Ben Horowitz and Shannon Schiltz on why growth stage companies need HR


Human Resource is a topic of importance for any company, across any scale. And it is especially important for growth stage companies. Many startup founders tend to ignore this aspect but the subject eventually bubbles up. In this podcast from the Andreessen Horowitz resource pool, Ben Horowitz and Shannon Schiltz (head of technical talent at a16z) talk about the importance of HR- How to protect your company from itself.

Here is the podcast followed by the key highlights:


What are the biggest mistakes companies make with respect to HR?

  • Leaving the question unanswered for a long time (bringing in HR too late)
  • Not understanding the difference between HR and recruiters- these are two very different functions

What is HR?

  • The worth of HR is that they're in a way an extension of the founders- in their vision and how they want to build the company.
  • HR is also the voice of the people as the CEO cannot be connected to each and every person.

Why are founder's reluctant to bring on HR?

  • One of the biggest reasons is because bringing in HR in a way signals the rise of the word- 'Compliance'. There are more processes and the feeling that the company now needs to be policed.

But once the company grows over a certain number, HR becomes necessary. And now, how does a company maintain its hip culture (what it stood for)? Especially around things like dress code.

  • This is the most important role of a good HR person. How to transform a cohesive but homogeneous house like team to a more diverse and inclusive organization. The HR person should be able to figure out the key nuggets of the company culture and make this growing process easier.

How does the CEO or the founding team sit with HR and decide on the metrics to measure performance?

  • A lot depends on company to company but essentially it comes down to deciding on what does a successful employee look like and how does the company want to measure them.

These are some of the key highlights from the post, go through the podcast for a lot more and drop in a comment with your views. Share your experiences with HR and managing teams. We're are also willing to guest columns to put forth to experiences in the Indian context, so write in to




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