The disruption and ambiguity brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has created manifold HR and Resourcing challenges for business.
People & Culture teams have increasingly come under the microscope, and in many cases companies have looked to strengthen or upgrade their HR and Talent Leadership in order to better navigate this complexity.
Renaissance Leadership have identified a few key trends in the People & Culture arena that merit further discussion:
- The nature of work has changed for good: The global pandemic has led to a paradigm shift in the nature of work. Hybrid and ‘remote-first’ models are here to stay, with few businesses opting to return to 100% office-based work. This brings into focus the topic of compensation – do you pay your people according to their location, or according to the job they do regardless of location? Momentum appears to be swinging towards the latter. When it comes to Chief People Officer hiring it’s important to find close alignment between the workplace strategy of the business and a candidate’s own personal philosophy & beliefs around the best way to build a winning culture.
- The ‘war for talent’ has reached an unprecedented level: There is arguably more money in the tech market than ever, however many growth-stage companies face resourcing challenges as they look to scale at pace. The best candidates are often hard to find, lock in, and keep. This problem is especially acute in functions like engineering. Strong employer branding, a well-defined mission and a world class employee & candidate experience is needed to attract and retain quality candidates. Many companies are realising that having a game-changing hire in their Talent function can provide a competitive advantage in winning the ‘war for talent’.
- People Analytics and Data have grown in strategic importance in the eyes of Founders & CEO’s, which in turn has driven greater product innovation: We are seeing a lot of innovation in the HR Tech space and also in the way that Employee Experience is designed - from applying Agile product development methodology when developing the People & Culture roadmap, to leveraging AI to automate recruitment processes. HR Tech in particular is becoming an increasingly active space and it is important for Chief People Officer’s to keep up with current trends.
- Longevity of demand for Senior People & Talent Executives has exacerbated the market shortage of ready-made candidates: This is a candidate driven market in all functions, but perhaps more so in the People & Talent space. At Renaissance Leadership the People & Culture Practice has been our busiest sector for the last 18-months. The market for People and Talent Leadership is extremely competitive, with demand for candidates with relevant growth-stage experience massively outstripping supply. This places more emphasis on assessing a candidate’s potential for a new sector rather than the comfort of a familiar-looking CV - driving home the importance of partnering with a search firm with true functional expertise.
As we near the half-year mark we thought it would be a good time to review some of our recent People & Culture successes. Listed below are some of the hires that we have delivered at either the Chief People Officer or VP People level.
Many thanks to all of the great investors, clients and candidates that have worked with us throughout this period.
Group Chief People Officer
Veronica joined the Cazoo executive team in the summer of 2021 and is responsible for all leadership, culture, capability and talent management across the group . Cazoo has since listed on NYSE in a deal that valued the business at $7bn and also included a further $1.6bn in new growth financing. In February 2022, Cazoo announced an additional $630m in funding to support continued UK and Continental European expansion plans. Headcount has grown significantly over the last 12 months, from just under 600 to now well over 2,000 employees.
Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO of Cazoo, said this: “I am very pleased to welcome Veronica to the Cazoo team. Her experience in transforming working practices in large organisations, driving diversity and instilling high-performance cultures will be invaluable as we continue to grow and deliver on our mission of providing the best car buying experience for consumers across the UK and Europe.”
Prior to joining Cazoo, Veronica worked as an advisor in the technology and private equity space. Veronica was also previously Group Chief People Officer at Photobox & Moonpig Group, where she led a large-scale cultural transformation across Europe. She has been instrumental in pioneering progressive people solutions, demonstrated through her responsibility for Talent & Organisation Development at eBay and leading the change programme in support of the landmark Heathrow Terminal 5 opening.
For more information, please visit www.cazoo.co.uk
Ankorstore is a disruptive French scale-up that has reinvented the wholesaling marketplace for independent retailers across Europe. Founded in 2019, it has taken Ankorstore just two years to become one of Europe’s newest unicorns, with a $2bn valuation, after raising $283m in Series C investment this January (backed by Tiger Global and Bain Capital). Ankorstore is now active in 23 countries, with 200,000 retailers using the platform to source items from 15,000 brands.
Johann joined Ankorstore as their first VP People. Working closely with the leadership team, Johann’s key mission is to help Ankorstore steer its growth and build and scale a world-class infrastructure and culture. Johann joined Ankorstore from Heartland Labs and Ioniq Group – a collection of seed and start-up stage tech and digital health businesses headquartered in Berlin, where he was responsible for supporting the portfolio with HR strategy and Talent Acquisition.
Johann has an authentic high quality HR background gained first in the aviation industry and then with L’Oreal.
For more information, please visit www.ankorstore.com
Founded in Copenhagen, CluedIn is a cloud-native Master Data Management platform that streamlines the process of making data ready for insights. CluedIn’s product is regularly cited in Gartner analyst reports and was named a Cool Vendor for Data Management in 2020. The business announced a Series A funding round of $15m in April of 2021. This round was led by Dawn Capital and funds will be used to continue building out CluedIn’s product, make key hires in sales, marketing and partnerships and drive further global expansion, particularly in the US.
Natalie joined as the business’ first VP People. She has taken responsibility for the company’s HR strategy and employee experience, showcasing CluedIn’s intent to prioritise People & Culture as they begin to scale. Natalie brings a wealth of previous growth experience to this role, having joined from Contino and Global Web Index. Natalie began her HR career in talent acquisition before broadening into wider People leadership roles.
For more information, please visit www.cluedin.com
Aiven is a Finnish Database-as-a-Service provider that allows companies to combine and leverage various open-source technologies in the public cloud. Anna joined the business as VP People following a $100m Series C round held in March of 2021 at an $800m valuation (led by Atomico). The business has since landed further funding, the latest being a $210m Series D round valuing the company at $3bn - a significant increase in such a short space of time.
Anna joined Aiven from leading content management platform Contentful, where she led HR for EMEA. She is partnering with the founder team to continue to scale the business globally.
For more information, please visit www.aiven.io
Chief People Officer
Hazelcast is a real-time, intelligent data processing platform that enables enterprises to capture value at every moment, rather than after-the-fact. Over 200 of the world’s largest companies, including top Financial Services and eCommerce players, rely on Hazelcast to power new, digitally-inspired, extremely performant and mission-critical real-time applications.
Tamzyn was hired by experienced SaaS leader and CEO Kelly Herrel following a series of significant growth funding rounds for the business totalling $50m (backed by Earlybird Venture Capital and Bain Capital Ventures). Tamzyn is a deeply experienced HR leader. She joins Hazelcast from Emarsys, where she was the Global VP of People. During her tenure Emarsys scaled globally from 500 to over 850 employees.
For more information, please visit www.hazelcast.com
Senior Director of Talent Acquisition
Scandit is the market leader in smart data capture, enabling businesses and consumers to interact with everyday objects by blending the physical and digital worlds using computer vision. Scandit have created a unique machine learning platform that combines leading-edge barcode scanning, text recognition (OCR), object recognition and augmented reality (AR) for use on any camera-equipped smart device, from smartphones to drones, wearables and robots. Scandit recently completed a Series D funding round of $150 million, at a company valuation of over $1 billion (led by Warburg Pincus).
Scandit are using this additional funding to further expand their global footprint and team, with plans to grow headcount by another 50% by the end of 2022. Kevin joined to work closely with the leadership team to drive this growth and scale. Kevin has an impressive background in Talent Acquisition, most recently holding the role of Head of Talent Acquisition, Americas for Red Hat. Prior to this Kevin worked as the Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Wayfair.
For more information, please visit www.scandit.com
Founded in 2014, YOOBIC is a UK Headquartered SaaS company that provides an all-in-one digital platform for frontline teams. YOOBIC enables companies with a deskless workforce across retail, hospitality, warehousing and a growing number of other sectors, to empower their employees through digitally optimised communication, training, and task management. Since their launch, YOOBIC has grown rapidly, doubling revenue every year. YOOBIC recently closed a $50m Series C round led by Insight Partners, Felix Capital and Highland Europe.
Charlotte joins the business to build on this impressive growth and lead the international scaling of the people side of the company. She will define & scale the culture, infrastructure, processes and employer brand messaging - establishing YOOBIC as the global go-to solution for deskless frontline teams. Charlotte joins from Oodle Car Finance, where she held the position of Head of People, and has an impressive background in both Search and In-House recruitment.
For more information, please visit www.yoobic.com
Renaissance is a leading Executive Search and Leadership firm based in London and Silicon Valley, specialising in the Digital and Enterprise Technology sectors.
For nearly 20 years we have been building Board and Leadership teams for some of the most exciting start-ups and fast growth companies, mostly VC or Private Equity backed. We also work with leading corporate organisations in the technology sector, and those undergoing rapid technology or digital transformation.