In January of 2021, Ergatta’s approach to talent acquisition was forever changed (for the better!) when we welcomed Bree Franklin to the team. As our Director of Talent Acquisition, Bree single-handedly created our current talent acquisition process from the ground up. Under her leadership, our company is five times the size it was back in the early days of 2020.
We are incredibly lucky to have Bree in our corner; her passion for her work, unshakable optimism, and infectious energy have led to her being anointed Ergatta’s unofficial “people champion” by her peers. At the end of the day though, the truth is: we’re her number one fans! And we’re excited to be able to share more of her story with you.
“There could be nobody better to lead our Talent department here at Ergatta. Bree is dedicated to her work and our mission, and she will do whatever it takes to make sure we bring in the best new talent for our team.” – Marissa Mattos, Senior Employee Experience Associate
What is your role at Ergatta?
Bree Franklin: I joined Ergatta just before our Series A fundraise to lead Talent Acquisition, which involved creating and implementing a scalable recruitment operation from soup to nuts, establishing and communicating our employer brand, and hiring across all departments. We grew from 10 full-time employees to just over 50 in my first year, and we hired our entire executive leadership team. Suffice to say, 2021 was a busy year!
My counterpart, Luca, joined the team in January to build and lead Ergatta’s Talent Management function and under his guidance, I’ve been introduced to the world of HR and People Operations. We have invested heavily in the growth and development of our existing team, and this year I’ve had the opportunity to expand the scope of my role to also serve as an HR Business Partner. I spent six years as an executive and career development coach prior to joining Ergatta, and it has been incredibly rewarding to leverage that experience. I’m not only bringing on top talent, but am fostering that talent in a way that supports our team’s individual career development goals as well as the needs of our business. Stay tuned for some exciting updates about what’s on the horizon in Q3 to further promote our team’s professional development!
What inspired you to join the Ergatta team?
BF: I was introduced to our co-founder and CEO, Tom, in June of 2020 when I was still working as an agency recruiter. Ergatta was an amazing client and in the ten months I spent as their agency partner, I really got to know the founders and their unique leadership styles. I was consistently impressed by their dedication to their customers and the company’s vision as well as their commitment to the values and guiding principles of the organization.
In full transparency, I had never really considered going in-house prior to meeting the Ergatta team.
I clearly remember the day I said to my fiancé that [Ergatta] was the first company that has ever made me reconsider my future in the agency world. It was around the holidays, and I had just wrapped up a kickoff call with Tom and our co-founder and COO, Al, for a new search we were about to launch, which had gone exceptionally well. I think it was about 30 seconds later that I checked my phone and saw I had a text from Tom, asking–out of sheer curiosity–if I had ever considered working as an in-house recruiter. The timing was so serendipitous that I actually thought I had forgotten to leave the Zoom meeting!
Fast forward to March of 2021: I officially transitioned to become Ergatta’s in-house Director of Talent Acquisition as our 17th employee and haven’t looked back since.
What makes leading/working on the Talent team at Ergatta unique?
BF: I really do believe that I have one of, if not the most, rewarding jobs at Ergatta because the output of my work (and now my team’s work!) is the people we work alongside every day. We are building an entirely new consumer category and essentially combining two historically disparate industries: gaming and connected fitness. Some of my favorite searches have been those in which we’ve created an entirely new career path for someone to leverage their unique and relatively niche skill set (e.g. game development) and apply it to an entirely new industry that they had never thought of before, where they can truly make a profound positive impact on the lives of our customers.
How do you think about talent acquisition strategy at Ergatta?
BF: One of the things that I love most about Ergatta is that our Talent team isn’t considered an “unsung hero,” which quite frankly is not always the case at a startup (or any business for that matter). We make no secret of the fact that our single most important asset is our people and our talent strategy is really quite simple: hire the right* talent for the role as it exists today, with room to grow 6 months, one year, five years, and beyond as our business scales.
We are big believers in hiring for potential and investing in top talent. We strive to give our team members the space they need in order to experiment and try new things, as well as the resources and support they need to be successful and grow their careers. When you’re still in the early innings of building your team, each new hire has an outsized impact on both the business as well as the working environment in which we build that business. Our talent strategy will continue to evolve as our business scales; however, our philosophy about hiring for potential and investing in exceptional talent will always be a core pillar of our business.
*The right talent does not always equate to the “best” talent on paper. A quote from Herb Brooks that really sticks with me is one that our Senior People Ops Associate, Meg, shared with me when I first joined Ergatta: “We’re not looking for the best players; we’re looking for the right ones.”
What qualities and skills make someone a valuable addition to your team, or to the larger Ergatta team in general?
BF: The people who succeed at Ergatta are those who prioritize outcomes over egos and truly take a collaborative approach to their work. We are still a relatively early stage startup, which means every person here—from our senior leadership team to recent graduates—is willing to roll up their sleeves and get in the weeds to finish a project or release a new feature. While scrappiness, resilience, and creativity are valuable qualities for anyone at a startup to possess, they are particularly important to members of our talent team. The demand for talent has never been greater and we are operating in a “candidate-driven market.” The only way we’ll achieve our mission is by hiring exceptional talent whose values align with our own and who can be both tactical as well as strategic; not surprisingly, that type of talent is in very high demand.
As a lean talent team, we may not have the extensive resources that some of the larger organizations out there do, but we also don’t have red tape or overly prescriptive processes that could hinder our ability to act fast and compete in this market. What’s more, we are a very mission-driven company and our ability to quickly showcase not only what we do, but also who we are as individuals, is imperative to make these pivotal hires.
If you ask any person here today why they joined the Ergatta team, part of their answer will most likely include something about the interview process. As much as I’d love to take credit for that, the credit really goes to our team members who sit on each interview panel and provide a genuine sense of the culture here as well as meaningful insight into what we’re building. This is truly the most refreshingly authentic group of people I’ve ever worked with and that authenticity as well as our team’s excitement about their work is palpable.
We might not win 100% of the time (hence the resilience factor), but we will work with whatever resources we have (cue scrappiness) in a way that makes a lasting impression on the type of person who would thrive here.
What is your management style? How would you describe your leadership style?
BF: In full transparency, in many ways I think I’m still figuring that out myself! Between December 2021 and January 2022, the size of my team tripled and one of the most profound realizations I learned from that experience is that there is a significant difference between management and leadership. If I had to explain my management style as it exists today, it would look a bit different for each direct report but my overall philosophy is the same: to help each team member realize their full potential and to empower them as leaders. In all seriousness, the team I manage is exceptional; they are a unique group whose potential is truly limitless.
If I do my job right, which involves invoking the guidance of our own amazing senior leadership team and consistently asking for constructive feedback on ways I can improve as a manager, I have no doubt I’ll be reporting into one of them some day. Quite frankly, I can’t think of anything that would be more rewarding.