Supporting teams of hyper-growth start-ups

25 Nov ‘22
3 min
Work performance
Editorial Board OpenUp
Gecontroleerd door Psychologist Lili Thoelen
start-ups en hypercroissance
Your start-up is no longer a start-up. And for a good reason: it has grown significantly and is now in a hyper-growth phase. You are facing new challenges, including ensuring the well-being of your employees. How can you successfully approach them? Read our experts’ tips and testimonials to learn more.


Uber, Spotify, Sigfox, PayFit France or Partoo… All these former start-ups, at their own level and in their own industry, experienced dazzling success shortly after they were born. And each of them had to deal with the phenomenon of hyper-growth.

Since sales are booming, and competitors are jealous, it should be an exciting time, right? Absolutely… as long as you manage some potential obstacles the right way —notably to maintain the well-being of your teams, who must also process this growth.


In this article, we discuss some key points to help you grow while looking out for your employees’ mental health.


What is hyper-growth?


We generally talk about hyper-growth when a company grows faster than usual for a certain period — by doubling or tripling its revenues several years in a row, or when it doubles or triples its workforce in a single year. While normal or moderate growth in an organization may seem totally normal, for some, hyper-growth can seem difficult to imagine and manage.


“Such rapid growth can trigger a vast array of emotions for the teams involved, such as excitement obviously, but also fear and worry. This is often what happens when faced with uncertainty and big changes,” explains Lili Thoelen, expert psychologist.


👉  You might also be interested in this article: How to Alleviate (Excessive) Work Pressure and Enjoy Your Job Again


5 key elements for the well-being of your teams


The risks associated with big changes and hyper-growth can be diverse and varied. They can affect finance, production, or human resources. For example, hyper-growth can overshadow necessary organisational adaptations and lead to a structure that is unsuited to the smooth operation of daily activities.


As a result, teams can quickly feel lost and overwhelmed. This impacts their motivation, their productivity, their balance and, ultimately, their well-being. How can you anticipate these risks and, above all, support your teams in a period of hyper-growth? With our two experts, we have identified five key elements to support your teams and help them grow along with the company, while looking out for their mental health.


1. Coaching and recruiting


If the job of the leader of a hyper-growth company evolves and changes regularly, the same goes for the employees, who are faced with new goals to achieve as well as new strategies and work methods.


“Rapid and constant change is indeed one of the main challenges. Therefore, it is very important to define a framework that allows colleagues to participate in driving the changes necessary to achieve the company’s mission”, says Marta Montesdeoca Romero, Human Resources Manager at OpenUp.


This includes training and mentoring/coaching to help managers and their teams grow along with the organization, but also through the recruitment of new talents, specifically selected for their capability to support the company’s growth over time.


2. Integrating new employees


“As a growing start-up or scale-up, we must strive to create an atmosphere where people can give their best. When you hire great, talented, motivated people, you need to welcome them into an environment where they will thrive,” adds Marta.


An onboarding process will therefore be crucial to ease a new colleague’s integration and convey your company’s values. This will help your new employee easily find their place in your organisation. Obviously, new employees should be able to bond directly with senior workers and feel fully integrated.


Better still: in a highly competitive job market, a proper welcome and integration process will convey a dynamic and positive image of your company and contribute to the loyalty of the new employee.


3. Transparent communication


Whether it’s to discuss a direction the company is taking, certain strategic decisions or the definition of new goals, honest and transparent communication is essential to maintain a high level of commitment among your employees. It also helps to ensure that everyone is looking in the same direction with conviction.


“Communication is key because hyper-growth can generate different expectations in the people who experience it daily. By communicating regularly and clarifying where needed, the company ensures that everyone is on the same page,” says expert psychologist Lili Thoelen.


4. Encouraging feedback


As briefly mentioned above, a company’s values are key elements that define your approach to work, both internally and externally. And their application contributes to the well-being of your teams, who will take ownership of the values and embody them.


Are openness and feedback already part of your organisation’s values? A culture that values appreciation and encourages colleagues to work on self-awareness, boundary setting, and increasing resilience will highly benefit mental health.


“Providing a safe and open space for everyone to voice their concerns and adopt a problem-solving attitude toward each other can foster rapid growth, but more importantly, healthy growth,” explains Lili Thoelen.


“This is also how we can grow together as professionals and people. Indeed, it all starts with openness and vulnerability. As an HR team or as management, we need to set an example by opening up when faced with challenges, without forgetting to celebrate successes and milestones!”, adds Marta Montesdeoca Romero.


5. An intact entrepreneurial culture


Change and hyper-growth, as exciting as they are, should not make you forget your roots and what made you successful. The entrepreneurial spirit is obviously (probably) a big part of this.


Therefore, you should continue to encourage your teams to innovate, to show initiative and proactivity, to test, and to learn in order to evolve with the company. Adapting and becoming more structured does not mean changing everything. Maintaining your identity and DNA will help your employees better assimilate changes.


Hyper-growth start-ups: Healthy foundations to go even further


It’s a given: hyper-growth brings new challenges, goals and changes. But it also offers fantastic opportunities, including strengthening the well-being of your teams and paying special attention to work-life balance. They are and will remain strong guarantors for the continuous evolution of your company. They will also lay solid foundations to go even further with teams that are engaged, motivated and feel understood and respected.

“It’s natural to feel some resistance in times of uncertainty, but the reality is that most people want to be involved and be part of the transformation. They want to feel part of it and take these opportunities to evolve along with the company, too,” concludes Marta Montesdeoca Romero.


💬 Want to talk about your company’s situation in more detail? Request a demo and find out what OpenUp can do for you.