As Head of Talent Delivery at Andela, I’ve had the opportunity to scale our delivery processes and systems through a period of exponential growth. This consistently presents a unique set of changes that are just as challenging as they are rewarding.
Andela’s growth was recently profiled in a case study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which focused on how our talent network helps companies improve engineering output while providing technologists in emerging markets with the resources, expertise, and experience necessary to enhance their personal and career development.
After our $100M Series D announcement, we embraced growth to build new infrastructure for the future of distributed work. Three main themes drove the successful scale-up of our Talent Delivery teams and processes: People, productivity, and tools.
Invest in your people and what they believe in
As you scale, ensure that the people you’re working with are empowered to grow with the company. Implement frameworks that enable your team members to step into new responsibilities, follow projects they’re passionate about, or take on bigger challenges.
When it comes to managing a scaling team, remember that change fatigue is real and be mindful of that.
At Andela, my team has stayed attuned to the mission and vision of where we’re headed, both as a team and organization-wide. As an individual contributor, it can be difficult to connect the dots between your day-to-day tasks and how that input helps the company grow. By helping people understand how their work ladders up to the bigger picture, even with all the change happening, team members are reminded that their impact matters.
Process is progress
In the same way that any restaurant has to be prepared to take on an influx of orders, a team must scale its processes as the company grows. You have to make sure that your workflows still make sense at your new speed or with the new quantum of work you’re tackling. Based on the projected volume of work—whether you’re launching a tech platform or you’re building a bridge that’s going to be used by thousands or millions of people—you might have to make changes so that your processes meet your team’s newest demands.
Does this look like a different style of onboarding or managing? Absolutely. With more people in a growing company, especially in a remote environment, information needs to be organized cleanly and updated consistently.
Team members need the right structures set up so that if they’re joining the company for the first time, or if they’re at a point where they need to recall information, they can easily access resources to optimize their workflow and overall productivity.
Adapt your tools as you grow
Knowing the volume your tools will break is helpful because you’re able to avoid the pitfall of waiting until it’s too late. If you can identify beforehand what changes you need to make to your suite of tools, you can problem-solve from miles away.
At Andela, as we continue to grow, we ask ourselves every day: How do we best capture data? Are we using the best version of a certain tool to meet our needs? What will this software or app have to do tomorrow that it isn’t doing today?
To build sustainability into growth, you have to invest in the right tools at the right time. That might look like springing for the enterprise version sooner than you might predict instead of sticking with the free trial. A period of exponential growth is also a great time to reassess your tool set. Starting out, you may have used anything available, but because quality matters over quantity, knowing exactly how each product will serve your business goals will make it easier to strategize how they’re used in the company.