Software start-ups adopt unique HR practices to retain talent

UCW News Team  |  April 20, 2016

Selection of the best candidate

Start-ups and small businesses are often confronted with several HR challenges, especially when they expand and grow too quickly. The way they resolve these challenges can help them succeed or fail in a highly competitive global market. A small business owner has to come up with novel ideas to manage HR-related issues in order to hold on to talent. 

Traction on Demand is a good example of how a start-up or small business can manage its HR-related problems in a unique manner while it is growing. The Vancouver-based software firm helps companies put their marketing strategies into practice with the help of the Salesforce.com customer relationship management service. 

In 2010, Traction on Demand had just five employees. However, it has grown rapidly since then, with the number of employees surging to 130 in 2015. Greg Malpass, the founder of the company, saw the departments in his company becoming stratified as the company grew. In order to combat this, Malpass decided to eliminate departments altogether. Instead, he created independent teams of 20 to 30 professionals. Each team had similar capabilities but supported different clients. 

After Malpass implemented this unique solution, he observed a 20 percent increase in revenue. Today, the company has 200 employees and plans are afoot to add another 100 employees in 2016. Malpass said that Traction on Demand is on a growth trajectory and the company is consistently exceeding its targets by 20 percent. 

Malpass believes this change would have been unacceptable to investors. He was able to implement these drastic measures because Traction on Demand is an employee-owned firm. 

Another Vancouver-based software start-up, Clio, believes that acquiring investors is the best way for a start-up to grow and expand. The company, which offers management tools for law firms, launched its first product in 2009. Today, Clio boasts 200 global employees, a number similar to that of Traction on Demand. 

Clio’s Vice President of Business Development, George Psiharis, believes that venture capital funds and unique investment opportunities make his organization an interesting partner. The company has in-house lawyers to write content for clients, and it has also forged close partnerships with bar associations and law societies, who recommend Clio’s software to their members. 

Psiharis said that Clio had to change itself at different stages during its growth and expansion, and the company depended heavily on employee referral programs to increase its head count and hire like-minded employees. 

A small business or start-up in the midst of expansion needs creative and innovative ways to deal with human resources problems and retain talent. The UCW MBA program has a comprehensive HR-related course, Human Resource Management in the Global Environment, which teaches MBA students to develop strategies, procedures, policies, structures, and systems in order to efficiently manage human resources in a multi-cultural and global business environment. After completing the course, MBA students become knowledgeable about HR issues affecting businesses and have the ability to critically analyze the key HR tools to adopt the best HR practices.

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