When was the last time you rode a rollercoaster? Think back and remember the click-click-click-click sound of the coaster making its way up the hill. Anticipation and a slight nervous sweat building, a hint of anxiety, and a whole lot of excitement. Before you can change your mind, you’re at the top of the hill for a few seconds and then enjoying the wild ride down.
Being a company in hyper-growth mode feels a lot like this. We've spent a few years in an upward haul, planning and pushing and waiting with anticipation — and now we’re really flying! Most days are both exhilarating and a little terrifying.
What kind of growth are we experiencing? Last quarter alone our team grew by 44 percent. A year ago, we were a team of only 17 people. Now, at any given moment, we're looking to add 20 or more new folks to the team in a variety of areas. (We'd love to hear from you in any of them sound interesting!)
What?! And also, how? Hyper-growth likely looks unique for every company, but at Hologram, we have zeroed in on both the logistical side of growth and the implications that growth has on our team's culture.
How we're hiring and onboarding
Logistically, hyper-growth at Hologram looks like developing clean systems and processes. We have spent a lot of time over the last six months creating more processes to streamline our work and implement workflows where none had existed before.
Hiring: Structured processes for all
- We partnered with DEI consultancy Paradigm to develop a hiring playbook to fully outline our intentions and processes for hiring at a company-wide level. Hiring is the most important thing we do at Hologram, and we won't get a second chance at building a diverse and high-performing team. Our playbook is the starting place for any hiring process and includes principles like "Hire Different vs. Similar" and "Hire for Cultural Contribution, not Culture Fit."
- We've bulked up our hiring practices and fleshed out a thorough, structured hiring process. The process takes hiring managers through every step – role approval, running a hiring workshop, assembling the hiring team, candidate sourcing, evaluation, interviews, and finally, making the offer.
- Using our applicant tracking system Greenhouse, we can review thousands of candidates. Since the beginning, our goal has been for any candidate that applies to have a positive experience with Hologram — even if they don’t get the job. (P.S. We're hiring; let's talk!)
Onboarding: Transparency and timing
- We have also streamlined our onboarding process. Starting a new job is always tough, but starting a new job remotely is an entirely different kind of challenge. We have systematized our onboarding so that everything from the offer letter to Day One gets handled with proper care.
- We use Asana to track all onboarding tasks. One of our core values is transparency, and we’ve found that this flow allows the new teammate, the People Team, and the hiring manager to all be on the same page.
- We've taken special care to ensure proper timing for each piece of onboarding. (Example: You shouldn't receive your laptop six weeks before your start date, but you should receive a welcome letter from the team and some cool swag.) Timing makes a big difference in the digestibility of onboarding for the new employee.
- With so many new team members joining Hologram, it feels like every week there are opportunities to iterate, and we are remaining agile as things progress. Any opportunity to automate the process allows us to scale more quickly and spend more time focusing on the person over the process.
How we're evolving our culture and team
Culturally, hyper-growth looks like intentionality. We are proud of the culture we've created here at Hologram. We want it to grow and evolve with our team, but we want to maintain the foundation we've laid over the past few years. In order to do this while introducing so many new teammates we have had to be intentional.
More opportunity for connection
We've amped up our opportunities for connection, with more remote gatherings and team Zoom hangouts, like:
- Monthly "Speed meets" — a series of rapid-fire Zoom chats (kind of like speed dating!) to shuffle the deck of Hologrammers and help folks meet each other
- Bi-weekly team lunches
- Regular "Ask Me Anything" sessions with longer-tenured teammates and those who want to share interesting skills and hobbies (our last session was on crafting coffee cocktails!)
- Monthly book club
- Trivia night & virtual happy hours (using tools like Gather, Spatial Chat, and Trivia20)
- Occasional opt-in chats about Hologram's values and operating principles
New Hologrammers may not have an office mate, but they do have an onboarding buddy to help them acclimate to their new role. We've had to get creative here, but the return is worth it. Onboarding buddies provide check-ins and friendship in a new hire's first few weeks on the job. They meet for virtual coffee and lunch and check in organically via Slack to make sure new folks are getting settled. These connections are especially valuable because they allow for cross-departmental work relationships to grow, even on a remote team.
Growing people managers
We continuously invest in our people managers. These are the leaders in our company who are shaping their teams and really emulating the company's values (not to mention they are doing the legwork of reviewing portfolios and holding interviews)! We've made it a priority to give them the tools and support they need during this season of growth so that we can continue to preserve the awesome vibe of our company.
- We're working with LifeLabs to offer our team more growth and learning opportunities. LifeLabs works with 1,000+ innovative companies and they have an outstanding reputation of helping people master life’s most useful skills.
- We partnered with DEI consultancy Paradigm to allow team-wide access to their REACH training sessions, to continue to foster development and discussion around DEI for the whole team.
- We're encouraging more conversation amongst managers in our People Managers Slack channel, so that we can learn by hearing the experience of others. We're also developing a manager roundtable series to better facilitate dialog and progress for our managers.
Time for mental health and care
We continue to learn what it means to work with a distributed team and how that impacts our culture. Hyper-growth is hyper exciting — but sometimes hyper exhausting — so we have implemented mental health solutions like low-key mandatory mental health days and no-meeting Fridays, and we continue to encourage our asynchronous work style.
It's difficult to imagine the future until you're in it. Riding the hyper-growth rollercoaster, we are working hard to grow and progress, while not losing sight of where we started. We're excited to look back a year from now and see where the ride has taken us.