Startup founders face a variety of challenges building their companies, from product development and fundraising to customer acquisition and finance. However, few things can have the level of impact of getting the talent equation and company culture correct. Creating an environment at the earliest stages of growth, where people can do their best work, often makes the difference between success and failure.

Human resources is a set of strategic tools among many others that founders need to adopt early in the company’s formation for ongoing growth and success. Like fundraising or a product roadmap, human resources strategies take time to develop and implement. If done well, talent attraction, hiring practices, compensation structures, performance management, and other processes lead to forming a high performance culture. Inclusion is another critical component in building teams, products and marketing plans that go the distance. So much data exists showing that diverse leadership teams and boards lead to better outcomes. Just a case in point, a recent study by Deloitte correlated the talent practices of more than 450 companies against performance and concluded that companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers. Over the time period of the study, these companies have:

  • 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period
  • 13 times higher mean cash flow from operations
  • 1.8 times more likely to be change-ready and 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market
  • 3.8 times more likely to be able to coach people for improved performance, 3.6 times more able to deal with personnel performance problems, and 2.9 times more likely to identify and build leaders.

To help IW’s companies succeed with issues around talent and human resources, I’m excited to introduce you to Kelley Benson, our new Director of Human Resources & Inclusion.

With more than 10 years of human resources experience in both the private and non-profit sector, Kelley will share her experience with technology start-ups and develop their knowledge related to human resources strategies while also mitigating risks. Kelley is committed to educating all on a diverse and inclusive environment. She believes it begins with the senior leaders where the tone for the culture of the organization is set.

Kelley joins the IW Team from a diverse background. Her history working in various industries include financial services, global legal, insurance, technical environments, and a public utility. She has been responsible for coaching C-Suite employees, recruitment, retention, leadership training and development, conflict resolution, organizational development, benefit administration, and Human Resource policy interpretations.

Please join me in welcoming Kelley to the IW team and to the Pittsburgh startup community.

Rich Lunak
Innovation Works, CEO

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