September 11, 2018
Indianapolis is home to some extraordinary tech talent, and the graduates coming out of computer science and other technology related programs at Indiana universities are outstanding. As you are no doubt aware, however, there are currently more tech jobs in the state than there are qualified applicants, and it may get worse before it gets better. If you’re a company in Indiana, and you want to attract top talent from around the country, how do you go about it?
Hot on the heels of the company’s Series B raise in January, Springbuk has locked down the interstate recruiting process. They’ve been bringing top performers from the Bay Area, Denver, Chicago, Cincinnati and Atlanta to their Indy headquarters, an impressive achievement for a scaling Indiana tech company. Nicole Bickett, Springbuk’s vice president of people and administration, shares how the company is connecting with amazing people and telling its message loud and clear for the world to hear.
Talented team members attract talented candidates
Nicole’s journey with Springbuk technically began before the company officially even existed. She networked with the company’s co-founder Phil Daniels and was kept updated as the company launched in 2015 and began scaling up. Springbuk developed its product and brought in lots of new customers, which helped Springbuk grow so dramatically and earn recognition as the Scale-up of the Year ($100K-5M) Mira Award. Nicole reconnected with the company when the other co-founder, Rod Reasen, called her and shared their successes at the start of 2018. She knew something special was happening, and come February 2018, Nicole became Springbuk’s newest employee.
In her job, Nicole activates the lessons she’s gained from more than two decades spent handling all sorts of business functions, like human resources, marketing, sales, solutions implementation and process improvement. From real estate to healthcare, Nicole has experienced office environments of all shapes and sizes, which offers her a unique perspective on people in the workplace. She’s also developed experience building her own business — launching a business-productivity consulting firm in the mid-2000s.
Her title carries with it some important responsibilities for Springbuk, especially as it grows and scales fast. “I’m responsible for overseeing the People and Experience Team and their strategy,” said Nicole. “The company has done a great job of building team and culture from the beginning. Our team continues that work and focuses on company culture, brand, recruitment, employee relations, training and development, compensation and facilities.” The seven people officially part of this team stay busy, answering the call on many different startup needs. The end result is their major contribution to a company culture that’s been recognized with Springbuk’s 2018 Company Culture of the Year Mira Award.
While her team is responsible for recruiting talent, Nicole believes that Springbuk embodies a culture where everyone wants to contribute to success. “The entire company recruits,” she said. “We have VPs who are already targeting the talent they want, and they get excited about reaching out to them. They’re networked to the people they want to bring to the team.”
Process and passion are key to establishing the right fit
With everyone at Springbuk pitching in to recruit talent, Nicole and her team needed a way to manage that process. In her past, she’s used a system named the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), and she felt that it could easily be connected to her team’s work at Springbuk. “It’s basically a simple way to develop a strategy that everyone in the company understands,” Nicole shared. “Through the system, leadership shares the ten year vision, the three year picture, the one year plan and 90 day goals called rocks. From there, you can strategize around those 90 days.”
Each team member identifies a goal relevant to the strategies the EOS system sets and develops a plan to accomplish said goal. In addition to creating accountability for individuals, the system offers organizational leadership a process to keep track of their progress toward company goals and how employees are getting things done. “Ideas can come flying in from every direction,” said Nicole. The system is also useful for tracking potential changes in company processes. “If we want to make room for new ideas, we can add them to future 90 day plans.”
A concise plan agreed upon by every team member has led to a healthy pipeline for recruiting talented individuals to join Springbuk. The company can cast a wide net for new recruits, especially following their latest fundraise. “After the Series B announcement, talent came a lot easier than it had in the past,” Nicole shared. Several tools help draw in top talent, including some smart incentivization. “Currently, we use LinkedIn ads, Indeed and other job boards. Personal networks and referrals are also important. We have a team recruiting bonus–a pretty decent bonus, too.” The Google Hire platform manages applications coming from all of these channels, and Nicole’s team can track who’s sending whom to the application page using this hiring tool.
When the company targets particular individuals for recruitment, they’re looking for people committed to the company for the long haul, to the point where financial compensation is dependent on organizational success. “The scale-up nature draws a certain kind of person,” Nicole said. “The growth nature of the company is very appealing, especially for those who are getting in during the early stage. Everyone in the company has stock options–everyone shares in the company’s success.”
If candidates demonstrate in an interview that kind of commitment along with the other attributes and skills needed to fill a role, they move on to a culture call. This helps the Springbuk team get a feel for how the candidate would fit into the company’s carefully curated culture. “We send them a video of our core values before our culture call, and then spend time talking about what was meaningful to them,” said Nicole. “Throughout it, we’re asking ourselves, ‘Is there a connection?’” By paying attention to culture fit early on in the recruitment process, Springbuk is able to identify those who connect strongly with what the company seeks to achieve.
From these many interviews and meetings, Nicole has found that the reasons people pick up and move to Indy are as varied as the talents they bring. Alongside reasons like Indy’s affordable cost of living, an employee from the Bay Area noted that Indy’s perception as a growing tech community is particularly appealing. “It’s exciting to be part of a small community that’s growing,” Nicole shared the feedback she’s received. “They talk about how it’s a blank slate and that they’re committed to making it better.”
Nicole has discovered that, no matter what tools or management systems you implement, letting your company values guide you to the right fit is the most important part of attracting the top talent you’re seeking. “Make sure you find people who align to your core values,” she said. “You can find people to do the job, but when they have a passion for the job and the company, you can do anything together.”
Discover more about Springbuk’s award-winning company culture.