Dan Portillo: Scaling Technology Company Cultures


Dan Portillo is talking at Defrag about finding talent to start a company. High-tech does not mirror the larger economy. There's a demand for talent right now and it's hard to hire good people.

  • Early start-ups get going and don't worry much about attracting talent--they're just worried about getting going.
  • Who are the people in your company who would have a huge impact on your organization if they left. Which or those are at risk of leaving. What are their motivations, drivers, and needs? What's the vision for the organization?
  • Find new ways to engage these people. Let them flourish.
  • HR functions in companies focus on compliance and transactional issues instead of growing and keeping a great workforce. Process becomes more important than results.
  • Scaling has a big effect on the bonds in the company. There's less interaction between the whole team. Make sure people get a chance to co-work, bring people to the mother ship. Be deliberate about communication and be direct and authentic with your employees. As an organization scales, they tend to use "performance reviews" and email blasts to communicate. These aren't enough.
  • Give thanks to people. 17% of people quit their job because of inadequate recognition. Let people know their work is valuable. Financial incentive is important, but finding what matters to people is better than a chunk of cash.
  • When you're recruiting people, tell a story. Create meaning. Articulate the vision of what the company is doing. What does it mean to work for your company? Position the position. This is bigger than role definition. How does this job relate to the success of the company and why getting the right person is important.
  • Create great experiences. Follow through on promises.

As a closing note, Dan started by saying he doesn't do this very often and was nervous. Couldn't tell. He did a good job.