Building a Compelling Culture

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Innovative HR Leader Series:  Paula Escobar, People Operations at Transfix

Creating a culture and hiring incredibly talented individuals for a growing company is no easy feat. If you’re new to the company and one of the only members of the people team, how do you develop a culture where employees thrive when you’re limited in resources?

Meet Paula Escobar, the Senior Manager, People Operations at Transfix, a platform that allows for shipment tracking for freights. To create a great culture, she’s leveraging her resources and “hacking” her systems to work harder for her.

As an antiquated industry, Transfix.io is spearheading the future with the digitalization of freight shipments with a team of talented individuals. Currently at 155 employees (and growing!), Transfix has been backed from VC funds such as Founder Collective, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Bowery Capital, and New Enterprise Associates, with capital totaling around $80 million after their series C round.

Paula has 10 years of experience in the industry- she started working in HR right out of high school at a financial brokerage firm. From there she was exposed to the various aspects of HR and fell in love. She went on to hold various roles at start-ups loving how she could help create a sustainable company culture, great employee experiences, and implement strategic planning for fast-growing companies.

At Transfix.io, the company culture can be described as hardworking, resourceful, resilient, engaging, and collaborative, which is something Paula is incredibly proud of for having a hand in building.

Creating a culture and hiring incredibly talented individuals for a growing company can seem like an insurmountable task, especially with the constraints of finite resources. So how does one (on a team of one) build a culture where employees succeed?

In the first month I make sure to meet with all the stakeholders and individuals in the industry to learn each aspect of the company. I also interview key employees to understand what areas need improvements. From there I look for themes and trends, whether positive or constructive.”

Before implementing initiatives to help shape a culture, learn how the company operates and what employees feel they need to be successful. Challenges can also arise when workingwithin a tight budget. Many start-ups work “lean” and have to utilize what resources they currently have.

“Being innovative and creative in leveraging existing resources is key when working with minimal resources.” By meeting with key stakeholders and important employees at the company, you can determine who can assist you in creating a great culture.

The number one thing I learned from HR peers about a best-in-class recruiting process is that a recruiting kick-off meeting [with the hiring manager, interview team, and recruiting lead in attendance] is 100% necessary and non-negotiable.”

  •  Data Integrity– make sure the goals you have are aligned with the company
  •  Automation– whether at a startup or working with a tight budget, try to automate as many day-to-day functions by optimizing your resources. With less administrative work on your plate, you can focus on the big picture.
  •  Leverage relationships– those first few weeks of meeting stakeholders can help you in the long run. Use external and internal relationships within your network to help to accomplish your goals.
  •  Be Personable and Approachable- so many times employees see the HR team as the one who cleans up the messes rather than being a resource for when they need something. By building trust, you can learn more about the pain points employees experience on a day-to-day basis and use this information to plan out long-term solutions.

Lastly, building a strong culture at a company is what can attract top talent. Paula recommendsfocusing on transparency, innovations, and collaboration.

Building a great culture doesn’t happen overnight. Take your time to build the proper relationships you need in order to determine what your best game plan is moving forward. As Paula says, “make a list, audit as you go, and determine what areas you can make the biggest impact. By breaking tasks into 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and so on, you can show that you are listening to feedback and working to implement those initiatives in due time.”

Hard work will pay off, and your employees will be sure to see that.

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