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  • How Workplaces Can Enable Hypergrowth

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  • Workplace design and product design have a lot more in common than is often first thought. This short article identifies these overlaps and demonstrates how the workplace is more than just bricks and mortar; it’s a tool that connects and augments your strategy during turbulent periods of hypergrowth. Whether you’ve reached the hypergrowth curve now or you can see it just around the corner, this guidance should help you overcome some of the common challenges associated with hypergrowth.

  • What is hypergrowth?

    Hypergrowth companies, unicorns that have found the sweet spot of product and market and need to expand on an unprecedented scale, are demanding environments for people.

    Hypergrowth occurs when an organisation’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) surpasses 40%. Typical growing businesses have less than 20% CAGR, so this rate is a rapid ascent.

    The term was first coined in 2008 by the Harvard Business Review. Hypergrowth occurs at the steep part of the growth curve, after the initial product or service launch (usually, but not always tech industries) and before the business matures.

    Currently, there are around 32,000 high growth companies in the UK. Among these, some of the fastest-growing hypergrowth companies in 2021 include Moneybox (143% growth in turnover) and TransferGo (117% growth).

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  • What are the common issues experienced with hypergrowth?

    At the outset, startup teams are small. The entire company collaborates on a particular set of objectives. It’s easy to see and understand what everyone else is doing and create cohesive products and experiences. However, in hypergrowth, the number of people and projects dramatically increases. Companies frequently need to add new staff and share workloads to keep pace with the scaling business. As a result, they split into multiple teams, each focusing on different facets. Unfortunately, the new moving parts don’t always fit together seamlessly. Communication and coordination become increasingly complex, and teams can solidify into isolated silos that create fragmented experiences – for personnel and customers.

    The workplace’s role is to counterbalance this dislocating and fracturing effect of hypergrowth. When approached correctly, it creates a holistic experience for staff where company culture is celebrated, collaboration is a core focus, and agility is fused into the company. The workplace forms connection and cohesion, enabling teams to work together, even when turbulence is pulling them apart.

    Read the case study for our project with Eigen Technologies to understand how we helped relocate them to a new office space that would help facilitate their expansion plans.

     

  • “Although we’re now a 1000+ person company, it still feels to me like we’re a startup, just as much as it did when we actually were – when we were a couple of dozen people crammed into a couple of rooms.”

    Nextiva

    Yaniv Masjedi, CMO

  • What are the critical elements to workplace hypergrowth?

    So, how does the workplace facilitate hypergrowth? We’ve broken it down into the essential elements. Bear in mind that these concepts don’t operate in a vacuum. Each is co-dependent on the other for ensuring hypergrowth success.

     

    Scalable Business Systems

    One of the core competencies of hypergrowth involves creating repeatable systems and models that enlarge and evolve alongside your company. The essential difference with just “growth” is that scaling is achieved by increasing revenue without incurring huge costs. So, while adding customers and revenue exponentially, costs should only increase incrementally, if at all.

    Rental costs, refurbishments and tech and furniture purchasing are significant expenses for any business. During hypergrowth, getting them right the first time is paramount to keeping these costs low. From understanding space densities for the next six months to recreating office spaces in different locations, your workplace needs to be just as scalable as your product offering.

     

  • Mission and Culture

    Getting buy-in from your people will have a significant impact on hypergrowth. People are primarily driven by passion; they want to see they are making real change. When teams understand their mission and it’s fostered through positive company culture, they have a level of focus, energy, and commitment to move mountains. This can dramatically boost productivity and engagement at a time when the company is constantly in a state of flux.

    The workplace is your physical and virtual space for designating mission and culture. This command centre reasserts your company vision through branding and design and influences your people’s behaviours through layout and structure.

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  • Agility

    Hypergrowth means companies need to respond and adapt to the challenging pace of expansion posthaste – the speed of that response is your agility. Flexible, lean processes that are scalable and straightforward operations provide maximum flexibility with minimum constraints.

    These conditions for agility occur naturally at a smaller scale, but as the company grows, they need to be nurtured through workplace design and functionality. Harnessing the power of different workstyles (such as Activity Based Working) to innovative space models (such as Core and Flex) are just two prime examples of how the workplace can leverage performance and motivation to speed up response times.

     

  • Technology

    While many high growth companies use technology to expand, hypergrowth companies are on the edge of utilising advanced and emerging tools and systems for disruption. Whether the tools are used for internal and external communications, product development or even finance and costings, creating a scalable mix of technology is paramount to hypergrowth.

    Your workplaces include everywhere your teams operate so understanding which tools to employ and when to implement can make all the difference. Today, there’s an application, software, or device that can help enhance almost any business initiative— especially in the newer IoT and AI markets. Whether fostering collaboration between employees, improving customer satisfaction, driving revenue, or eliminating wasteful inefficiencies – the benefits of a robust workplace tech strategy cannot be ignored.

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  • Planning for change

    In hypergrowth, you’ll be growing the team in line with revenue – every 6 to 12 months on average. At this rapid pace, you could go from 20 to 200 people in two years and 500 to 1,000 people in four years. In this time, you’ll be integrating new departments rapidly (marketing, finance, HR, legal), potentially expanding internationally, while product road maps open new areas and markets to explore.

    With this in mind, you will effectively be managing a different company every six months. As the business scales and increases in complexity, you will need to change the organisational structure of the company to reflect the new talent, new functions, more employees, and changing alignment against your market and product. In other words, reorganization will occur frequently, so you need to prepare and plan for this rate of change.

     

  • The Guide to Designing Workplaces for Scalability

    Download our Guide to Scalability for more information on designing office space for hypergrowth companies and how we can help support your company as you grow.

    download now
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