How Flatiron Health maintains a people-based company culture

Happy woman with laptop leading team meeting

5 mins, 19 secs read time

There’s a shift happening. Human Resources is reinventing itself. The most progressive companies have replaced HR with new People Teams. These teams focus on maximizing the value of employees and driving business results through strategic talent acquisition, onboarding, and management.

We’re excited to highlight a handful of these forward-thinking People Teams and their companies in this blog series, “The New People Teams.” (Click here to read a previous post showcasing Rapid7).

Greenhouse customer and Greenhouse Open 2016 attendee Flatiron Health also exemplifies today’s new People Team. Besides being on a mission to power a national benchmarking and research network of patients and physicians to transform how cancer care is delivered, it’s also one of several modern companies leading the way in this new People revolution through its internal initiatives and efforts.

We recently sat down with Flatiron Health’s Director of Recruiting Hillary Kanarek Mager to learn how her team is growing its People function and finding its place in the organization. Here’s what she had to say:

1. When was Flatiron Health established? How many employees does the company have, and how many are on the People Team?

Flatiron was established in New York City in June 2012, so almost 4 years ago. We have about 260 employees and are growing very quickly! Our People Team currently has 14 employees (not including the office team, which also reports into the People Team).

2. Did Flatiron always have a People Team, or did it morph from an original HR Department? If the former, how did your founders know that a People Team is what they wanted?

We were always a People Team from day one. I think initially this was inspired by the fact that our founders came from Google, and this is what they called it there, but it was reinforced by the idea that our people and talent are core to our business and give us our competitive edge.

3. How is the People Team constructed?

Our People Team is broken down into three main areas: Recruiting, People Operations, and Learning and Development. The goal of the Recruiting Team is to strategically grow our teams by augmenting them thoughtfully, with A+ talent that we want to retain in the long-term. The roles within that team focus on the overall recruiting strategy, branding, candidate sourcing, and candidate management.

The goal of the People Operations Team is setting our employees up for success and creating an environment that will help them thrive at Flatiron long term. The roles on that team are focused on building philosophies and infrastructure around our values, compensation, benefits, performance management, manager partnership, and more.

Finally, Learning and Development is dedicated to making employees more capable and effective day-to-day in their current roles, as well as ensuring we give back to our employees as much as they are giving to us to help them develop their careers. This involves areas such as onboarding, mentorship, manager training/coaching, and employee engagement, which give us insight into how to best develop our employees to help them achieve their goals and ours.

4. What has the Flatiron People Team achieved so far?

The People Operations Team in particular has made a number of achievements in a pretty short amount of time, which we’re very proud of. A few examples are that we have built a company from 0 to 260 employees in just 4 years (with 130 new hires last year alone!). In addition, we have rolled out a stellar performance management program that gives employees 360 degree feedback with specific guidance on how things are going and what they need to do to get to the next level, and we are now rolling out a manager training program to make our managers even more impactful and effective, as well as a company-wide professional skills training initiative.

Here are some stats that we are extremely proud of, showing that we are successful at making the right hire the first time around and that our employees are satisfied with the company as a whole:

  • 0.8% of involuntary turnover in 1 year from date of hire
  • 96% of employees are proud to work at Flatiron, 94% of employees believe we stand behind our mission, and 90% of employees would recommend Flatiron as a great place to work

5. What does the People Team still want to achieve?

We have a lot on our agenda for the next six months, but one of our goals is to grow our San Francisco office in a way that propagates our culture. Another initiative is thinking carefully about organizational effectiveness, as we are beginning to think about KPIs and team metrics and how to apply them in a way that makes sense across the organization to help us adjust our hiring, employee development, and overall employee experience. We'll also be focusing on career development, both by creating more guidance on how to progress (via career ladders) and by equipping employees and managers with tools and resources for having regular development conversations that are completely separate from formal performance reviews.

6. How does the People Team view its role in the overall organization, and how is the Team viewed by executives and other departments?

The three leaders of the People Team (who head up each of the three areas: Recruiting, People Ops, and Learning and Development) report directly to our founders, Nat and Zach. They are deeply involved in the overall People strategy, both in terms of giving us the resources we need to be successful as well overall day-to-day coaching and support. Their buy-in and the value they assign to People trickles down throughout the organization and therefore, other departments see us as strategic partners who they seek out early and often on all things related to their people management, development, and growth strategy.

Join Flatiron Health and other companies that are at the forefront of the People revolution by attending Greenhouse Open, our annual conference & networking event taking place May 25-27th in San Francisco. In particular, gain a better understanding of this shift and how it’s impacting your organization by sitting in on the session “The New People Teams,” led by Greenhouse VP of People & Strategy Maia Josebachvili and featuring Neil Frye, Global Head of Operations & Technology (People) at Dropbox, and Joris Luijke, VP of People at Grovo.