Tech talent transfusions

It’s likely the word “transfusion” immediately reminds you of blood: Getting somebody else’s blood pumped inside of your veins. Typically this happens during a state of stress or extreme emergency. Maybe you were in an accident. Maybe you’re getting surgery. Maybe you have an illness that requires immediate attention.

At yesterday’s HR Summit at USV, I heard this term used for the first time with regard to something completely different: The “changing of the guard” of people who work at tech companies.

If you’ve worked at a fast-growing company, you’ve probably experienced this first-hand. As a company grows from 30 people to 300 people, some of the earlier employees may start to leave. The company isn’t the same as it once was, they might say. Things feel too corporate now. The direction has shifted one too many times. Whatever the reason, there’s likely some truth to it. And so they leave, which may stir up feelings of loss and nostalgia within the organization…while also leaving you with holes to fill.

While this might feel like the end of an era, at our summit yesterday, attendees (fellow HR and People Ops leaders in the USV Network) urged each other to see it as an opportunity too.

This is where the transfusion comes in. Just like new blood entering a body, new employees bring freshness and vitality to an organization. The people you recruit at 300 employees enter an environment that they are knowingly excited about seeing through to a new stage. They want to be there for that precise moment now. And that energy and enthusiasm is contagious. If you seize on it, you can align organizationally in an even stronger way.

As people in the room reflected on current or past companies, they discussed time periods when 50%, 60%, maybe even 75% of the company had been employed for two years or less. Sometimes it happened naturally. Sometimes it was forced a bit more directly through a downsizing event. But they all agreed that the transfusion of talent in an organization can be a very good thing at the right time.


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