Gerrell & Hard is increasingly acting as a growth partner to innovative technology brands, but what is a “growth partner” in the context of recruitment and workforce management? I thought I’d use this newsletter to answer that question.
When new tech firms are born, the early focus is on developing the technology. After that, the growing pains for tech firms are often about securing investment and premises. Securing talent can be the last piece in the puzzle, despite being the basis for everything that comes next.
The result is that tech companies have to work fast and under pressure when putting resource behind new projects.
Furthermore, as many tech employers today are breaking boundaries, there is no hard and fast rule, no established template for creating and deploying a strategy to identify, attract and onboard talented employees. It’s not like they can fall back on the hard-worn playbook of legacy technologies to build a team. (Nor can most established OEMs today, incidentally, since they too are breaking new ground.)
What’s really critical in a growth partner is that we have to be flexible and responsive, able to join a project at any stage in its lifecycle and either lead, or act as a supplement to, in-house teams.
Here’s my take on where recruitment growth partnerships can extend beyond a pure hiring brief:
Benchmarking can move beyond salary comparisons and trends into analyses of which locations will attract the highest numbers of appropriate candidates, how far candidates will commute, which backgrounds they could hail from, what type of packages have the greatest appeal, what kind of flexible working or hybrid models will prove most popular and where hiring projects most often falter.
Gerrell & Hard has been lucky to be involved with several hiring projects for brands so new and potentially disruptive that they are shrouded in secrecy. When we undertake a project like this, we have to work with a client to understand what we can communicate to the world about them. If we can’t say much, what can we say that will attract the right people?
Workforce planning for a new project is a consultative, full-lifecycle process where growth partners work with clients to build a hiring strategy that can include understanding the benefits of permanent or contract staff and an understanding of what resource budgets are available for upscaling a team.
Software and ATS solutions
We’ve found that a critical area for our clients is about what software and ICT to use, from Applicant Tracking Systems to advertising and branding - specifically how to position a brand to attract candidates. We can speak about what works and what does not, which can help accelerate growth.
Some examples of our growth partnerships
At Volta Trucks we went on a journey with the hiring team which took the brand from startup to scaleup, with each stage requiring different services. Over three years we recruited a number of teams, acting as a scaling partner bolted on to Volta’s talent team, with our mission varying from headhunting a director to hiring a very large number of people across a wide variety of skillsets.
At FORSEVEN we’re working with an exciting EV startup that appears set to undergo dramatic expansion as it reimagines the ecosystem for electric vehicle production and ownership.
Low-volume, behaviour-focused global search work for the INFINITI Motor Company performance academy.
A planned assessment centre for a sizeable graduate intake for EV innovator Polestar, which we had to pivot rapidly to an online format due to the pandemic.
The Nissan Sprint project: identifying future leaders from across the industry.
A sizeable project that powered Honda’s return to F1, which helped the brand accelerate its return to Formula One in a short time frame.
...and many more. Gerrell & Hard’s role as a growth partner is by no means the only way we work with our clients, but it’s fantastic to be involved in the journey of a new company or project. We have an appetite for this work. For me, it boils down to solving problems for employers so they can do great things to solve problems for society.
What caught our attention this month
We all know about the space race playing out among the big technology billionaires, but tech development really looks set to become out of this world. You may have seen “made in Japan”, “made in Britain” or “made in Mexico” labels – but “Made on the moon” could one day be seen in certain circles. NASA research could lead to the development of new lost-cost solar cells designed for use in space, and using only materials harvested from the moon. NASA wants these to sport a "Made on the Moon” label.
Meanwhile, in a recent press release, seven automakers announced that they’re teaming up to build a new charging network. BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group and Stellantis NV intend to build 30,000 charging stations across the US in the next few years.
Meet our partners
If you’re intrigued by any of the examples of our growth partnerships in this month’s main article, view our list of partners here.