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How The Lab17 enabled Shippit to scale

successfully during an unprecedented and aggressive stage of growth.

"With this change in pace of growth you need to quickly establish appropriate processes for the shift in tempo."

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Mat Lawrence

Chief Operating Officer

Shippit

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service

Cloud-based Shipping Software Platform For Ecommerce

INCEPTION

2014, Sydney, NSW, Australia

PRODUCT

Full Service Cloud Based Shipping Platform

HEAD QUARTERS

Sydney, NSW, Australia

OFFICE LOCATIONS

Sydney, Singapore, Manila

CURRENT EMPLOYEES

100+ employees

the problem

As for many, 2020 started off in an unusual manner for Shippit. As COVID reared its ugly head, Shippit actioned its fiscal responsibility and implemented a recruitment freeze. Redundancies had to be made (fortunately most employees were later re-hired), and they focused their one person TA team on looking after existing employees.

Working from Home

THE opportunity

Shippit’s COO, Mat Lawrence, looked back at that period which held a mix of uncertainty alongside opportunity, “We were having a huge downturn in the economy that would seriously impact our customers,” he said, “and at the time there was a prediction of a short-lived rise in online shopping, but what actually occurred was a new baseline for the industry - people began shopping online that had never done so before, Mat exclaimed. “We grew by approximately three times our normal volume, running with a much smaller team.” 

During this short period of time, the eCommerce industry experienced an acceleration rate of +5 years

Online Shopping

the solution

Shippit had a lot of evaluation to do. “We held off on hiring until we had a better understanding of the situation,” said Mat. “Our main fundamental was: let’s not bring anyone into the business that we can’t sustain - we don’t want to hire anyone that we can’t keep employed.” 

 

“Upon making the decision to start hiring again, we considered collaborating with The Lab17 because we were looking at an aggressive growth phase,” he said, “and our key driver to partner with them was a big one: whether we could commit to growing the business at a rate faster than we could handle internally,” Mat stated. “During this time we also determined that we would launch our series B capital raise, being confident that we could achieve this due to the interest in the market.”


These factors cemented Shippit’s decision to engage with The Lab17. Mat confirmed that, “Yes, we believed we would be growing quicker than what we could handle internally - even though at that point in time we were growing at a healthy rate, we wanted to grow beyond those capabilities.”


 

'We believed we would be growing quicker than what we could handle internally.'

'We believed we would be growing quicker than what we could handle internally.'

*

The Lab17 joined Shippit at the start of August 2020 and set out some clear goals for an initial two month partnership:

5)

Establish and build employer brand initiatives and collateral.

1)

Make the key hires to ensure the company could effectively scale - requiring those that understand the Shippit mission, meet the functional and cultural standard and will enable the company to scale. Number one priority was a Head of People and Culture.

6)

Build a Talent Acquisition reporting system with supporting documentation for all activities and processes.

2)

Build an interview process which is refined and optimised for scale, including all documentation and training.

7)

Document decision making on the recommendation of a new ATS.

3)

Train the organisation on effective interviewing techniques.

8)

Establish scalable processes for onboarding.

4)

Partner with hiring managers and key stakeholders to: 
 

 - Define best-practice job descriptions

 - Upskill interview  - capabilities

 - Make unbiased, well-documented decisions

 - Evaluate talent and problem solve candidate scenarios

9)

Build scalable job descriptions that map to quarterly goals or onboarding period goals.

Having previous knowledge and experience of this kind of scale, Mat understood that sustaining this kind of growth comes with its challenges:

"If you’re growing faster than your internal capabilities, you’ll start experiencing things such as poor candidate experience, you’ll hire the wrong fit, there’ll be bad onboarding, and it will choke the existing team with the number of interviews and processes - we wanted to avoid all of these pain points."

the impact

The Shippit team witnessed the immediate impact, progress made, and the quality of the hires - the partnership was extended for a further two months.

Hiring Achievements:

13 hires including:

 

  • Head of UX

  • Head of Customer Experience

  • Head of People & Culture

  • People Operations Manager

  • People & Workplace Specialist

  • Talent Acquisition Lead

  • Talent Acquisition Manager

  • Head of UX

  • Head of Customer Experience

  • Commercial Analyst

  • Business Analyst

  • Logistics Controller

  • Logistics Coordinator

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the alignment

 "Most importantly we were able to work with Lab17 on designing an approach that was specific for Shippit’s needs. This wasn’t a one size fits all line of action - instead we made changes tailored to our values, culture designed to extend our existing capabilities.”

Mat comments on how the partnership with Lab17 was a good fit for this aggressive growth phase, “With this change in pace of growth you need to quickly establish appropriate processes for the shift in tempo: how you go about designing roles, forming definitions of roles, ensuring the people interviewing are set up for success - asking the right questions, assessing the right things. They need to know what's going on,” he confirmed. “Candidly speaking, we would have been capable of doing this ourselves, but at a much slower pace and with significant opportunity cost for our existing team. Our internal recruiter was ready and able but we knew we needed more capacity. Beyond this, when we increased the pace, we wanted to make sure we were set up for long term success.”

 

Mat identified early that the traditional method of talent outsourcing or agency engagement would not have suited Shippit for this phase, “I wanted and needed to instil the capabilities into our own team to sustain this hiring pace. We wanted to train the team on how to do well, and set up the processes, practises, and disciplines,” he said. “We needed to make the key hires and build the team to achieve these goals, bringing in a Head of People and Culture and the right TA’s internally to collaborate with The Lab17. We had to upskill our team to eventually be able to do this without The Lab17, and this type of partnership that we struck up worked incredibly well,” Mat said.

set up for success

The Lab17’s Lead Talent Acquisition Manager, Cloë Stanbridge, elaborates on how Shippit have been set up for future success in their TA space, “In partnership with the internal recruiter and Mat, we built out a solid foundation better suited for the higher volumes of hiring in terms of processes, systems, people and standards. Shippit now has comprehensive interview processes documented in both their ATS and Confluence which is easily scalable. We ran detailed interview training with the team, and closely coached a Shippit team member to run this training in the future - ensuring everyone continues to be upskilled,” she said, “and we hired key players and strong leaders who had in depth experience, raising the bar and setting high expectations.”

 

Shippit obviously wanted to embed their values and culture into every single hire, ensuring it wasn’t diluted during this aggressive growth stage. In place there was a final interview for every candidate that was completed by one of the two founders. “Given the speed and scale they were experiencing at the time, this didn’t make sense commercially,” said Cloë, “so we created an interview called the ‘Values Interview’ which replaced the final round for candidates. We curated questions and outcomes based on the founder’s values and company culture, ensuring candidates were aligned with Shippit’s values, and would thrive in their environment. We then went on to create and train the ‘Values Interview team’, who lived and breathed the company values and were able to deliver these interviews - this provided a great growth opportunity for the team,” she concluded. 

Lead Talent Acquisition Manager
Cloë Stanbridge

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Mat identified some key points that made the Shippit collaboration a success, and some advice for businesses looking to work with The Lab17, “We established very clear goals early on. It's important to be clear about your business goals as The Lab 17 will enable you to hit these. They have a tailored offering to suit the needs of your business, and with us, we had a very short period of time to press go - so the initial goal setting was essential.”

 

Mat added that trust was a major factor in the partnership, “For anybody that partners with The Lab17 there needs to be that trust that they’ll be keeping everything confidential. You’ll need to open up and be transparent, he said, “and they needed this to help us solve our problems, advise and guide us. We treated them like internal employees - they got the warts and all experience!”

 

“We hope to work with The Lab17 again in the future,” Mat concludes. “The collaboration has been successful in growing out our own team for when we hit rapid growth points - the systems and processes that we now have in place enable us to hire and onboard efficiently and effectively ourselves,” he said, “but they’ll definitely be times when we need to hire strategic roles and I can see us working closely with them again around these strategic hires.”