How do you grow a team quickly while keeping the values that made your company what it is … and keeping the level of talent and character high? This is a massive and ongoing challenge for fast-growing venture-backed companies like Singular.
One of the ways we’ve addressed it?
Hiring a VP of People.
Viviana Notcovich has led growth and human resources teams at Wix, Careers 360, and Elbit Systems, and has a varied international background: perfect for a company like Singular with operations in six countries (and growing).
I interviewed her to learn why people choose to work at Singular:
Koetsier: Tell me a little about your background.
Notcovich: My multicultural background has shaped me. I was born in Argentina, developed my career in Israel, and I’m now thriving in the Bay area. I had vast experience in developing human resource business plans in the corporate big enterprise and pre- to post-IPO transformation.
I’m super-happy to build the journey at Singular today.
Koetsier: You’re the VP of People at Singular. It’s an unusual title … how and why did you select it?
Notcovich: I see the people-leading role as focused on developing a scalable, healthy, talent-based organization focusing on developing skills and enhancing engagement through best management practices. The most traditional HR functions including recruitment, benefits, training and development, and other operational roles are musts to have to have an organization running, but are not sufficient to keep talent in a competitive market.
Focusing on people rather than HR operations adds a more strategic layer to the role and brings true added value to the business.
Koetsier: One of the first things you did in your new role at Singular is talk to almost everyone in the company. What are some of the key things you learned?
Notcovich: First of all, I had a lot of fun interacting with everybody, and this is the basis of what we do. I have a long history of people management in the tech industry but I was amazed to learn about the level of engagement our people have.
This is a huge differentiator for our team: people are here “to build a good company.” They say things like “this is mine,” “we will win”, and “we have the best product in the market, period!” These are the most common answers in our offices around the world.
Koetsier: You also did a survey of everyone, asking them a number of questions. One of them was: why do you work at Singular? Can you share some of those answers?
Notcovich: Everyone has a mix of reasons.
When it comes to the most important one, almost 40% of our people are here primarily due to the friendships, teams, and community they’ve built. Another 34% are here mostly because they believe in the product and the story that we’re building. 20% see room for a lot of professional development here, and 6% are here primarily because of our CEO, Gadi Eliashiv!
Koetsier: Does that differ from other companies you’ve worked for? If so, how?
Notcovich: First of all we have the most talented engineering team in the world, with full stack engineers (some of them coming from the 8200 intelligence unit of the Israeli Army), with extremely low turnover rates.
But this is not only that, this company was founded by friends, and this sticks very hard in our DNA. Every startup in the valley will have a ping pong table with graffiti saying “work hard, play hard” on the board. At Singular this level of commitment and camaraderie is taken to a different level. The velocity of the work and the impact we all have on setting our collective future connects us, developing a deep level of trust in each other.
This is the core of a true functional team: everyone is respected and empowered to move forward and make us win!
Koetsier: You work with teams in the U.S., London, Tel Aviv, Seoul, India, and Japan. What are some of the similarities across those teams, and what are some of the differences?
Notcovich: We are a very lean company spread out in five different offices, speaking four different languages, in six different time zones, with hundreds of different upbringings. Still, we have a lot in common. Throughout a very selective recruitment process (4% acceptance rate, lower than Harvard!), we built a team across the globe that has a strong feeling of accountability and is dependable and resourceful — even at a series B level with tons of infrastructure to build!
We believe that building deep connections can achieve greatness — between people, teams and cultures. That’s why we love working closely together across the globe, over-communicate, trust each other and care more about success than credit.
Koetsier: Why do you work at Singular?
Notcovich: I chose Singular because I trusted that we have a good business opportunity and because I wanted to work with Gadi. There are lots of bright CEOs in San Francisco, but Gadi is not only a smart product visionary, but a super personable and humble leader.
I work at Singular today because I got addicted to the mission, the crazy high pace … the ability to enable impactful change. And most importantly, I love the team!
Koetsier: Thank you for your time!