Amee Parekh is the Head of HR for UberEats U.S. Division at Uber Technologies Inc., one of Uber’s fastest-growing divisions.
Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of leading HR teams at a few of the world’s fastest-growing technology companies. More recently at Uber Technologies, where I lead HR for our food delivery business in the U.S., I have had to create and implement HR initiatives as we constantly evolve our business models in response to the market changes. Here’s what I know to be an effective method for creating an HR strategy in a stage of hypergrowth.
Five Steps To Creating Your HR Strategy.
1. Gather quantitative and qualitative data.
• Qualitative: Review all data related to the business and people.
• Qualitative: Conduct in-depth interviews of the leader’s direct reports and key partners and collaborators.
2. Identify big themes. Group everything that you hear and review into big categories of challenges that your business is facing. Broaden the themes enough such that they can stand alone as areas and you don’t need to change them every few months.
3. Understand the business goals in depth. This will help you identify which challenges you need to solve through your HR strategy and will help you distill through the noise.
4. Define your strategy. Identify the most pressing issue that you will solve through your strategy. It could be hypergrowth or driving toward the profitability or survival of the business.
5. Identify what will not be part of your strategy. Some of the world’s strongest strategies are intentional about everything they will not do. This keeps teams focused and engaged on the most pressing challenges and avoids diluting efforts.
Deep Diving Into Each StepGather Qualitative And Quantitative Data
When you start with any new organization or division, review a large variety of data related to both people and the business. On the business front, review if the P&L looks strong and if business is growing or declining. Understand the competitive pressures from external markets — if they are severe, as they often are when a business model is new, it can mean that your business model needs to evolve, and fast. On the people front, explore data points such as:
1. Demographics: What is the head count, in how many locations?
2. Career levels: What levels are employees in? Are they mostly early or late in their careers?
3. Attrition: The trend is more important than the actual numbers. Is it high or low? Is there business disruption because it is high, or is that something you want to build into your model?
4. Engagement score from surveys: Are employees engaged or looking to leave?
5. Span of control: Do managers typically manage large or small teams? This will highlight the type of resources and support they need.
6. Future hiring needs: Does the future hiring need indicate an accelerated pace, or is it indicative of the business maturing or declining?
Identify Themes And Understand Business Goals
Based on everything you have heard, analyze what seem to be the most pressing priorities for the organization. Is it about to embark on unprecedented growth? Has it just acquired a business that is underperforming and needs to complete turnaround? Or is this a mature business that really needs a spark of innovation or bold bets to set up for the future?
Depending on how you analyze the stage of business, your HR strategy will follow suit. If you are embarking on hypergrowth, having a strong recruitment organization, processes and hiring managers trained and aligned on what you are looking for is critical. If your business needs a complete overhaul, convincing your executive team to go to the drawing board and focus on organizational strategy and design with you may be crucial. Through this, you will be prepared to set the organization up for success over the next 12-18 months.
Define Your Strategy
Find the top two to three things that you, your team and your organization’s leaders must do over the next few months to survive and succeed. You may do other things if you need to; however, these are your few focus areas where you agree that failure is not an option.
Define What Is Not Included
This is perhaps the most challenging aspect of any strategy. We all operate in an environment of limited resources, budgets, head count and time. Spending the time upfront identifying the things that will drive the least impact to your business (or distract from the main goals of the business) will save time later. These are challenging conversations, but if done effectively, they can help drive expectations among all stakeholders.
When done right, your HR strategy will be effective in being a powerful growth driver for the organization and create truly positive employee experiences — even in a constantly changing business environment.