How To Create a Rocket Ship For Personal Growth In Tech Services?

Cloud services visionary Stephen Garden shares his own organizational culture secrets hoping to guide entrepreneurs toward their full capabilities

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While CEOs and company leaders tend to reap most of the public acclaim for their businesses’ prosperity, much of this earned success, particularly in the tech sector, would not be possible without a robust and efficient roster of employees behind it. Still, while curating a great staff is of the utmost importance to a company’s long-term growth, many startups and burgeoning entrepreneurs don’t know the best route to take in the hiring process necessary to take them to the next level. After scaling his own tech company, Onica, to more than $200 million in revenue and 350 employees across 12 global offices, cloud services visionary Stephen Garden now shares his own organizational culture secrets with the rest of the world in hopes of guiding his fellow entrepreneurs toward their full capabilities.

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Oftentimes, searching for new employees presents a difficult conundrum: to hire based on experience, or to hire for potential? While many businessmen tend to bias and trend toward experience, this tunnel-vision approach to staff acquisition can present further hurdles to a company's growth, as the high cost can be uneconomical for expenses and high demand for talent leads to lower availability of options. As such, Garden recommends taking a different approach to solving this hiring puzzle.

“Hiring for experience can be overrated, as finding people that have done the job before and then expecting them to just repeat that for your company isn’t really a compelling driver for them to join you,” says Garden. “People tend to chase ‘Unicorn’ or ‘rockstar’ hires, but this strategy never worked for me; what did work was creating an environment where people could develop their career to the next level.”

Garden recommends taking a balanced approach when seeking to build a talented team. By opening up the employee pool and putting value in both experience and potential, companies can foster an internal organizational culture that promotes efficiency and likewise presents opportunities for upward career growth, fostering loyalty in turn.

“I found that hiring for 50 per cent experience, 50 per cent energy to grow was the optimal mix,” Garden explains. “It’s important to hire people that have some familiarity with what you need them to do. But also have the hunger to learn and build the other 50 per cent of the skills needed for the job.”

“When hiring people, it’s a good idea to have a plan for that candidate’s second opportunity within the company, almost creating a career roadmap before they even begin,” continues Garden, highlighting the importance of giving employees room to grow to help facilitate efficiency.

According to Garden, hiring people with motivation above experience can have positive effects on a company’s trajectory – so long as they’re given the opportunity to evolve this inherent incentive into genuine performance, that is.

“Throwing people in at the deep end versus being risk-averse and limiting employees' responsibilities is a tight line to balance,” says Garden. “When in doubt, I am always biased towards the deep end strategy. Practical learning experiences are very powerful”  

By fostering a positive personal growth environment within his own workplace, Garden was able to catapult his company to wide-scale success ahead of its 2019 acquisition.