“If the startup phase is about proving things out, the scaleup phase is about making things repeatable at scale. Scaling up requires a different set of skills, because you’re going from, say 20, to 200 to 2,000 people. In the startup phase, you don’t need many processes in place because everybody communicates via personal relationships. When you’ve grown to an organization of 200 people, it’s quite different” (Forbes, 2020).
You have probably heard countless stories about new companies that grow at a rate so fast they begin to struggle to manage growth effectively. When scaleups rapidly add people it becomes impossible for previously loose communication channels to remain efficient. As a founder, you lose the ability to touch base with your employees via e.g. morning meetings, 1-1s, or even at the coffee station or Friday bar. The result is that founders or managers who run scaleups quickly find themselves detached from their organization, and the chaos begins to take a toll on employee engagement and motivation.
Simply put, as you scale, social systems become complex, and internal processes and communication begin to warrant more structure and standardization.
Scaleups are in other words “in the business of building the social systems and the processes that will allow for reliable future growth” (Forbes, 2020).
While growing a company at the rate that defines the organization as a scale-up is a dream to most founders (according to the OECD, a scaleup is a company with an average annual return of at least 20% for the past three years), it also comes with challenges, as growth is a tricky task to manage.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways around the pitfalls and pain points that scale-ups might encounter. The Mindpool platform helps with just that. Read along to find out what the typical pain points for scale-ups are, and how Mindpool helps managers tackle these.
Staying in touch with the business, as the company is experiencing growth, is difficult. It is relevant to look at some of them, all of which can be solved by using Mindpool.
When a scale-up experiences high growth, the company and management might be so focused and caught up in growth that they fail to understand their biggest pain points and opportunities. This might lead them to not identify the right problems and find the corresponding solutions for the problems before it is too late. Especially employee insights are lost in translation and consequently never reach founders or management of the scaleup.
Another common issue for scale-ups is that the business might be run by a visionary who has a firm idea of what the company can be. This vision clinches with the expectations from shareholders and stakeholders, which might result in a lack of business alignment. As an add-on to this business alignment, you have the actual state of the company as it is now, and how the employees perceive it. Gaps between company vision, image, culture and information can arise, which may lead to unhappiness and unfulfilled expectations across the company stakeholder groups.
If managers are wound up attracting new talent, it is key to implement a strategy to retain existing talent and continuously drive a world-class culture at work. Otherwise, the risk is that while managers are out attracting new talent, they fail to retain the existing talent. This can lead to disengaged employees that do not have their potential fulfilled. Organizations are built on the foundation of employee knowledge, and no one understands the business as well as the employees do.
If managers do not stay in touch with their business and keep in mind to connect with their employees, they miss out on the value of employee-driven insights and suggestions about their biggest problems and opportunities. On top of this, and perhaps more importantly, employees that joined the scaleup precisely because of the level of impact they were promised, feel unengaged, unmotivated, and not listened to.
Immense issues can arise from this pitfall. Employees that do not feel as if they are being heard do not reach objectives, lack focus, understanding of processes and structure, encounter knowledge and information gaps, and ultimately, do not feel engaged. Engaged employees are pivotal to the success and performance of organizations, which is why retaining the right talent is crucial.
Simply put, Mindpool is a research-backed platform powered by human intelligence and enabled by technology. Mindpool helps source insights from people within organizations and bridge information gaps all the way from the frontline to the management level. With the help of machine learning and novel technologies, Mindpool seamlessly transforms quantitative and qualitative input from employees into predictions and insights with tangible actions for decision-makers within organizations, all at low cost and effort.
As we have established, there are plenty of pitfalls and pain points that scale-ups might encounter on their growth journey. Luckily, the Mindpool platform helps managers tackle this issue through collective intelligence. But how, exactly?
Check out our full FAQ for a deep dive into how the Mindpool platform actually works.
Harness all employee insights and suggestions in one place
Employees are organizations’ number one source of insights about the business, as they know exactly what is going on through their experiences, emotions, intuition, and gut feeling. This information and knowledge that employees possess is called collective intelligence. Mindpool harnesses these insights from employees, structures the data, and offers suggestions that managers can use to help identify opportunities and threats and stay in touch with the organization by listening to its employees.
Mindpool helps you harness the voice of employees as you scale. Discover unfiltered and unbiased employee-driven insights and actionable suggestions that you can benefit from right away.
Manage growth and stay close to your employees
As mentioned above, staying connected with current employees is complicated, if managing growth steals up managers’ time. Scaling at a fast rate creates information gaps. Mindpool helps you close the information gap by serving the employee insights in a systematic way with an overview of insight from employees that you can act on.
Understand your biggest pain points and opportunities
56% of employees have insights that can impact your bottom line, yet only a third of them feel heard. Wasting all these unique employee insights is a shame as these are vital to the performance of the business. Mindpool helps organizations drive bottom-line impact and discover your biggest problems and opportunities as you scale.
Align your business and empower your people
Employees and their collective intelligence offer unique insights into the business as well as actionable suggestions for how the organization should move forward. But not only do employees offer these insights. They are also able to predict the future of the company. By fostering a world-class culture where employees are engaged and feel heard and included, they will happily share their unique insights through Mindpool. The interesting fact worth remembering is that companies with engaged employees are 21% more profitable.
cofenster is one of the many companies that use collective intelligence to their benefit, in this instance, to manage growth. cofenster is a Hamburg-based scale-up serving companies with software for easy, seamless and professional video creation. Tons of large companies already use cofenster. The company recently raised an impressive Series A (read more about that here). As a result, the company has experienced a growth rate that highlights a significant need to stay in touch with the business and employees. Mindpool helps cofenster stay connected by providing management with cost-effective and instant access to the voice and insights of employees on one single platform.
So, what employee insights has cofenster uncovered by using Mindpool?
First of all, the employees predicted that the company’s overall performance is expected to become better (a score of 2.3 on a scale from -3 to 3) over the next three months. This is a positive sign that is closely linked to the overall performance and satisfaction level within the organization. The employees tie the high performance rate to the quality of the products and services that cofenster offers, and the key points are that critical features are being developed on the basis of relevant customer feedback, which means that it is very clear for the development team how exactly the product needs refinement and innovation for continuous customer success and satisfaction.
The right hires to solve growing pains
Another factor that points to the performance success is the high level of quality of recent hires, especially in customer success. At cofenster employees clearly identify that customer success is critical in coping with growing sales, but more importantly in retaining user satisfaction scores (NPS). The cofenster employees offered concrete actionable suggestions that can also improve the customer experience, from introducing specific workshops and content that can help users get the full experience from using cofenster’s video software.
A instant overview of department scores and insights
With Mindpool, each team and department at cofenster received access to detailed insights and suggestions to manage growth and to include employees in decision-making. Across the board, employees at cofenster were positive about the direction of the company with insights providing the ability for teams to navigate a quickly changing market with much greater speed.
For example, the input from employees provided insights about altogether new target groups and markets that benefit from using cofenster, spurring revenue growth through both upselling to existing accounts and the identification of altogether new buying personas. This specific insight supported every department from marketing, to sales, to management with the insights to provide more targeted product marketing, higher conversion SoMe campaigns, increased lead-to-deal time in sales funnels, and a better understanding of customer pain points.
By using Mindpool, cofenster has received an intuitive overview of employee insights and uncovered actionable suggestions that can help them manage and navigate growth and stay on top of their biggest problems and opportunities. And you and your company can do it too, at low effort and cost. There are only two ingredients you need for smarter decision-making that can help you solve your pain points as a scale-up: Mindpool and your employees — you already have one of these ingredients.
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