Building a Best-in-Class Team
At Educate!, we believe that the most innovative and impactful organizations are fueled by high-growth, mission-driven teams. That’s why we’ve focused on building a best-in-class team with a strong focus on East African and female leadership, critical to achieving meaningful impact.
We believe that the most innovative and impactful organizations are fueled by high-growth, mission-driven teams.
Since 2009, Educate! has scaled our impact over 40x, and Educate!’s Human Resources team has been at the heart of this growth — from recruiting and onboarding high-potential talent, to building a strong culture, to ensuring that our staff grow along with the organization. In 2018, Educate!’s HR team supported Educate! in achieving our goals in three key ways:
1. Putting Culture First
Early on at Educate!, our team articulated Educate!’s core cultural values — the values that we believe each person at Educate! should embody to help the organization achieve its mission. Today, our HR teams across all countries use the cultural tenets within their recruitment and hiring process to identify people who not only have the skills to succeed in a specific role, but who will thrive and grow at this fast-moving organization.
Every person at Educate! — from interns to the executive director — is evaluated by how they live up to Educate!’s five cultural tenets: Youth First, Exceed Expectations, Always Learning, Flexible and Open-Minded, and Only Solve a Problem Once. To continually ground our staff in Educate!’s cultural tenets and celebrate employee achievement, in 2018 our Uganda HR team implemented a cultural tenet “shout out” session at each monthly team meeting. The lightning-round-style shout-out sessions allow staff to recognize each other across departments for the small ways they embody each of Educate!’s values day to day.
“If there is one thing we are exceptional at, it is building a team.
The relationships at Educate! are strong and everyone is very welcoming. We are genuinely invested in ensuring our employees succeed and grow, and we work hard to encourage one another
Deo Okou, Senior Human Resource Officer
2. Creating a High-Growth Environment
Educate! can only grow as quickly as our people, and as an organization we take pride in accelerating professional development for our staff. Our HR team works hard to create a supportive, inclusive, and high-growth work environment for every member of the team. This includes initiatives like manager guides to career conversations, internal training programs, learning from external consultants, and helping our staff pursue new areas of interest within the organization.
In 2018, the Uganda team introduced a “Rockstar Manager” training program, based on Google’s eight traits of a good manager, to further integrate the value we place on helping our staff succeed.
It worked: We were proud to see that in a 2018 survey of our team in Uganda, 91% agreed or strongly agreed that Educate! is a great place for professional development. In 2018, we promoted more than 25 members of our team, including our Deputy Country Director and Director of Program Implementation in Uganda, both of whom joined Educate! as Mentors in 2009. And we’re proud to be a launchpad for success both inside and outside of the organization – at least ten members of the Educate! team have gone on to start their own organizations.
3. Investing in Gender Equity
Gender equity is core to Educate!’s program, and our HR team is committed to that value within the organization as well. During the second half of 2018, we modified our hiring process to ensure that we were moving closer to our goal of a 50/50 staff gender ratio and prioritizing female leadership. At the close of 2018, 56% of our staff were female and 12 of our top 16 leaders were women.
HR also worked to create new policies that support working mothers on our team. Our Travel Policy now provides transport, accommodation, and meals for caretakers to travel with mothers with young babies when working in the field. Although our policies are aimed at supporting mothers, we also extend our policies to support fathers with young children. Policies like these are key to ensuring that men and women have equal opportunities for growth and success at Educate!.