3 Roles in 3 Years – How Coconut Supported My Career Growth
Coconut Software is about People, Passion, and Performance, so we’re always working to implement new ways to foster and engage our super passionate team. But fostering an engaged and passionate team is about so much more than traditional employee surveys and materialistic perks. By 2025, it’s estimated that 75% of the workforce will be Millenials, which means a significant shift in the mindset and values of the workforce. As a result, a parallel shift is needed within the organization and how it supports its team members. Millennials don’t just want a job, they want a career that they’re passionate about. They place a lot of value on qualities such as company culture and alignment with organizational values, ongoing learning and career planning, flexibility and work-life balance, frequent communication and meaningful recognition, and feeling a sense of purpose in their work.
It’s so important to provide opportunities for communication, planning, and ongoing learning on a company, department, and team level. Group learning opportunities allow for a greater breadth of perspective and ideas, and aligns a team on best practices and next steps. But just as important is understanding the individual drives behind each of your team members. What are they passionate about? What do they want to learn? Where are they now, where do they want to be, and how can you help them get there?
A unique experience for each employee
I started at Coconut Software in late 2017, and have been fortunate to grow into various positions throughout my time here thanks to Coconut’s dedication to its team and what we are passionate about. Some ways that they’ve helped support me throughout my Coco career are through opportunities for communication, learning and development, and movement and growth.
As they say, communication is key. While some companies are organized in a way that seeks to only understand how the group can contribute, rather than understand how the individual can contribute to the group, Coconut wants to recognize the motivation behind each of our individual team members. One way that Coconut ensures these conversations take place is through frequent recurring 1-on-1s between each team member and their manager. Yes, these conversations cover ongoing projects and goals, but they are also a specific forum for conversations surrounding what you want to learn in your job and where you see your career going. These conversations don’t just give me an opportunity to speak up, they give my manager an opportunity to hear me and help support me. It’s through these conversations that I was able to express my interest in and expand my knowledge of HR at a SaaS organization, and where I was able to receive meaningful feedback and next steps toward achieving that goal.
One trend that I’ve noticed among our team is that people actually want to receive feedback. Millennials often get a bad rap for being lazy, but as someone who works primarily with millennials I can tell you that is not the case. Statistically, 73% of Millennials put in more than 42 hours per week toward their jobs, indicating that they are extremely motivated and dedicated to their work. It stands to reason that people who care so much about their work will want frequent feedback on what’s going great, and what could be better. Coconut gives everyone on the team the opportunity to share and have those conversations.
Learning & Development
Something so key to my personal experience at Coconut has been my opportunities for learning and development. When it comes to L&D, it’s so important for a company to create an environment where team members and managers feel comfortable requesting resources for individuals and teams through meaningful communication. Even more important is understanding and listening to the motivation and passion of your employees and having systems in place that can help them achieve those goals.
When I expressed interest in formally pursuing a career in HR at Coconut, my manager and the entire executive team were wholeheartedly supportive. Not only did they help me come up with a plan, Coconut paid for the entirety of my first year HR Certificate course at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Having now completed the HR Diploma program, I feel more equipped and confident in my role because I’m armed with a strong framework of knowledge.
But we all know that learning and development is so much more than any classes we take or certificates we earn. If you really want your employees to succeed, you need to first believe that they can and will succeed: you need to trust them! Hands-on ownership of significant projects coupled with meaningful mentorship and guidance is the best way for anyone to learn. Something so significant and personally meaningful to me about my experience at Coconut is knowing that I’m trusted to do great work that will make a positive impact on our amazing team and our company as a whole. Without that trust, autonomy, or ownership I would never have even had the opportunity to show how passionate I am about my work or what my capabilities really are.
Movement & Growth
Let’s be honest: Start-up & Scale-up life is a bit of a whirlwind. When you’re starting out small, everyone seems to manage multiple roles and have a “pitch-in-wherever-I’m-needed” approach to their job. As you start to grow, roles and processes become more refined and the company finds itself in a place where people want to better understand their contributory value and progression path. Simply put, the company needs to proactively meet these needs and can’t rely on reactive constructs. People deserve to have a clear path for growth, and that’s something that we strive to improve on every day at Coconut.
Recognition is an important part of that, and recognition is varied. It can range from a private “great job”, to a public Slack shoutout, to a promotion and everything in between. Each of these forms of recognition is incredibly valuable and companies need to work with each individual to figure out their preferred method. When the effort and value that a team member contributes to the company outgrows their role, it deserves to be acknowledged, so that team members experience deserved movement within the company and know that their contributions are valued.
In my own experience at Coconut, having those milestone promotions was a big motivator for me and something that means a lot to me. I began my career at Coconut as the Office Administrator and Executive Assistant to our CEO. As I became comfortable in my role I began organically taking on additional responsibilities in HR, which led to me expressing my interest in that area of the organization. As part of the plan that I put together with my manager, I was able to move into an HR Administrator position as soon as I began studying for my HR Certificate. Following completion of my HR Diploma I was promoted to HR Manager, the position that I currently hold. I can’t stress enough how important these milestones were to me, and how equally important it was to have the support of my manager to make them happen.
As a bit of a learning nut (Coconut?) my goals for personal L&D and career growth never end, and I’m lucky to have a manager that embraces that mentality. I’m stoked to continue encouraging the team at Coconut to believe in themselves and their goals, and can’t wait to see where 2021 takes us!
Interested in joining the team? Visit coconutsoftware.com/careers to see current openings.