Technological innovation is at the crux of contemporary society, helping to develop more advanced systems and economies. However, it’s also been linked to income disparities and increasing inequalities.
Rachel Coldicutt, Director of Careful Industries and Promising Trouble, saw an opportunity to disrupt the technology space and create real-world impact that centres equity and social justice.
Careful Industries is a research studio that collaborates with clients to better understand the social impacts of technology, envision new futures, and create technology policies for a more equitable world. Promising Trouble is a social enterprise that creates and implements policies, governance, training, and projects to make technology work better for more people.
Both organizations bring a combination of multi-disciplinary research, practical technology experience, and lots of hands-on work.
But an organization is only as good as its people. Together, Rachel and The Small HR Company (TSHRC) have managed to build and maintain a strong team that champions innovation and inclusive, equitable growth
When it came time to expand the team, Rachel knew that she needed a robust HR function and this is how she started working with TSHRC.
One of the things she had learnt through her purpose-led work was that it was “really easy to focus on practitioners and subject matter experts in the beginning and try to sort out the HR afterwards.” She realized that this wasn’t the best way to go about it.
Rachel explains, “I realized we needed to grow and start bringing in more staff and I was looking for a partner who could help me grow in a responsible way.”
TSHRC helped her do two things:
Rachel also realized that HR is not something you set up and forget until you have problems. For the last year and a half, she has partnered with TSHRC for ongoing maintenance. This is useful to Rachel and her team for two reasons:
Choosing TSHRC was very easy for Rachel. During her search for a partner, she had spoken to a large number of companies and professionals who didn’t match her values—they were just too corporate.
For example, Careful Industries is very creative and informal, doing a lot of work that challenges the status quo. TSHRC was the perfect partner for that mission.
In addition, TSHRC totally respects that although Rachel is committed to getting HR right and doing it well, she isn’t an expert. “I don’t feel talked down to, instead, it’s a consultative, fun, and engaging way of working together,” says Rachel.
Hiring the first three staff members was one of the most important things TSHRC assisted Rachel with. The huge shift from working alone to scaling up was critical, and TSHRC was instrumental in ensuring a smooth, efficient, and equitable hiring process.
TSHRC has also been a partner in “the journey of coming out of creator mode into business mode,” helping the company with everything from creating a defined theme to setting down a process to laying a lot of the groundwork for who they are today.
“One of the most difficult things about being a founder is knowing if you’re getting it right, and it can be very easy to overthink some things and not pay enough attention to others,” explains Rachel.
One of the things she has found very valuable are the semi-regular strategic meetings she has with TSHRC on what’s working and what she needs to be thinking about.
Another thing is that when Rachel has questions about her own work, she feels supported and understood. TSHRC addresses all her concerns, including what may be at the bottom of her priority list as a founder.
Knowing that TSHRC is there to be honest, in both supporting and guiding the company is very helpful.
As Rachel puts it, “Being a founder can be lonely. That honest sense of companionship is key.”
Moreover, TSHRC has really helped in the development of proper HR practices and policies. They also have a fantastic way of thinking about team development that has aided in ensuring that everyone is well taken care of.
Simply knowing that TSHRC is a reliable partner that will take care of all the HR work and offer robust guidance has given Rachel so much relief.
Absolutely! Rachel has already recommended TSHRC to lots of friends and peers.
“They really take the mystery out of HR…. It feels like now we have everything we need to look after our people,” says Rachel. “To know that there are people who understand your business and values, and can come in to support you immediately, is great.”
Rachel never thought she’d say this, but “TSHRC has made HR fun!”