ATT spoke to Vikram Labhe and Monalisa Naik from Fivetran, a SaaS product startup in the data space, who share insights on its global expansion, and how they instil a strong sense of ownership in their employees, investing in HR technology, and more.
Could you give an overview of the company’s market presence, workforce division in different geographies, the evolution of HR processes over the years, and scale up in terms of employees?
Vikram Labhe: Fivetran is a global company operating in several countries including the USA, India, Australia, Singapore, Ireland, the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands with various divisions like sales, marketing, development, finance, HR, IT, etc. We have grown to 1000+ headcount globally and continue to scale rapidly across multiple dimensions. In terms of HR processes, we have invested in building up performance management systems, onboarding processes and experience, and a technical academy. Our talent acquisition processes have also been completely overhauled.
Fivetran recently announced a $565 million investment, a portion of which was used for senior-level hirings. Could you throw some light on a few roles that you have filled here?
Labhe: Over the last year, we have built a sales organisation in India with a strong GTM strategy. We also invested in hiring senior developers and filled several key leadership gaps in Software Development, Customer Support, Quality Engineering, etc.
Fivetran is a pre IPO unicorn with aspirations to go public in the coming years. In the run-up to the same, how will you ensure the culture in the organisation is preserved? In our March edition, many HR leaders from listed companies have revealed that culture does get impacted due to the same.
Monalisa Naik: One of our top company values is “One Team, One Dream” (1T1D). Everyone across the company – from executive leaders to individual contributors – embodies this on a daily basis. All employees at all levels are shareholders in Fivetran, and when coupled with our 1T1D value and culture, everyone has a very strong sense of ownership. We see all employees as brand ambassadors and stewards of our culture, which allows us to maintain an award-winning culture – even while experiencing hypergrowth around the world.
In the company’s decade-long journey, how would you describe the role of HR evolved from a startup to a pre IPO unicorn?
Naik: Fivetran is a people-oriented company, and it has remained so from its early days. We recognise that people are our greatest asset. Therefore, HR has always been a key stakeholder and continues to play a critical role in our success as we march towards IPO.
What kind of tech investments in your own company on HR processes are done over the years and their business impact?
Naik: We have invested in various HR tools and software for our HRIS system, talent acquisition, performance management system, employee survey, learning and development, and total reward programs, among others.
Fivetran offered a stipend of Rs 7500 per month to its employees during the pandemic. Is there an eligibility parameter for the same?
Naik: WFH allowance of Rs 7500 applied to all the employees in India. We started this in March 2020. We re-opened our Bangalore office in April 2022, and as a result, this WFH allowance ceases to exist now. All Fivetran India employees benefited from this program, and there were no changes made to it during the period.
You mentioned in our interaction earlier that the attrition is almost zero at Fivetran. How have you achieved that?
Naik: At Fivetran, we believe the next technology giant is in the making and people want to be part of this journey and contribute to it. This also means greater career opportunities for all employees. The work culture at Fivetran embodies respect, transparency, and integrity which leads to high retention, which is among the best in the technology industry. Lastly, our compensation and benefits program is competitive with respect to the industry and we also have a generous stock options program for all employees.
You also mentioned that out of the many candidates you engage with for several roles, only 2% convert into actual joinees. Is it because of talent shortage or the steep competition in the market for good talent? Many companies complain of declining offer-to-joining ratio.
Labhe: We have a stringent recruitment process and we want to make sure we get the right talent for the right role. As mentioned, the India team is responsible for the development of a part of the Fivetran product features. This requires us to hire only top-notch talent. The overall pool for such talent is not that big, which puts strain on our recruitment process. I am happy to note that our offer-to-joining ratios are within our target ranges. We are able to hire for all levels. Not easy, but possible. We are growing rapidly and India is projected to double our headcount this year. Each new hire gets an ESOP and it has a 4-year vesting period.
Founders: George Fraser & Taylor Brown
Number of Employees: 1000+ Globally, 120+ in India
Key Executives: George Fraser, Taylor Brown, Mike Boyarski, Jim Smittkamp, Kalor Lewis, Megan Niedermeyer, Helge Scheil, Fraser Harris, Abdul Zedan
Business Line: As the industry leader in modern data integration, Fivetran delivers pre-built connectors to replicate applications, databases, events and files into high-performance cloud warehouses.
Hiring Pipeline: Double the headcount in India over the next 12 months; grow by 50% globally.
Workforce Growth: We have been doubling the headcount YoY over the last 5 years in India
Workforce Pie in India (in %): Software Development (76%), Customer Support (12.4%), People Ops (5.4%), Sales (2.4%) and others (3.9%).
Key HR Factors:
Best health insurance policy
Generous leave programs
Focus on diversity
Best work culture