Human Not Resources is proud to announce our first speaker series event! Colleen McCreary, Chief People Officer at Vevo, will be speaking about how to scale your company culture as you grow.


The format of this post is straight out note taking style. Its a mixture of what I heard from Colleen and my own interpretation and rendition of her thoughts.


Set Good Expectations

Setting the right expectations versus “you will be the happiest in this company” “this will be the greatest step in your career”. Help potential persons understand what they are getting into by joining your company: compensation, career development, etc. Instead of giving empty, generic fluff phrases

Management Isn’t About Being Liked

Your goal as a manager is to help your employee get to the next job or role in their career

More Isn’t Better

Fallacy: If I had more resources, more people, then I will be successful. More make things complex, harder to navigate, and can potentially become out of control. 

Customization & Hygienes

Starbucks is a good example of this. Customization: Recruiting has to good at customizing a role for a specific person versus being generic. Hygiene: Adding good people value, caring for people versus viewing people as merely resources or assets.

Keep It Simple

Hiring great talent, keep compensation plan simple for the talent to understand, let them know what success looks like in terms of promotions and benefits, etc. Best to be able to explain compensation plans 140 character or less. Compensation is unfair based on market price, it’s inherently unfair.


What is the HR function progress like?

      1. HR process starts with the recruiter in most companies
      2. HR complexity occurs when it hits 50 people
      3. At 100 people, CEOs should bring out HR people who can handle the culture and people relationships
      4. Train someone to replace themselves before moving on the next role or job, this is a good process for promotions and that they are able to do the next role
      5. Have an idea of internal hires versus fresh college hires, she is a believe in hiring young, fresh talent

How do you scale culture? Where does the responsibility lie to scale culture?

      1. Head of People/HR is in charge of scaling
      2. CEOs actually owns the culture and sets the tone for it, the leadership team sustains it
      3. Labor is your #1 expense, why don’t you find a professional to manage it for you?
      4. Be deliberate about what you want, the systems, and processes you put in place to accomplish those
      5. Leadership team to take responsibility for layoffs, Colleen cried when she had to do the 1st layoff at Zynga on stage.

The Annual Review is not dead, what are you doing about that?

    1. Annual review process is a joke and demotivating for employees
    2. At Zynga, no one did them, no managers liked them
    3. 15Five gives an outlet for managers and employees to discuss uncomfortable, tough conversations via their 1st digital meeting to prevent bad emotional burdens and build-ups. The proceeding face-to-face conversation was a lot easier as a result
    4. Better to have the employer have employees talk about what they want in terms of promotion, jobs, role versus having them accepted job offers from a recruiter


How to recruit people in SF with the recent high cost of living and rent?

      1. Compensations only comes into play, if people are motivated about the job, challenged, and they don’t feel stupid. Compensation only comes to play if they feel stupid at their role and they can do better
      2. The issue is the cost of living, it’s the issue of leaving their friends and family

Diet pill metaphor, is there an alternative to the layout?

      1. Its about constant exercise and diet before having to take the diet pill.
      2. In a company setting, focus on maintaining company culture and values on a frequent basis prior to the need to take short cuts to put out fires

What do you think about company wellness programs?

    1. Its great. You should use the benefits the companies offer
    2. Don’t like the term work/life balance, she likes to frame it to the question: “do you have control of your time?”
    3. Her advice to new hires is: find a hobby and have a group of friends to hangout with. The reason is to get people out of the office and not stay in the office late nights
Skip to toolbar