Todd Tran, Global SVP of Programmatic and Mobile at Teads, talks to us about managing talent globally in the ad tech world

Growing your business, establishing the right culture, and attracting and retaining talent are some of the biggest challenges that business owners face. If you’re looking to expand internationally, that challenge gets even more complex. But thanks to huge leaps in technology, IT, and FinTech, facilitating international business and communications, it’s now easier than ever before to ‘go global’. And some companies are embracing the opportunity and thriving. Teads, for instance, is a native video advertising marketplace founded in 2011. In five years, it already has a team of over 450 employees across 28 global offices.

We sat down with Todd Tran, Global SVP of Programmatic and Mobile at Teads, to find out how he’s managing talent and helping to grow the business internationally.

Think like a funder

When you want to attract the best and brightest, you need to think like your financial backers, according to Todd. “I’d look at it this way – why should a venture capitalist give you money? “They don’t look at business models, they look at the people in the company; that’s the number one criteria they consider when deciding whether to invest. So you need to get the right people on board.”

Size matters

“If you’re a start-up and nobody has heard of you – or the idea you’re selling doesn’t even ‘exist’ – then attracting senior talent will rely more on relationships. By that I mean you’ll either know that person or you’ll be known to them. They’ll be investing in you rather than the company at that stage.” However, it’s a different story when recruiting more junior employees. “Younger, inexperienced staff tend to want to work for start-ups because they’re attracted to the idea of working for a smaller company. They like the concept. They’ll gravitate towards you by themselves, you just need to check that they’re ready for an entrepreneurial environment, have the right personality, and show them that your business has the right ‘vibe’.”

Get the culture right

“There’s a more general set of principles we follow when it comes to retaining people and I think company culture is a big part of that. I’ve worked with quite a few teams who use the word ‘family’. When I hear people talking like that, I know the company is in pretty good shape. After all, you spend between 8 and 16 hours a day with the people you work with.” Where many companies get it wrong, Todd explains, is by thinking that creating the right culture requires nothing more than drafting some ‘company values’ and laminating them. “Most companies just put their company values on a piece of paper, recite it a few times a year, and then put it in a drawer. “By contrast, Apple only communicates their company values to the top managers who are told not to share the actual document with anyone. They internalise those values and actually practice them every single day. Do that, and you won’t need a piece of paper, your values will seeps into the company. “What you need to do is create a vibe where people don’t want to leave. When you find this vibe, and everyone feels it, that’s the biggest thing. It’s really hard to put your finger on it and it might be different for every company.”

People are unique

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing talent, says Todd. Some people are content in their role, some are always hungry for progression. The trick is finding a way to make them both happy. And the only way to do this, he says, is by building relationships. He recommends getting together with direct reports once a quarter, saying “It can be casual, unplanned, over a coffee, but you need to ask them the key questions: How’s it going? What do you like? What else do you want to do? “In fact, the best way I’ve retained talent is through relationships. My employees like me, they respect me and know I’m looking out for them. That matters.”


How can Hanson Search help?

If you are expanding globally and looking for the best talent, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a confidential discussion.

Posted on 24.08.2016

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