Dare to Scale Workshop: Kalin Radev on Recruitment and Retention

by Phillip Galaboff

Kalin Radev, CEO of Software Group and Endeavor Bulgaria Board Member, shared his experience and tips in a 3-hour session with the pilot class of the Dare to Scale program. The topic was Recruitment and Retention and is the penultimate from a total of 8 workshops for the 2019 program.

Hiring and managing employees is a hot topic nowadays and hardly anyone could be more suited to lead the topic than Kalin who heads one of the most dynamic fintech companies in the region. Software Group has grown from 100 to 400 employees over the past few years and has achieved success on a global scale by building a client base of over 150 financial institutions on nearly 80 markets.

The subjects of focused recruitment, company culture and employee motivation were key to Kalin’s presentation as he reflected on his own experience as an entrepreneur. To begin with, he shared his view on “superstars”- the employees, who continuously outperform. Kalin believes that founders should pay attention to how these employees interact with each other, as usually each superstar has a big ego and his/her own set way of working and are not high-scoring on communication skills. Superstars are usually very capable and expect others to be as good and as quick as them and as such, often are impatient. Additionally, Kalin believes that superstars often tend to over-engineer things – sometimes they spend too much time and effort on tasks that do not need to be perfected. To mitigate these risks, Kalin stressed the importance of effectively communicating a company’s mission and purpose to new recruits and current employees on a regular basis, regardless of how big an organization is.

Kalin believes that growing a company beyond 100 people is a monumental task that requires a specific kind of leadership – namely, one that involves a lot of listening and interacting with employees on a daily (sometimes also all-day) basis. He also highlighted the importance of long-term planning and aligning recruitment goals to that. “You cannot grow a company n-fold if you lead by momental inspiration and gut-feeling. Entrepreneurs must try to set a structure from the start and develop a growth model which will determine the recruitment goals at each stage of the company’s development.” Kalin believes that recruitment and retention practices cannot be copy-pasted as they are from other companies, but rather that different pieces can be tried and leaders are to determine what works best for their own organization.

On December 10th, Viktor Bilyanski – CTO and co-founder of ScaleFocus and Endeavor Mentor will build on the HR topic by leading the workshop on Organization and Culture in Sofia Tech Park. Stay tuned!