Miro, the online collaborative whiteboard maker, has had a roaring start to the ‘20s. When it closed its Series B round of funding in May 2020, the startup had just 300 employees and by the end of 2021 that number had quadrupled – and they have no plans to slow down. With such explosive growth, planning for headcount at the departmental level has, unsurprisingly, been a challenge.
As the Interim Head of Recruiting, Sierra Kaslow has been the de facto project manager of the headcount planning process since she joined Miro two years ago. Due to the fluidity of planning and the rate of changes that can occur each cycle, it can be difficult to track each and every update to the plan. One of Sierra’s top priorities has been eliminating the potential for any margin of error, however small.
Historically, the process has been as follows: twice a year, Sierra helps the Finance team collect spreadsheets with headcount requests from each department head. She then helps to consolidate everything into one massive document, and then shares that document with the recruiting team. As each request is reviewed by the relevant members of the approval chain, a color coding system is applied to designate if the request has been approved or denied.
This document is treated as the single source of truth at Miro, and given that executives and recruiters alike use it to make updates, submit ad hoc requests, open up roles in Greenhouse, and find and hire qualified candidates, a lot of time and effort depends on its data being accurate and up to date.
If you’ve ever participated in headcount planning before, this might sound familiar - it’s more or less the same process that most companies follow today. However, with nearly unprecedented expansion goals in sight, the team at Miro recognized that maintaining spreadsheets for planning and hiring was not a sustainable option in their next phase of growth. When TruePlan entered the scene, Miro saw an opportunity to bring operational excellence into managing their talent pipeline and headcount planning, and they took it.
The cracks in the spreadsheet system
Prior to using TruePlan, Miro’s headcount planning process was done off of the aforementioned spreadsheet which was shared across the Finance team, the Recruiting team, and all department heads. Once the plan was locked, those with access still had the ability to update the details of an approved hire, such as the location, the title, or the job level. Changes to these details had implications not only on Miro’s bottom line but on the recruiting motion as well, and they were rarely easy to track. Ad hoc requests added to the document after planning closed were also not uncommon and needed to be flagged so that they received the proper attention from the approval chain and later, the Recruiting team.
Those involved in the approval process faced the additional challenge of not having easy access to the most up to date org chart or headcount ledger for their organization to inform their decisions around pending requests. In the last two years, Miro has grown by 500%, and with such rapid growth, it was nearly impossible to have access to the most current information at all times.
Lastly, given limitations around spreadsheet permissions, it was hard to track down who had approved what and when. Approved requests were color coded, but there was no easily-auditable system in place should anyone ever need to work backward from any of the steps of the approval process. With the introduction of a persona-based permissions system, an HRIS integration, and an auditable paper trail, the headcount planning process would be taken to that next level that Miro needed.
Closing the gaps with automation and 360 degree views
As luck would have it, TruePlan offers all of those things. “With TruePlan, we have more controls in place and the approval workflow is more clear cut. It’s really nice to see what the active requests are, versus what’s already been approved and who our current employees are,” Sierra says.
When Miro moved over to TruePlan, there were a number of improvements in how they planned for headcount. First, rather than collect multiple different spreadsheets that were then consolidated into one giant spreadsheet, Miro asked its hiring managers to log into TruePlan and submit bottoms-up headcount requests for their respective departments. TruePlan integrates with BambooHR, Miro’s HRIS, so each hiring manager (as well as each member of the approval chain) has a clear view of the current state of each organization at the company to inform their actions. Once those requests are approved, they automatically get added to this ledger, which serves as their new single source of truth. “The biggest and best change to our headcount planning process since we moved to TruePlan is that we can see all existing headcount and future headcount in one view,” says Sierra.
To tighten up their approval process, Miro was able to build a custom approval hierarchy for each role submitted through TruePlan based on the department of the request. With TruePlan’s automation, each member of an approval chain receives a proactive notification when it’s their turn to review a request; the hiring manager who initially submitted the request is also notified when the request is approved by every member of the chain, or, alternatively, if it’s denied at any point. Aside from the TruePlan admins, no one outside of the approval chain has the power to approve or deny the request, and every step of the process is tracked on an activity feed.
Using TruePlan’s persona-based permissions, Miro has ensured that details of approved hires won’t be changed after they are approved unless the recruiter is the one making them. The plan is locked when the plan is locked, and any ad hoc request submitted after the planning window has closed is labeled as such for visibility across the entire working team.
A new source of truth
Miro is a rocketship; their growth in recent years has been nothing short of impressive, and they’re not stopping any time soon. They’re hoping to hit 2,000 full time employees in 2022, and as they sprint toward their next milestone, they need to plan for hiring as efficiently and seamlessly as possible. TruePlan helps to make that a reality.