Because we like to do things a little differently
Original art by Guss Navarro
At Seven Seven Six, we’re committed to innovating everything from products to processes. We share our learnings—and what we’d do differently—in the hopes of pushing tech and VC forward as industries. So, with that in mind, here’s what we’re doing with our Talent function.
To start, you may have noticed we’re calling this function Talent Outcomes. We’ve chosen the word “outcomes” to reflect the impact of our work and the accountability we’ll share in the results of these efforts. This function will sit directly next to – and work in tandem with – the Founder Outcomes Team, led by my colleague Cristina Georgoulakis. Together, these two areas of focus will ensure our portfolio companies are values and goal aligned, producing the greatest possible returns and building the future of tech.
In a traditional venture firm, the Talent team is responsible for making introductions to (or even placing candidates at) their portfolio companies. It is hyper-focused on talent attraction and helping their portfolio companies recruit. While this may feel like it solves an immediate pain point, this only represents one very small part of a founder’s real challenge. Getting them in the door is one thing. Creating an environment where they want to stay and a company they want to grow with is another.
Whether the candidate happens to work out or not—it can go either way—filling that role is just one part of cultivating talent. Issues such as building compensation strategy, a performance management program grounded in clear expectations and consistent feedback, building a diversity and inclusion roadmap to drive employee engagement, or working through organizational design and culture challenges are far more impactful in making sure an employee stays. One qualified lead for a key role, enticing as that may seem in the moment, will not enable a company to effectively recruit or retain talent into the future.
We believe that teaching our founders and their leaders how to recruit top talent is far more valuable than helping to fill a handful of open roles. Directly staffing roles for our portfolio companies can’t and won’t scale. Access to our network of over tens of thousands of people through Cerebro (our firm’s proprietary software) will. A direct introduction tool eases top of funnel candidate congestion. The depth of experience in our Talent Outcomes function will give the founders the tools and strategies they need to build a recruiting and retention strategy that scales. This combination of software, coaching, training, and closing will ensure our founders get their key roles filled quickly and effectively.
In addition to coaching and network access, we feel strongly that a company’s biggest competitive advantage is culture. Developing, retaining, and rewarding talent is all a part of our Talent Outcomes strategy and programming. We have no business (or interest) in trying to be executive recruiters to hundreds of portfolio companies. Instead, we’re placing our resources into learning, development, and software to help our founders build sustainable, scalable, and holistic people & culture practices.
The Talent Outcomes Playbook
Our founders will engage with the Talent Outcomes team in a variety of ways:
1:1 Coaching: This is for those “oh s*#!, red alert” moments where our founders need immediate support, guidance and coaching. It might not always be that urgent, but when the founder needs strategic advice from a people & culture perspective, we will be there to guide them.
1:1 Workshops: This is for when our founders need to solve a more complicated problem that will take us a lot of time, headspace, and energy. From building a competitive compensation & job architecture strategy, to revamping recruiting and interview processes, to building a diversity and inclusion roadmap, our Talent Outcomes team is equipped with the tools and experience to go deep with our founders and early teams to help solve their most pressing people & culture problems with precision.
1 to Many: To help us scale our impact, we will build and share resources and best practices to give our founders the on-demand support they need to build talent-dense teams and world class cultures. We will partner with industry experts to bring to live trainings, workshops and the like to help upskill our founders.
Technology: Everything above requires a human with EQ and lived experience. But sometimes, technology can be even more efficient and effective than humans. As we continue to build Cerebro, our firm’s internal operating system, we will develop a world class talent network that will help our founders make connections with other founders, investors, and the best talent on the market for their teams.
The reality is, we’re still a very small team and there is no way that I can do this by myself. We already have well over 50 portfolio companies, 100+ founders, and just one me. The Talent Outcomes team will need to grow as we continue to raise more capital, onboard new portfolio companies and founders, and continue to iterate on how we can scale our support with technology.
As we look into the future, the most critical need we will hire for is someone with deep Talent Acquisition experience. A leader in this space who has done the heavy lifting, helping organizations scale from 0 → 1 → many, that has built and scaled recruiting operations, and has an innate ability to coach senior leaders on how to build diverse, talent dense teams. If that sounds like you, keep your ears and eyes peeled for an open job application soon!
As we like to say here at the firm: we’re just at the starting line. I am grateful to be on this team, doing the work I know and love so very much. I can’t wait to share our progress and learnings with you all as we continue to build this function!