Megan Sullivan-Jenks, Director of Marketing, Choozle: Culture building is huge right now, and lots of companies have competitive offerings. How do you hire and maintain top talent in an up-and-coming tech hub like Denver?
Emma Bindbeutel, Director of People Operations, Choozle: A big goal at Choozle is to always hire hungry and driven people. We want people to join Choozle to make an impact and bring skills we currently don’t have or need to continue to grow in. This is a special place to work thanks to having a very engaged culture, a great team, and a beautiful office to be productive and work in. We want to set up our team for success and empower employees to grow in their roles. I’m proud that we can offer this experience to all Choozlers and candidates interested in working for our company. We make sure we keep employee happiness top of mind with bi-annual pulse checks, and we make it a priority to always educate our team on how our company is growing.
MSJ: At Choozle, the great people we have on our team is our number one asset. What do you implement into the hiring process to ensure someone will gel with everyone on the team?
EB: Of course, we always hope to hire good people that will get along with all team members, but more than that we really focus on candidates who have an eagerness to learn and want to leave their mark on a company. Drive, curiosity, and that eagerness to learn are contagious. These qualities have really helped us build productive and successful teams at Choozle.
MSJ: It’s a common understanding that once you pass 50 employees, things may start to shift—therefore, scaling company culture can be a challenge. What are your thoughts on that?
EB: Culture change is never a bad thing and should be embraced as something positive and exciting when companies cross new growth marks. No startup wants to stay stagnant and growth helps unlock new opportunities. It’s very important, with scaling company culture, to find ways to focus on engagement and celebrating each win along the way, no matter how big or small. We created our team-wide Choozle Crews with the idea that no matter how big our team got, every Choozler could be part of a smaller group at the company that helps them get to know people outside of who they usually work with, learn more about the company, and celebrate success.
MSJ: On the same note, do you think a team needs to shift away from the “family” mindset at any point? Why or why not?
EB: You would never want to fire your mom. “Family” is a hard word to use when you are growing and scaling a company. When we work for a growing startup company, we are a team. One definition of that is to “come together as a team to achieve a common goal”. A “team” culture can be just as strong as a “family” culture, but a team’s main goal is to win. We prepare a game plan and make sure we have strong players in every position.
MSJ: Our quarterly summits are a big part of our team-building. What all goes into planning those, and do you think other companies should implement similar events within their organization? Why?
EB: Before you host a summit, there should always be a focus on why you’re hosting a summit. Since we have a handful of team members who are remote, we want our all-team summits to be a time that our whole staff is in the same room with a common goal. We want to help re-energize everyone on the team and make sure we’re all on the same page for the upcoming six months of work (since we have two summits a year). We’ve had a lot of success with our summits bringing our team closer and giving them time to connect away from email, their desk, and their day-to-day hustle. That time is so valuable and it’s something that’s really celebrated at Choozle.
Emma Bindbeutel is the Director of People Operations for the fast-growing startup, Choozle. She leads the hiring process and HR relations for the Choozle team. Previously, she worked with Craftsy in Denver and TOMS Shoes in the Los Angeles area. Her entire career has been working for fast-growing, mission-driven companies. Both TOMS and Craftsy taught her many lessons about working in a teamwork environment. She has continued to seek out companies with similar synergy, spirit, and the dedication it takes to make growing companies successful.