HR Post Covid
Salt Security: Covid-19 showed us the true meaning of teamwork
The company experienced 200% growth and secured two funding rounds - all in the middle of a pandemic. But how?
It isn’t easy doing much during lockdowns - let alone manage hyper-growth after two successful funding rounds. For Cybersecurity firm Salt, it meant relying on one another as its customer base kept growing to meet new demands.
“Our anchor through this storm was to make room for every team member’s personal situation and find a way to piece this puzzle together,” explained Ahuvy Mrad, Salt’s HR Manager when discussing the company’s 200% growth during Covid-19. “In some cases that meant totally changing the daily schedule, in other cases, it meant shifting the work distribution. We discovered the true meaning of the word teamwork as we came together to make it work.”
Salt Security joined CTech for ‘HR Post Covid’ to share how it managed funding and growth during an exceptional year of pandemics, lockdowns, and remote work.
Company Name: Salt Security
HR Leader: Ahuvy Mrad, HR Manager.
Field of Activity:Cybersecurity. APIs (application programming interfaces) have become a fundamental unit of software. Salt Security protects the APIs that form the core of every modern application. Salt Security enables organizations to discover APIs, prevent real-time attacks, and facilitate remediation so customers can continue to operate and innovate in an increasingly digitized world.
Number of employees/location: Currently over 50 employees across the U.S and Israel, and rapidly growing.
Professional background of HR Manager:I like to get my hands dirty. I joined Salt when it was just a fetus because that’s where all the action is. While I started my HR career at Sequoia Capital, a Venture Capital Fund, I quickly realized my real passion is for building something from scratch and went on to join my first startup - Capitolis. Two years later, I took another risk and joined Salt - they were a small group of authentic, down to earth people and I fell in love. It has been an incredible experience watching the human tapestry evolve at Salt.
On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?
There was definitely chaos and disruption at first, but we quickly got a handle on it. The pandemic brought with it many good moments, too. While the world was entering the whirlwind of Covid-19 in March, we were at the height of series A funding, with series B to follow just a few months later. Altogether, we managed to raise $50 million during the pandemic. And this left us no choice but to grow and grow fast.
One of the things that helped us bring the right people to Salt was the timing. The pandemic had a huge impact on the job market and you could feel it in the people. People started looking around, they started soul searching and wondering what their next move is. We managed to recruit candidates who were totally passive and not even looking for work in key strategic positions. We got lucky - our team members know who we are best and what we need. They bring the most amazing people to Salt.
What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?
We use Comeet for recruiting efforts and Monday for tasks management.What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company? We felt the gap that not having face-to-face leaves especially when it came to the technical aspects. Our onboarding R&D process was definitely harder during Covid-19 since our solution is very complex technically - usually, we are able to offer support in-person to new employees. Once the pandemic started, we couldn’t afford to slow down by a millisecond because our customer base grew by 200% during the pandemic. Our anchor through this storm was to make room for every team member’s personal situation and find a way to piece this puzzle together. In some cases that meant totally changing the daily schedule, in other cases, it meant shifting the work distribution. We discovered the true meaning of the word teamwork as we came together to make it work. What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?
First and foremost to keep growing our magic team. We have a quality standard that we will never compromise on, though it’s getting harder as our hiring goals are just getting bigger.
The second is sustaining high employee engagement. The kind of things that happen naturally in office life have now become a huge challenge. You have to really reinvent the wheel in terms of employee engagement. We’re trying to create an intimate atmosphere despite the barriers of remote work and a global team. There are certain virtual moments - during a fun quiz in Happy Hour or while plotting our way out of a virtual escape room - that you can actually feel the togetherness. It doesn’t happen every day, but it happens.Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?
Yes! Salt is growing incredibly fast and we are very excited about where we are right now. Today, there are a variety of open positions available on our website, R&D roles, Product, DevOps, Data Scientists, and the list is getting longer and longer. We run an effective and short recruiting process. We don’t want to waste anyone's time. We first conduct a short phone call screening to assess whether there is an initial fit. Then, the direct manager conducts an interview with the candidate and, in most cases, the candidate will submit a home assignment. If all goes well, we conduct the final interviews with management and HR.
Before we make a final offer - we invite the candidate for a friendly lunch so that he can see the faces behind the screens - and the masks.Which changes were forced upon you by the circumstances will stay in place after Covid-19 is over, and which are you most eager to revert back to normal?
Our major growth happened in the last eight months - we doubled the number of employees in the U.S and Israeli sites. In normal times, we would be flying back and forth between the sites - and we can’t wait to get back to that. In the States, our team regularly works from home, but in Israel, we miss the office vibe, deciding already at 11 am which restaurant to go to and then going downstairs together for a fun lunch. We want this all back badly. On the other hand, we now truly understand the meaning of flexibility in terms of scheduling and working from home. I think some of that will definitely stay after this is all over.