How One Company Hired 2,000 People Without Compromising Culture

At BoS we don’t tend to default to idolising the kind of rapid and massive growth Valley culture thrives on. Mainly because it feels often driven by ego and valuation rather than solving a genuine market problem.

The ability to scale however is one of the attractive features of software after all, so when we come across a good scale-up or growth story we love getting our teeth into it.

Jason VandeBoom‘s talk from BoS Spring was one such example where he spoke about his journey of “bootstrapping” to over a thousand people at Active Campaign. The focus there was primarily on finance, management, and the entrepreneur’s personal journey.

This time we’ve got something different for you.

Cazoo’s Growth Story

Have you heard of Cazoo? If you’re outside the UK you’ll be forgiven if you haven’t because they were only founded in 2018 and launched a used-car sales platform in December 2019. Since then, in just around two years, they’ve become a force to be reckoned with.

Sure they’ve raised £450M and they’re valued at the $2B mark. Yes they’ve become the main sponsors of Aston Villa, Everton, and the World Snooker Tour (again those outside the UK will be forgiven for not knowing exactly who those football team are).

The thing that really piqued our interest what that they managed to maintain a core and healthy company culture while hiring upwards of two thousand people into their organisation since 2018.

Why Rapid Hiring Can Mess Up Culture

If you’re reading this you probably have some experience of recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding new people into your organisation. New blood brings new energy, new ideas, and new skills.

Even in the best-case scenario hiring brings disruption. New people need to learn the ropes and so old hands need to teach them. Team productivity often dips while new people get the hang of things. In a worst-case scenario a bad new hire bring morale down.

At scale, these problems are not only exacerbated, you also get new ones:

  • What happens if the “old hands” showing new recruits the ropes are new people themselves?
  • How do you ensure consistent hiring when the recruiters are themselves fresh?
  • Does productivity scale when your teams are largely composed of new people?
  • How do you absorb the influx of “good” new ideas and attitudes while weeding out the ones that don’t fit your culture?

Cazoo claims to have cracked this:

We have a great team of over 2,000 people across the UK, Germany, France and Portugal who are passionate about delivering great customer experiences and whose mission is to ensure that you love both the Cazoo car buying experience and the car.

Act fast, provide help. These are the two driving forces that transform chaos into effective response. When your company is growing and scaling faster or bigger than you expected you need to think fast and act fast.

One Doc to Rule Them All

Saielle DaSilva is Cazoo’s Head of User Experience and at BoS Fall 2021 she will be explaining how you can build and scale a product culture with a single document.

She will talk us through how you can maintain your company culture as you hire at scale across teams, and how you can help your teams hire consistently and effectively as your company grows.

Sounds too good to be true? Got questions?

Well we have some too: How long is this document exactly? What goes in it? Who writes it and how does it get used (as opposed to gathering digital dust in a virtual filing cabinet)?

The answer, my friend, is at BoS Conf Online this Fall.

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