25.41 — What is Chucky Management Mondays?
26.42 — Themba’s channels: LinkedIN, Twitter. He keeps his Facebook and Instagram personal.
27.27 — Famous last words: “The New World of Work.”
Originally published at https://www.get5.io/podcast/6-richard-mulholland-why-innovation-requires-the-right-culture
Richard Mulholland is a highly regarded business thinker, innovator and speaker. He authored his book Legacide: Why legacy thinking is the silent killer of innovation (with another book on the way!), is an avid blogger and vlogger, writes for Longevity and Destiny Man and besides recording a weekly podcast on CliffCentral, he also lectures a bit at The Cape Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).
Richard kicked off his career as a rock ‘n roll roadie, operating lights for bands such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. He went on to start SA’s largest presentation firm, Missing Link, and then co-founded SA’s first perspective lab, 21Tanks.
In this episode of Working better, together., Rich chats to us about his fascinating career and his thoughts on innovation in business. We’ve put down some notes below 👇
“In an established company, innovation doesn’t happen when you start doing something new. Innovation happens when you stop doing something old.”
When it comes to “legacide” (the putting to death of legacy thinking, which truly enables innovation), it seems that it really comes down to organisational culture: in order to innovate, you need to have the kind of culture where people can call you out on your particular solution — it may have solved a problem before, but now there could be better tools to do the job or perhaps the problem has shifted.
“It’s inconceivable that the tech solution that we start creating today will be the ultimate solution that solves a problem 3 years from now… Understand that it’s going to change.”
You need to ask yourself these three questions:
1) What problem were we solving when we put this in place?
2) Is this still a/the problem?
3) Is the way we solved it then, still the best way to solve it now?
“People become so invested in a system/process/thinking behind a solution, but we need to rekindle our love for the problem. It’s always about the problem.”
So, when it comes to your company culture, you need to amplify certain behaviours. If you amplify negative or legacy behaviours (even by saying ‘we will never tolerate this’), that behaviour will have the strongest gravity. You need to constantly try and amplify the behaviour you’re trying to replicate.
“People don’t create a culture. Some people create a culture. Usually the negative person has a stronger gravity.”
1.32 — Richard tells us about his business background and now his transition into a new company, Cultovation.
3.31 — What is SnowCon?
4.54 — Richard on innovation.
7.17 — The obvious things that companies need to grow a culture for innovation.
9.42 — Large companies vs small companies.
11.14 — So what’s the best way to fix a culture problem? What is your definition of culture?
15.00 — The importance of transparent recognition.
15.40 — An average day for Richard. Very interesting!
18.36 — A lesson learnt while waitering at Spur when Rich was 20.
19.12 — About learning fatigue.
21.13 — How to reach Richard. Website: richardmulholland.co.za, Youtube (easy-to-watch weekly vids), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Originally published at https://www.get5.io/podcast/5-gangs-of-ballet
In this fifth episode of Working better, together., we chat to Brad Klynsmith, the lead singer and manager of Durban-based band, Gangs of Ballet.
Gangs of Ballet was formed in 2011 when Brad wanted to play bass in a band and persuaded his brother to be the drummer. The band was an almost instant success and started building momentum from their very first live show, going on to playing big shows and winning music awards including the MTV Africa Music Award for Best Alternative.
They recently played their last show and have since disbanded to follow separate career paths — Brad will be studying abroad soon and pursuing other business goals.
Some key learnings from Brad (whether you are wanting to start a band or a business):
1) You work for momentum, and momentum creates success.
2) There’s a big difference between doing it for art/fun, and doing it as a career.
3) Say no to sponsors you don’t relate with. Invest your relational time in brands and people you believe in.
4) 99% of relationships fail because there’s an ego involved.
5) Remember, there are no rules.
6) What you do next, should be better than what you did last.
7) Put time aside to think.
8) The more you understand yourself, the more productive you become.
9) Get 8 hours of sleep a day (Jeff Bezos seems to agreewith Brad).
10) Work with your strengths, this is where the fruit will come from.
3:02 — Signing a record deal doesn’t mean you’ve made it. This is step 1.
4:16 — Brad shares some of the toughest decisions they’ve made over the years.
8:20 — How to maintain the culture & create a great network of partners.
11:15 — It’s important for everyone to pull their weight and be open to giving and receiving feedback.
12:40 — Your approach is more important than the product. The product is the easy part, getting it to people is the hard part.
13:40 — Brad shares about the next phase of his life, and how he spends his day-to-day.
18:30 — What Brad’s been reading.
20:15 — How to reach Brad: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter.
Originally published at https://www.get5.io/podcast/4-lemon-radically-fresh-take-on-leadership
In this episode of Working better, together. we chat to Brett Johnson, an impactful leader, Silicon Valley consultant and author of 10 books, one of which is the well-known LEMON leadership.
0.37 — Brett explains how LEMON leadership came about.
1.02 — More about Brett and his impressive career working with companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, CSC, Google, Apple and KPMG.
3.36 — What are the biggest challenges you see leaders facing?
5.19 — Brett shares a story of a leadership situation he had dealt with at CISCO.
6.50 — LEMON leadership dynamics are needed in each company for success. We need teams, not the cult of the individual.
8.20 — Oftentimes, other types of leaders are not duly recognised for the value they add, such as Organisers or Networkers.
8.50 — Discussion around what kinds of recognition/reward works for different leadership types.
13.39 — What Brett does every day & software tools he uses.
15.00 — Books that Brett’s been reading.
15.44 — Contact details.
Originally published at https://www.get5.io/podcast/3-colombo-coffee-tea-portrait-of-collaborative-company-culture
In this episode of Working better, together. we chat to Geoff Noble, one of the Noble Brothers, who bought over the legendary Durban-based café & coffee reseller, Colombo Coffee & Tea.
"Colombo has become synonymous with coffee in Durban."
Geoff talks about how and why he got into the Coffee industry (considering his education and background in Corporate Finance), the challenges and rewards of "creating different income streams" whilst running a consultancy business on the side, as well as how they went about creating and maintaining a collaborative company culture with his new "inherited team."
He also shares some key learnings on working with people in an industry that is highly competitive, fast-paced and as much driven by people as it is by the product itself.
"We hire for personality, the rest we can teach."
2.53 — Geoff tells us about the coffee he prefers. ☕
4.02 — The history of Colombo Coffee & Tea.
5.44 — Some key learnings in taking over and managing the company and staff.
6.44 — The undervalued importance of online ratings and reviews.
8.16 — SME vs Corporate.
12.52 — Geoff expands on a business decision they made that has had a lasting positive impact on how Colombo works.
13.33 — Using incentives to recognise and reward team.
15.30 — Nothing beats experience.
17.26 — Some advice on writing a book.
20.27 — Tips for people who are looking at hiring in this type of sector.
21.26 — Geoff tells us about his day-to-day and his recommended read.
23.06 — End off and how to get in touch.
Originally published at https://www.get5.io/podcast/2-lee-watts-travelstart-recruitment-story
We chat to Lee Watts, Business Partner (People Team) at Travelstart, on how this “startup” became 300+ staff strong.
Conceived in Sweden, Travelstart first opened its doors in 1999, as the brainchild of Travel visionary Stephan Ekbergh. In true start-up fashion, Sweden’s first online travel agency was run from an old coffee roastery in the town of Helsingborg. Nearly two decades, plenty of learning, growth and one African immigration later, Stephan still heads up Travelstart, which is now based in the Cape Town CBD.
Lee is of the opinion that in terms of (human) resources and “drive-towards entrepreneurial spirit,” African tech companies seem to be about 18 months behind the international tech market, but are starting to catch up!
“Speed is the ROI of execution.”
In this podcast, Lee gives a breakdown of the methodology Travelstart has employed in recruiting over 180 people in only 2 years, as well as how culture is taken into consideration in their recruiting process as each individual inevitably augments the organisational culture of the company. This measurement he calls their "commitment blueprint."
Originally published at https://www.get5.io/podcast/1-bailey-kropman-how-to-set-vision-values-in-high-performance-company
Welcome to our first episode of Working better, together!
In this episode, we chat to Bailey Kropman, who is the Head of Talent and Organisational Performance at Superbalist.
Superbalist.com is South Africa’s biggest and trendiest online shopping destination for fashion and apartments.
Bailey takes us through how she has impacted the growth at Superbalist — which was literally a startup when she joined 3 years ago.
We discuss her learnings of blitz-scaling from 5 to 150 employees, whilst retaining the high-performance startup culture.
We also discuss retaining the culture by intentionally setting up the vision and values and continuously getting buy-in from leadership, as well as the rest of the company.
Hope you enjoy! If you have any feedback, comments, ideas or suggestions, please get in contact with us on twitter @giveahi5 or email us on email@example.com.