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  • Writer's pictureMark Harbottle

It's been a year...

I can remember sitting at this exact desk 12 months ago and writing a blog post about all the things I achieved in 2021. I also remember reading it back and thinking 'wow I've done loads, how good am I?'


Looking back, that was the tip of the iceberg. What I didn't know once I launched that blog post was that I was putting the foundations in place for the forthcoming year. It's now time to reflect again on what I've achieved and what perhaps could've gone better...


Recruitment and growth


At our company All Hands in November I gave a presentation on recruitment statistics for the year. I won't go all war and peace, but in 2022 Cronofy received over 1600 applicants and offered 18 people roles. We hired 13 in total, which is about one person per month. The funny thing is I have no idea if those numbers are any good. Our Hiring Managers are pretty happy (I think they could've been happier, but definitely could've been less happy!). On reflection I'm super pleased with how we've performed in recruitment - we've hired some wonderful people, and we've been able to hire for some really tough positions.


Our headcount now is around 30, from 12 when I joined. We're a very, very different company now and it's been a pleasure to see that growth. Sure there have been some growing pains and I'm sure there are more to come.


We've started our ED&I initiatives


Last year I spoke (and wrote) about my hopes for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; encouraging more diversity in our application pool leading to more diversity in our teams. While we've started that journey I definitely haven't been as proactive on this as I'd like to have been. I was worried that we'd be seen as paying lip service to it.


In 2022 we launched our ED&I statement which was a long process and required us to really agree on what was important to us.


Our mission is to Schedule Everything for Everyone, and we cannot achieve that without everyone being involved...

There have been other ways we progressed with our ED&I initiatives: in Q1 we rolled out our new benefits package, both to remain competitive in the market for new hires, support our retention and look after our existing team members, but also to encourage diversity such as more females applying for senior positions.


To further complement this, I wanted to provide more transparency on our interview process to create more equality (and quality) during interviews. At the beginning of Q4 I launched our Interviewing at Cronofy docs page which details our entire process right down to the questions we ask and our assessment criteria. Hardly anyone is as transparent as we are, and it's been a real success, with many candidates commenting on how helpful it is. The plan is to monitor the traffic on this page and in the New Year roll out an all singing all dancing page for our careers site.


Competency frameworks


Creating, and rolling out, our competency framework was a huge project that has taken the entire year. It's the process by which success and compensation is measured, and also how we create our learning and development paths. A small paragraph doesn't do it justice, so if it's something you're interested in learning more about I'd encourage you to check out my 3-series Competency Framework Journey blog posts.


As a small reflection on this task, the thing I'm most proud of is the full circle from performance, progression and equal compensation. This transparency is something that defines our business.


Amsterdam? Check


In January we started the journey of launching our Amsterdam office, and in November we finally provided employment contracts to our three Netherlands-based employees (who were working via an EOR, Employer of Record). I have to admit I was dragged kicking and screaming through the process of employment law in the Netherlands, benefits, onboarding processes, GDPR. At one point I didn't think I'd get there, but I was delighted to provide the security of long term permanent employment to our team members. A huge thank you to Lieveke my Amsterdam HR guardian angel for her support. We're now hiring for a range of roles in Amsterdam and I can't wait to get over there in the New Year and check out Cronofy BV HQ!


Big socials!


You can't talk about a year at Cronofy without talking about our All Hands in Person (A-HiP) events. Twice a year we all meet up; in May (May-HiP) we went to Nantes, and in November (No-HiP) we went to Valencia. Nearly 30 of us piling into a 5* hotel in Valencia, eating buckets of Paella, exploring underground caves, racing around the city on a GPS treasure hunt, and all collaborating to create customer-specific documentation was an absolute delight. Plus the chance to see each other face to face, friends from overseas and build those relationships but also focus on the coming year. An adventure never to be forgotten.


What's coming up?


I've definitely missed out a few things, there is just too much to list in terms of achievements this year. Looking forward I have a number of aims including:


  • Develop our L&D efforts - be more accountable for the career tracks for everyone in the business, and ensure we're nailing our review cycles to support people better

  • Start coaching! I'm going to be running some 360 feedback coaches courses and recruitment training sessions

  • Build on our ED&I initiatives - I'm working on tracking our applicant data better in order to set some realistic but lofty goals for 2023 in terms of hiring

  • Recruitment - there's every possibility we could double in headcount next year which would be extraordinary. I can't do that alone, so there's a chance I might need to brush up on my management skills even more


Final reflections


Another year that seems to have gone so quick. Alongside all the work, I've navigated a rapidly growing 2-year-old through his own challenges. My wife and I are so proud of him and he's absolutely the reason I go to work every day.


I've truly enjoyed 2022, and I can thank last year's Mark for the efforts that have contributed to the success of the last 12 months. I feel I've still got strong foundations in place to be even more successful, but I know I'm going to be tackling new territory in all areas of work. Bring it on.

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