Founders How-To: 5 Steps for Designing a Scalable Business

Co-founder & CEO of Personio, Hanno Renner shares his insights and experiences of finding a home amongst the startups and creating Europe’s leading HR Operating System.

For our last Fireside Chat, member Jenny Podewils, Founder and CEO of Leapsome, sat down with Personio Co-founder and CEO Hanno Renner to learn how he hacked his company’s astronomical growth.

Since 2015, Personio has grown from an ambitious idea to a 450-person company digitising HR for over 2,000 startup and SME clients. Check out Hanno Renner’s Top 5 Steps for Designing a Scalable Business here:

Step 1: Start with your core purpose, vision and BHAG.

Hanno described the three defining organizational components of Personio: core purpose, vision and BHAG.

“We have our core purpose which is the reason we exist, what we strive for but never really reach. We have our strategic vision which defines how we will execute on our core purpose over the next 10 years. Then, we have our BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) which is a measurable artifact that allows us to measure whether or not we’re making progress towards our core purpose and vision.”

Step 2: Use your customer journey to create mission-based teams for each stage.

“What are the different steps that you need to do throughout your customer lifecycle? For example, ours are generating leads, converting leads into customers, maximising customer success and so on. Every company is there to serve a customer and make this customer successful. Therefore, figuring out what (teams) you need to do that is very important.”

Step 3: Implement a goal-setting framework from day one.

“I have no clue how to implement OKRs at a 200-person organisation, changing everything. That’s really hard. What’s really easy is to start implementing OKRs in a 5-person organisation. Do these simple things early on while they are simple and then, just grow them with your organisation.”

Step 4: Hire with diversity in mind.

“As we established our C-Level team, I told every headhunter that in the contract that they should write a clause that the shortlist needs to be 50%/ 50% male and female for the final candidates. It’s likely that if we hadn’t contractually forced headhunters to search for female talent, we might have never found it.”

Step 5: Manage employee growth consciously.

“In a startup environment, people can grow quite quickly, but of course, you have to manage that growth so they don’t overload. Are they scaling at the right pace? If you want to develop someone internally, make sure that you keep them on the right growth trajectory.”

Rewatch our conversation with Hanno about his experiences as a founder and the lessons that he has learned about HR best practices from his clients, as well as his own burgeoning company here. Check out our events calendar to find other inspiring and educational events at Factory Berlin.

Charlotte Hook is tech enthusiast and community builder empowering connection and collaboration through events at Factory Berlin.

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