* In this chapter, Connect&GO employees are referred to as GOers (a genderless term that includes all team members). 

You heard it from Denis in the short introductory video, a first HR hire can support an organizational transformation. We humbly wanted to share our learnings after our first year with a person dedicated to humans at Connect&GO, hoping that it will inspire others to do the same. 

First, according to our COO François-Pierre, here are the 3 keys to a first hire in human resources :

  1. This person should be the employee between “#”15 and 20 in the organization (although we do not see humans at all as ‘#’, it is rather a question of demonstrating the moment of arrival in the organization). This may seem early for some of you. At the same time, investing early to grow properly ensures that we don’t have to invest in 10x repair costs later; 
  2. The hiring of this person signals to the team members that the organization is investing the necessary resources to prioritize a strong organizational culture in its strategic objectives; 
  3. Finally, the biggest impact of this hire comes from the systems and practices that are put in place more quickly, with an in-house champion that is 100% dedicated to doing so. So it’s not just about putting the role in place,  it’s about having the right person as a pilot and for the organization to make good HR practices a strategic priority. 

Do you know the impact of your team’s engagement on the success of your organization? I invite you to read this study, which FP shares internally to support our awareness of the direct link between these two data, a link that is not always visible in organizations, and yet engagement is definitely  one of the key differentiators when it comes to success. 

For his part, Gabriel our Senior Director of Finance and Administration,  shares the following three key lessons to remember for a first hire in human resources :

  1. In the beginning, in a start-up, everyone is in contact. Everyone has time for others, there is naturally a closeness between team members. As a business grows, the team grows and the priorities multiply. It then becomes more difficult to have the same proximity with each member of the team. This is usually a good indication that it is time to hire a first HR person who will have that role of supporting others to fill. Dedication to employees means making each team member better and ultimately getting more in return. 
  2. For most companies, the payroll represents the biggest bottom out but despite this, hiring an HR person is considered an expense. For my part, I really see every $ I put into employees as an investment. No business will hesitate to invest in sales and marketing to promote their products and services. It is a necessity in order to be able to generate sales. The correlation is just as direct and positive at the team member level. Investing in employees will have a positive impact on the engagement, well-being and performance of team members which will allow the company to have a greater return on its investment.  
  3. However, it is key to measure the impacts of this investment. Naturally, every business will measure the return on marketing investments through sales goals and revenue metrics. On the other hand, we are less used to it and it is less natural to have dashboards at the level of “People” metrics. Tracking these (often measurable through tools such as Office Vibe and Lattice), is key and enables the company to be proactive rather than reactive while identifying employee needs. It’s by tracking key KPIs, such as engagement level, eNPS, and turnover, that you quickly see that there is a positive correlation with the success of your business. Like what, it is not only the investment in marketing that can have an impact on your income. 

After the valuable ideas of my colleagues, I will conclude by sharing with you in my top 3 thoughts on the notion of a first HR hire. 

  1. I shared with you thoughts from François-Pierre and Gabriel because together we form the HRTribe at Connect&GO. It means that yes I was the first HR hire in the organization, but from my very first day we always reflecting and challenged everything related to our team members together. In my view, this is one of the main sources of motivation and support for a first-time hire; surrounding it with people with an executive role who deeply believe deeply (and better yet want to contribute) to the integration of best HR practices into the strategic mission; 
  1. No matter what state your organization is in right now, it’s never too late (though never too early either!) to decide to invest in your humans. What I’m saying is that we are not hiding it, C&GO had problems with organizational culture, retention and leadership. A year later, I can confirm that the transformation was possible, no matter where we started the process. Yes, we have become a truly transparent organization, we have changed the relationship between managers and team members, we have improved  inter-departmental collaboration, we now have a process that supports performance development and evaluation, we share common priorities and we have built our organizational values together! While we do not take any of this for granted and we still have a long way to go (as there always will be), we can also appreciate how far we have come together over the past year; 
  1. Finally, I invite you to sincerely ask yourself about the person you will choose to lead the implementation of the human resources component in your organization. What will you be looking to accomplish with this person on board? Depending on your answers, why not take a step back and identify key and non-negotiable skills to help see beyond a person’s CV or certificates. I leave you with ideas that characterize myself as a person, but which have nothing to do with a traditional path in HR that I do not have: 
  • An unwavering and equitable consideration for all team members, regardless of title, seniority, opinion, power; 
  • A deep passion and intrinsic motivation for the development of others to become a better version of themselves; 
  • A comfort and happiness to find onself in the shadows in order to make the people we support shine. 

In closing, if you would like to exchange on your first HR hire, please and sincerely, let us  know,  we would be so happy to be able to talk to you about it, and our team would be happy to be able to support you as much as we can in your process if you believe that could be useful! 

I will come back to you next month with other initiatives that we have put in place in OUR CULTURE CODE. 
Talk to you soon! 

Sophie Gadoury – Connect&GO Head, Culture & Engagement

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