‘With a change in pace of growth like that, you need to quickly establish appropriate processes for the shift in tempo.’
Mat Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer – Shippit
Amid the Covid-19 chaos and uncertainty of early 2020, Shippit decided to freeze recruitment. They also made a number of redundancies.
Meanwhile, their 1-person TA team began focusing solely on looking after existing employees.
‘We were having a huge downturn in the economy that would seriously impact our customers.’
What no one expected, however, was the explosion in online shopping.
Of course, pundits had predicted a short-term rise in e-tailing. Just not the 5+ year acceleration we saw across the eCommerce industry!
This created an unexpected (yet welcome) scenario for Shippit: business running at 3x their normal volume.
However, capitalising on these unique circumstances needed considerable thought.
Not only were staff levels insufficient to manage the workload – their TA team had no capacity to hire anyone else.
‘What actually occurred was a new baseline for the industry – people began shopping online who had never done so before.’
Though uncertain, this unprecedented situation was also an incredible chance for Shippit to aggressively grow their business.
But, getting it right was crucial, says Mat.
‘If you’re growing faster than your internal capabilities, you’ll start experiencing things such as poor candidate experience, bad hires and bad onboarding,’ he explains. ’It will choke the existing team with the number of interviews and processes.
‘We wanted to avoid all those pain points.’
In August 2020, Shippit partnered with The Lab17 to solve the immediate staffing issues and lay the foundations for ongoing internal TA.
Together, they brainstormed ways to address both of these challenges, developing a list of goals which aimed to:
– Prioritise the hires that would help scale the business.
– Build, refine and optimise the interview process for scalability.
– Train the team in effective interviewing techniques.
– Partner with hiring managers and key stakeholders to clearly define job descriptions, improve interview skills and make informed recruiting decisions.
– Establish and build employer brand initiatives and collateral.
– Create a TA reporting system with supporting documentation for all activities and processes.
– Implement new Applicant Tracking Software to better document decision making.
– Establish scalable onboarding processes and job descriptions.
‘We built out a solid foundation better suited for the higher volumes of hiring, in terms of processes, systems, people and standards. We hired key players and strong leaders who had in-depth experience, helping us raise the bar and set high expectations.’
Cloë Stanbridge, Talent Director, The Lab17
Partnering with The Lab17 gave Shippit the capacity they needed to quickly design and define the roles they were recruiting for. They could also accurately assess candidates to ensure the right hire.
But, most importantly, they now had the tools, training and techniques they needed to manage their own recruiting.
‘Our internal recruiter was ready and able, but we knew we needed more capacity,’ recalls Mat. ‘Beyond this, when we increased pace, we wanted to make sure we were set up for long-term success.’
It wasn’t long before Shippit had recruited a number of quality hires, including:
– Head of People and Culture
– Head of Customer Experience
– Head of UX
– People Operations Manager
– People and Workplace Specialist
– Talent Acquisition Lead
– Talent Acquisition Manager
– Commercial Analyst
– Business Analyst
– Logistics Controller
– Logistics Coordinator
Business was booming – and Shippit had the capacity to harness it!
The partnership between Shippit and The Lab17 wasn’t just about getting through an aggressive phase of growth. It was about arming the Shippit team with the skills they needed to bring recruiting in-house.
‘We had to upskill our team to eventually be able to do this without The Lab17, and this type of partnership that we struck up worked incredibly well.’
Mat says one of the most important factors in the successful partnership was TheLab 17’s flexible way of working.
‘We were able to work with The Lab17 on designing an approach that was specific for Shippit’s needs,’ he says. ‘This wasn’t a one-size-fits-all line of action – instead, we made changes tailored to our values, our culture, and designed to extend our existing capabilities.’
Today, Shippit has a comprehensive, easily-scalable interview process.
The Lab17 has trained the team to effectively interview candidates – reducing the risk of bad hires.
They’ve also coached a Shippit team member to run training sessions on interview techniques. This is ensuring people across the Shippit team are gaining critical hiring skills and decreasing their need for external recruitment agencies.
‘I wanted and needed to instil the capabilities into our own team to sustain this hiring pace,’ explains Mat. ‘We wanted to train the team on how to do well, and set up the processes, practices and disciplines.’
The introduction of a Values Interview has further cemented Shippit’s internal hiring ability.
Now, instead of candidates meeting with one of the Shippit founders for their final interview, they sit down with someone in the Values Interview team.
This has sped up the recruiting process immensely, says Cloë, while still ensuring Shippit’s values and culture are clearly communicated to potential employees.
‘We curated questions and outcomes based on the founders’ values and company culture,’ she recalls. ’This ensures candidates are aligned with Shippit’s values and will thrive in their environment.
‘It’s also provided a great growth opportunity for the team.’
The Lab17 doesn’t recruit in the traditional way. That’s why you won’t get costly, time-consuming hiring processes here.
Instead, you’ll get a recruitment partner who deeply embeds themselves within your business so you can scale up, eliminate bottlenecks and improve the candidate experience.
So, how do we actually ‘embed’ ourselves in your business? What does the day-to-day look like? And what will it entail for you and your colleagues?
As one of The Lab17’s Senior Talent Managers, I’ve spent plenty of time recruiting inside organisations like yours.
Here’s what to expect from your first 4 weeks and beyond:
Week 1: Researching your organisation
This is our time to absorb as much information as possible about your organisation. In other words, we’ll be everywhere, soaking in everything.
For example, you can expect us to:
This is also the time to kick off your job brief processes. That means working closely with you to determine your priorities – and how to tackle the roles you’re recruiting for.
Armed with data, we’ll sit down with your hiring managers so they know exactly what’s ahead and how we’ll support them along the way.
Week 1 in a snapshot
> Introduction to management + core leadership team
> Outlining hiring needs + core objectives
> Auditing your employer brand
> Unpacking your vision + mission
> Sessions to scope out the roles you’re filling
> Prioritising roles
> Editing (if needed) job descriptions
> Connecting with your team
> Onboarding to your systems (e.g. email, comms channels)
> Designing candidate marketing materials
> Clarifying roles + prototyping candidates
Week 2: Building your strategy, resources and processes
By now, we know why we’re here, what your business problems are and why you want to scale your team.
Your roles will be live and out to market and your Lab17 partner will have created resources around interview processes and tasks.
They’ll also establish a weekly cadence to keep your hiring managers up-to-date and across their roles.
With candidate applications now coming in, we’ll have the right information to design your sourcing strategy.
Like product managers, we tend to work in 6 week sprints for this part – with the ultimate aim of making a hire by Week 6.
– This is also when we’ll start screening candidates. This is a chance for you to see whether we’ve truly understood your team, culture and candidate pool.
Rest assured: if we don’t nail the first screening and pitching call, we’ll refine it until we do.
Week 2 in a snapshot
> Creating candidate identification + attraction strategy
> Articulating your EVP
> Beginning outbound sourcing
> Establishing weekly progress reporting
> Screening candidates
> Designing + delivering interview processes
Week 3: Gaining momentum
By this time, your Lab17 partner (like me!) is well and truly in the trenches. You can expect them to have:
In other words, momentum is building. But don’t worry: your partner will continue sourcing candidates – no matter how busy they are with the screening process.
They will connect weekly with your hiring managers to:
Week 3 in a snapshot
> Shortlisting candidates
> Introducing candidates to the hiring team
> Improving process + system evaluation
> Continuing to grow the candidate pipeline
> Analysing candidate / outreach data
Week 4: At (or nearing) the offer stage
With any luck, we’ll be close to making an offer. And if that’s the case, you can be sure of a well-earned celebration with your Lab17 partner!
If not, your Lab17 partner will consider:
At this point, your partner may also start thinking about other ways to ingrain themselves even more deeply into your team.
They’ll want to bolster your interviewing capabilities, which might mean:
Week 4 in a snapshot
> Moving to offer
> Making hires
> Training on interviews, systems and processes
As you move beyond your initial month with Lab17 as your embedded recruitment partner, you’ll find yourself in a humming hiring rhythm. You will notice that the quality of candidates coming through the pipeline has improved, saving you and your hiring team a lot of time.
Your capabilities are growing – along with your in-market brand.
But, no matter how long your Lab17 partner remains in your organisation, you’ll now have the skills, strategies and processes in place to confidently scale up – when and where you need to.
During the pandemic, countless people welcomed a pooch into their homes.
In fact, dog ownership rose 25% between 2019 and 2022*.
This fondness for our furry friends (or ‘puppers’, as the Lyka team calls them) means giving them the best life possible.
And quality of life starts with premium, human-grade food offered by companies such as Lyka.
As part of such a booming industry, it’s no surprise Lyka needed to drive rapid growth following a successful Series B raise in September 2022.
And that’s what they did.
In just 12 months, the company tripled their non-manufacturing employee base. This included recruiting 31 hires across areas including software engineering, service design and marketing in just 1 quarter!
Sound quick? It was.
That’s why Gabriel Guedes (aka GG), Lyka’s COO and CFO, turned to The Lab17 for support. He knew his busy team needed to swiftly scale up – while also establishing solid processes that would stand the test of time.
Here’s how GG, together with his team and The Lab 17’s Claudia Giugovaz, did it.
In the wake of Lyka’s Series B funding, the pressure was on to meet new, ambitious business goals. Getting the right people on board – as quickly as possible – was crucial.
But, says GG, it wasn’t long before Lyka was getting behind on their hiring – and therefore putting their objectives in peril.
‘We had to deploy promptly across different parts of the business to achieve our goals,’ he recalls. ‘[Before long], we realised we were getting behind on our hiring pace. We knew if we continued like that, we wouldn’t be able to fill all those roles in time.’
Fast growth calls for the right resources
With only 1 TA expert inside Lyka, the hiring challenges following their capital raise were immense. GG says it was unreasonable to put that pressure on his team.
‘We didn’t have the internal capabilities to grow as fast as we needed to’ he explains. ‘Nor did we have the time to hire that capability in-house and develop it.
‘The Lab17 helped us accelerate this ramp up – not only by having the right people, but also the right processes. In a way, it enabled us to ‘plug and play’ and seamlessly kick off our accelerated hiring.’
More than understanding talent
GG says although he had hiring experience under his belt, this new pace of recruiting was next-level.
By bringing in The Lab17, Lyka immediately saw how the right processes from Day 1 can impact a company’s ability to make top-notch hires.
‘I’ve had experience with hiring before Lyka and have also read a lot about the topic, so theoretically everything makes sense,’ he tells us. ‘But it’s good to see the conceptualisation of how a great TA process works.
‘And seeing the execution, seeing the formalisation of our processes – like the training we did not have before – and how we use our tools and integrations is really satisfying. All these things I knew were possible, so it’s incredible to see them well executed.’
Looking back to September 2022, GG says it made complete sense to partner with The Lab17.
‘If we’d had to solve this by ourselves, I would probably have had to hire a talent team 3 months before the Series B raise even started,’ he explains. ‘I would have had to get the right people on board, put the processes in place, do the training, get the right tools and then deploy.’
Firm foundations for growth
GG says now having those processes ingrained across the organisation means Lyka is poised for further expansion.
‘We’ve just brought in another TA, and they’ve hit the ground running,’ he remarks. ’Not only do we have the right processes, but I think the hiring managers are more experienced.
‘We’ve gone on a journey where people know how to work with TA – and where we’re hiring not as a function but as a company.
‘The Lab17 is a big part of how we got here,’ GG concludes. ‘I think we’ve matured a lot over the past year and learned a lot.’
Writing your own scaling-up story
Want to accelerate your hiring? Get in touch with Claudia Giugovaz to chat about your needs.
The results speak for themselves
Since 2022, The Lab17 has supported Lyka to:
> Recruit 31 employees across software engineering, product management, service design, product design + marketing
> Create rapid growth + scale in TA capability across the business
> Challenge existing processes to improve TA function
> Design a clear, scalable job brief process to ensure efficiency + speed in hiring
> Revamp JD templates to reposition Lyka’s employer brand
> Introduce Interview Training Foundations to support hiring managers improve their skills
> Save Lyka $300K+ in recruiting fees.
Athena Home Loans operates in a market largely dominated by the Big 4 Aussie banks.
And, while they are newer on the scene than other players, they are already shaking up the industry and are wholly committed to changing home loans for good.
So, ramping up their business — while still staying lean — took a particular approach. .
That’s when they called in The Lab17.
Cloë Stanbridge, Head of Talent at The Lab17, sat down with Liana Mawston, Athena’s Chief of People and Community. They discussed Athena’s journey from start-up to market challenger, how they manage talent acquisition in a tight market and where The Lab’s extensive experience comes to the fore.
What was the main driver behind partnering with The Lab?
Firstly, it was the rate at which we needed to scale – we were an early stage startup. That meant we needed to be really lean from a corporate overhead perspective and invest everything into our engineers, designers and customer service teams.
We wanted to keep those overhead functions – be they HR or finance – as small as possible. So, building out a big talent acquisition function was never something we were going to do.
Secondly, the end-to-end nature of our business meant we had to recruit for a hugely diverse mix of roles. We needed people for all facets of the organisation: designers, engineers, data people, customer service people, broker development managers (to name a few!)
So, even if I hired one TA expert, it’s unlikely they’d have enough connections to recruit such a varied set of roles. You simply can’t get that from one person.
Partnering with Lab17 meant we could use your expertise and depth of talent to recruit for all of those very different roles. And we could also keep the people and culture function super tight.
We had a couple of the Lab17 crew work in-house with us, but we had access to your entire team. So I could say, ‘Hey, I need a data engineer! Or, hey, we’re looking for a business development person’, and you could find us one.
It gave us that diversity of expertise, without having to have 4 talent acquisition people in-house.
What do you think the tipping point for you was in choosing The Lab?
I think it was the pace at which we needed to find roles. We were moving fast.
My philosophy has always been to stay lean in central functions and work closely with hiring managers during the acquisition process.
But because we were growing so rapidly, it meant the hiring team was trying to onboard new people, while still delivering velocity in their day jobs.
And, with a tiny central team, we just couldn’t deliver what we needed.
That’s when I knew we needed to partner with The Lab17.
How was this problem impacting Athena?
To put it bluntly, we were not giving the candidates the Athena experience we wanted.
We’d put a job up and then be inundated with job-seekers – a lot of whom weren’t suitable. But suitable or not, we still don’t want to give them a bad experience.
Unfortunately, hiring managers in a scaling business don’t have the time to give a clearly unsuitable applicant a positive experience through tailored experience and feedback. And the trouble with that is it impacts our ability to recruit down the track because you can gain a bad reputation for not getting back to candidates.
How did we help you overcome that challenge?
You just solved all those problems for us!
For me, the difference is the deeply embedded nature of our partnership. It’s not only the breadth of experience you have across the Lab; the tight partnership we developed meant you genuinely understand our culture.
It doesn’t feel like we’ve just farmed out the roles to an agency where you’re not sure what they’re promising the candidates – and whether we can even deliver on those promises.
With The Lab17, we’ve got that trust. You understand us, so what you’re selling the candidate is truly ‘us’. And that means together, we can give candidates a far richer, more positive experience.
How has Athena changed and progressed since our partnership began? What has The Lab17 brought to the table?
It’s been a journey!
We started with a very narrow scope in [recruiting for] the tech and engineering space. Yet, whenever we’ve come to you and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this kind of left field type of role we need filling,’ you’ve delivered for us.
And that’s probably been surprising for us.
I mean, I always felt incredibly confident early on that those very typical tech startup roles would be wholly and solely in your sweet spot. But I was pleasantly surprised just how extendable that was to then tap into the wider market.
Once you knew us, our culture and the type of people we were looking for, you could problem-solve and find the right candidates. That ability to broaden the solution and partnership across the entire organisation has definitely surpassed my expectations.
Since partnering with you guys, we’ve learned a lot about the art of talent acquisition.
Things like how we get the job spec right. Or how we deliver a great candidate experience. And how, as a challenger, we can reach talent in a competitive market without having to rely on agencies.
Working alongside The Lab17 has definitely been a growth factor in our business.
We’ve been able to tap into your expertise to know exactly what’s happening for candidates in the market. That’s allowing us to be nimble enough to be relevant in the space.
It’s about having that external conversation and understanding what we need to do to stay competitive. It’s been incredibly helpful!
– Reacting to an immediate need