1 Year At Hudl. What Have I Learned?

2016

Today (May 11th 2016) I celebrate my 1 year anniversary at Hudl (*does a mini fist pump*), and oh boy what a year it has been. In the past 12 months I have witnessed the integration of 3 acquisitions, the result of $72.5M in funding and what rapid growth looks like. From the viewpoint of a Recruiter, and any role within Hudl for that matter, it has been a rare, rewarding and challenging environment to be in.

In this post I will, as openly as possible, run through some of the key areas of learning for me in my last year. I wish I could cover everything I have learned here but that would be a rather long blog post indeed. These key areas are:

  1. Recruiting In A ‘Startup’
  2. Dealing With The Unexpected
  3. Growing And Working Internationally

RECRUITING IN A ‘STARTUP’

QA Team

Part of Hudl’s QA Team in a whiteboard session

I’m using apostrophes here because Hudl is not a startup. When I started in May 2015 Hudl was 9 years old and 229 people spanning 4 offices across the USA and UK. In the UK I was hire number 8.

Why am I claiming Hudl is a startup? It’s important to note that out of the 3 acquisitions 2 were startups, including Replay Analysis here in London. A couple of Hudlies from HQ in Lincoln NE (USA) came out to help setup the new office space and build the team, including hiring me. Hudl created the London office and UK presence with 3 Co-Founders of a startup as its base. So the feel of a startup was definitely there, and in many ways still is.

Also, the Talent Squad (aka Recruitment Team) was just a year old when I started. I’ve had the opportunity to learn new hiring processes as well as help influence, change and create new ones. Hudl, like a startup, provides everyone a lot of freedom to deliver on high responsibility roles which has given us room to experiment with our processes and tools.

Upskilling new Hiring Managers too, especially Hiring Managers brought through from acquisitions, and creating hiring strategies for new roles and locations isn’t easy (as covered in this post) but these experiences have helped me grow.

Lastly, in a startup finances are front of mind for everyone, as is the same at Hudl. Hudl’s leadership are transparent about our finances, from gross revenue and company expenses to the value of our stock options. As with almost every company, human capital is the highest expense and so for the Talent Squad our ability to hire the best talent while keeping to budget is always front of mind.

DEALING WITH THE UNEXPECTED

Hudl London Dodgeball

Hudl London Dodgeball Tournament. I received an unexpected shot to the back of the head…

From January 2015 to now Hudl has more than doubled (191 to 419) and we opened offices in Boston, London, Sydney, Marseille and Mumbai. Though Hudl has incredibly bright and ambitious leadership backed by decades of experience with our Board of Advisors and Directors, growing this fast will always cause unforeseen challenges.

To hit the ambitious hiring targets we had in 2015 Hudl grew its Talent Squad to 12. Going into 2016, changes were made that would ensure a more mindful approach towards expenses, Business Development and Sales Teams are grown and prioritised, and hiring would slow down. With less hires to make it didn’t make sense to have such a large Talent Squad, so in January 2016 our team was cut down to 5.

Honestly, it sucked to see my teammates leave the squad, and some leave the company. Over the last 5 months my team and I have had to learn what it means to be lean and agile. We’re now more productive, efficient and proactive than ever and we have come out the other end of that situation stronger.

GROWING AND WORKING INTERNATIONALLY

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Hudl Sydney enjoying beers & bbq on a Friday afternoon

Again, this topic is a blog post unto itself. I could go on to speak about adapting to other cultures, how to source and attract talent in different countries, the differing HR and legal processes, language barriers etc. Here though I want to focus on international communication.

In the last year I’ve helped hire in the USA, UK, France, Netherlands, Canada and Germany. Hudl is truly international and is split over many time zones. In the Talent Squad there’s no exception; 1 Recruiter in London, 1 Recruiter in Boston, 2 Recruiters and 1 Co-Ordinator at HQ in Lincoln NE. Before Hudl I worked in recruitment agencies where my entire team were all sat in close vicinity. It may sound super easy to use Slack, email and video tools such as appear.in and GoToMeeting (FYI, it is) but using them for effective and meaningful communication is more challenging than it appears. All of Hudl, especially our Product Team, will be working with at least 1 person in a different office or time zone. I wasn’t the most effective communicator (and still have ways to go) with online tools when I started, but I have definitely improved. I’ve learned that if you’re in an international business now or in the future, it’s essential to be an effective online communicator.

—————

That’s it from me, I hope you have enjoyed the post. If you want to contact regarding hiring at Hudl, or for any other reason, don’t hesitate to reach out on joe.burridge@hudl.com. Thanks!

 

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