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From Startup to Scale: What’s Next Following Our Series F

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Posted in:  Company, People

The story of Highspot is the story of scale: What started as an idea conceived by three leaders frustrated with the challenges of managing sales content has transformed into a global company with an award-winning culture, and a mission to transform the way millions of people work.

While there are many milestone moments behind us, there are still more yet to come. As we look towards what’s next, here’s how our execs are thinking about the future of work and more.

It’s no secret that the world of work is changing rapidly. Given this complexity, how is scaling a business today different than it was before the pandemic?

Robert Wahbe, CEO: What’s different, at least in my experience, is that the expectation of employees is quite different. Since the pandemic, it’s become very common that they want a lot of flexibility – where they work, how they work, how often they come into the office. That actually has a lot of downstream implications. It’s not just about where they work. Now, it’s about, how do you maintain that culture? How do you think about scale in that world? How do you collaborate?

I don’t think we, as a world, have figured that out yet. One of our philosophies is that we are in a “Learn It All” mode. We’re trying to have an ongoing conversation with everybody at Highspot to understand what’s the best way to navigate this and provide that flexibility.

Amy, as the leader of our People team, how do you think about navigating these changes as we scale?

Amy Johnson, Chief People Officer: There are three things that come to mind in terms of what we’re doing at Highspot. Part of what we need to do is ensure that we’ve got our eye on the ball relative to what’s right in front of us as we pivot quickly as well as what we’re doing longer-term.

We’ve got rhythms built in to help us as we’re acquiring talent at this rate, to make sure their experience is the best it can be.

The second thing I want to touch on is one of the things that we’re doing with people managers. We know that through the pandemic, our people managers are carrying a lot of water – in coaching, caring for, and supporting their teams. One of the things we decided to do was invest in them: if you’re a supervisor all the way through to a leader, you have access to a coach.

The third thing I want to talk about is wellness. Given what we’ve been through the last two years, we’re looking at people less as employees and more as humans. One of the things we’ve done is implement a Recharge Friday. This is something that we’re doing company-wide. We shut down one Friday a month and give everybody the day to go do whatever is going to be restorative for them, personally. Whatever fills their cup. Whatever recharges their batteries. These are just some of the highlights.

Jyl, how do you think about fostering that culture, mission, and vision as companies grow, especially through the pandemic?

Jyl Feliciano, Vice President of DEI&B: For a lot of leaders, myself included – we often worry about how to maintain aspects of our company’s founding culture – while evolving it at the same time. The reality is that rapid expansion can make us feel like the spirit and values of your company have been lost and there may even be some grieving of the “old days”. But the truth is – you can evolve your culture while still being anchored to the founding principles. For example, you can keep the same guiding principles, but evolve or revisit the definition of them as well as the new behaviors associated with them.

For all employees – we have to remember that scaling a business is a good thing. It means you’re growing and thriving. It means greater opportunities, not just for you, but for your expanding team. It means you’ll be able to do more for your customers and clients, and that’s really exciting, but it does require a mind shift for us all.

Robert, as a CEO and a founder, is there anything that you’d add in how we’ve kind of kept our “why” consistent?

Robert: I think about two guide rails. The first guide rail is our people. Inspiring them, empowering them, doing whatever it takes to take people on that journey is foundational. And that’s one of the key guide rails. And the other is the customer and making sure that you’re really understanding them, adding value, and breaking through the value ceiling.

If you do those two things – if you focus on your people and your customer – then everything in between should work out.

Amy, what is exciting you the most about the future of work?

Amy: What’s exciting for me is that we have this opportunity to think human-centric – we were sisters and uncles and brothers; we’re philanthropists, volunteers, and allies.

We have to keep that whole human at the front of what we’re trying to do as we think about the company and where we’re trying to take it. When we think about people, part of what we’re designing is how do we make sure that we’ve got the people, process, and practices in place that allow us to do that in a way that is equitable. I’m excited because we’ve got a lot of innovative thinkers that we’re bringing to the table to help us figure this out as we go forward.

Jyl, what about you?

Jyl: It’s limitless. We can push boundaries like never before. We can try new work models or even find new ways of building authentic relationships with one another.

But we can also reimagine wellness and benefits for both inside and outside of the workplace. We’re recognizing that employees’ needs are continuously evolving as the company is evolving. So we need to continue to invite employees in to help shape the workplace in order to ensure that their unique needs are being met.

If they can help create the spaces they need to belong, they will be connected and engaged like never before. The honest truth is, the workplace as we know it is gone. It’s scary, but I’m excited to see what we do over the next two to three years.

Finally, Robert, what would you say is the thing that makes Highspot the most special company to work for?

Robert: It’s going to sound a little bit trite, but it’s really our focus on the person. But it’s not just about our company.

Clearly, we’re very focused on our employees and taking them on the journey with us, and doing everything we can to inspire and empower them. But it turns out what we do for a living and the customer value we deliver is also aimed at the person: Can we support customer-facing teams? Can we support salespeople and services people and make them more effective at their jobs – helping their careers as they have conversations with customers.

So in some sense, what’s really kind of fun about Highspot is it’s all about the person – whether it’s each other as employees, or our customers and users. Ultimately, it’s all about empowering them to do their very best work. And that’s exciting. That’s a fun place to be.

What’s Next For Your Future?

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