Human resources departments are charged with helping companies find candidates and keep employees happy and engaged. Jennifer Knowles, an HR executive at Sendoso, shared her thoughts with us on finding new team members, the importance of offering employees flexibility, and navigating the changing world of work.

Your company Sendoso has quickly grown from 11 employees to 139 employees. What do you think the biggest challenge has been in finding the right people for your team?

We have been very successful with all our employees reaching out to their networks to find either previous co-workers they enjoyed working with or asking for recommendations.

When you grow quickly those networks can start to become overused, and it has been harder to find people who have a connection to someone at Sendoso. We have had to source and utilize more tools to help us make informed decisions with new hires, as well as band together as a management team to help in areas we can around recruiting.

What HR tech do you use to attract and assess candidates?

I believe a great company website goes a long in showcasing the culture we strive so hard to create, so keeping your roles updated, pictures current and blog relevant helps inform candidates of who we are.

We also utilize Glassdoor to ensure our current openings are showcased to targeted groups of candidates. We are working towards implementing some new technology surrounding electronic references, resume scanning and socially sourcing. 

Do you offer your employees any kind of flexible work, such as the ability to work from home, or staggering their schedules?

The way work is done in today’s world is unique to any period in time. It is about being available, and the workforce requires flexibility in getting the job done. 

We are proud to offer our employees flexibility in their schedules, and many of our employees need this in working with our various teams across the world. We do want to continue to have our employees experience our amazing culture so coming together and being face-to-face is still important to us, but that also includes employees working from the beach when they want a change of scene!

Beyond finding jobs that meet their skill set, what do you think employees are most looking for in a job today?

I think everyone is looking for purpose and the ability to make an impact. We want to know we helped build something great, and that the work will have a lasting impact.  Nobody wants to be considered a number in a spreadsheet, or just another cog in the wheel. They want to be part of a company that celebrates successes, gives you the ability to grow and learn in unique areas and have like-minded awesome people surrounding you. People have a choice of where to work, so making sure they are contributing in meaningful ways always gives you a leg up against the competition.

How do you build and maintain a culture at a quickly growing startup?

You have to maintain the camaraderie in all areas and celebrate all successes, no matter how small. Send out emails with sales deals closed, have a shout out channel in your instant messaging platform where everyone can post to, and have company meetings where you can see everyone come together. We have a fabulous executive team who is engaged in sending out kudos, updates, celebrations, etc. on a daily basis. 

To me, culture is not having a ping pong table in your break room, it is a mentality that “Success Is Fun” and celebrating that together. 

What are the biggest challenges in retaining employees and keeping them engaged?

Sometimes things can move so fast in a start-up where everyone is wearing multiple hats, that communication can sometimes be the first thing that drops. Employees want to know what is going on and what is the game plan for the future, even if it is just a quick update. You need to show employees how their role is helping achieve those future goals, and reward them when they knock your socks off with excellent performance.

I also think it is so important to let employees in every area work on special projects. This helps them stretch their creative side, interact with different teams and discover another side of the company.

What HR technology do you plan to use as Sendoso grows?

We are a heavy user of Slack to keep all employees up to date on enhancements, milestones and shout outs. We also are rolling out an LMS to help employees get training resources faster and on-demand. Also, in an effort to toot our own horn, we use Sendoso to send our candidates, new hires and tenured employees awesome swag as celebrations happen. 

How do you see technology and the changing world of work affecting HR’s methods and goals in the future?

I believe HR needs to become more mobile and available. Employees have questions at 1am, how can you get them an answer ASAP? The workforce is sometimes spread out, so how can HR be available for face-to-face and video in all locations? Automating employee experiences through technology is part of what Sendoso is trying to help companies with. We create personal interactions through technology that help employee engagement.