Talent That Scales: Make Yours An Organization Of Entrepreneurs

Original post by Fast Company

Advice for startups looking to staff up–fast.

Startups expect a lot of their people. They need to be able to work withinA the confines of a small company–be creative with tight budgets, willing to wear multiple hats, and eager to put in long hours. But they also need to be suited to big organizations; after all, most startups are designed to grow into big companies.

As the founder and CEO of one such aspirational startup, Betterment.com, I’m often asked how I balance rapid growth of company and team with getting the mix of people right. The beauty of creating a business that does things differently is that innovation doesn’t stop with the product. We, as leaders of these companies, have the rare opportunity to reinvent the hiring process. A trailblazing startup bucks convention, and building a team is no exception.

At Betterment, we don’t seek to fill static roles. We look for people with complementary skill sets; people who can slot right into the team and fulfill multiple responsibilities. Ultimately, we just want people who can execute on our vision and bring their own critical thinking to the table.

Complete the Talent Puzzle

Lots of startups begin with an original team of 2-4 people. In our case, a developer, a product lead, a lawyer and me, a banking and finance consultant. We launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2010 and immediately gained 1,000 new customers. It was clear we needed to staff up, and fast.

Luckily, we knew what we didn’t know and quickly identified the gaps–a shrewd marketing head and a whole team of developers who could bring our vision to life. Soon after we needed more bodies on customer service, product development, and to create a stronger brand and voice.