Caroline is Talent Partner at Atomico, based in London, where she helps portfolio companies hire, develop and retain the best talent in Europe – a key factor in the success of any fast-growing business.
I know how hard it is to scale a business - I did it at Twitter.
Before I joined Atomico, I led the EMEA People team at Twitter for nearly 5 years,supporting the leadership team in scaling the business from two to six markets, and growing the team from 80 based in London to 500 across the region in 18 months. I also worked with Twitter EMEA’s leaders on strategic people issues, covering expansion strategy, acquisitions and change management. It was A LOT, but very rewarding.
When you think about talent, you need to think about where you will be, not just where you are.
When most early stage founders think about hiring, they think about what their organisation needs now and the gaps that exist in their team at that moment. The most successful people strategies start from thinking about your long-term organisational needs and working back from there.
I’m here to challenge founders to think smarter about the people they need.
My job is to help founders think through the team sizes, new functions and operating models that will be needed to deliver success in 12-18 months’ time rather than next week. We then map the existing team onto the future org, identify the internal talent who can scale and the roles that will need to be filled externally. This helps scale the team with purpose, and helps retain the best talent who will see a path for progression in the organisation.
Culture is hard, but vital.
Spending time defining what your company culture actually is key - and not just a ‘fluffy’ term for HR marketing. Once you have these principles clear and in-place, use them for hiring and everything else people-related. If org design is the “what,” then culture is the “how” - it is about laying down values and principles that inform and underpin everything that your company does and the manner in which it does it. Capturing what it means to work at your company is key to hiring and retaining the best talent- and defining the culture early will also give you much higher chances to scale it beyond your main office/headquarters.
I spent over 9 years at Google, from 2005-14.
There, culture really was key - and it helped me to first hire teams across 26 countries as part of my role in recruitment, and then to develop the company’s HR offering as an HR business partner, working closely with the CMO.
Even the worst parts of my professional journey have been valuable lessons.
Although I was lucky enough to work at very successful (and giant) companies, I also saw some of the downturns and had to help direct and manage redundancies at scale. Even if they were obviously the least favourite parts of my experience, I learned a lot about what not to do and what could have been done better by the leadership to help prevent those steps being necessary.
Atomico is here for the long-haul.
When dealing with difficult times in previous roles, I learned the value of a great people partner. For this reason I can honestly say that we won’t just be present for the good (very good!) times, but we’ll be around to help and support with the tougher times too.
In another life I might have been an Olympian.
I practiced gymnastics to National level in France when I was younger (until I became too tall to compete!) - now I unwind by dedicating myself to hard core fitness classes.