Case Study — Avenue HQ
In 2015, Vancouver based startup, Avenue HQ (then called Realty Butler) had less than 10 employees. Avenue HQ, a marketing service provider for Real Estate Agents, approaches their online technology-enabled service with a humanistic approach. They had proven product market fit and had raised a seed round of investment. From early on, co-founders Chris Troelstra and Rebecca Troelstra realized that in order to build a successful company, they’d need to invest in their team, as much, if not more than they invested in the technology in order to thrive.
And gut checks and culture fit weren’t going to cut it. Working with Talent Collective's career & leadership coach, Crystal Henrickson, Avenue HQ developed a values driven strategy that has since served as the backbone for decision making — influencing everything from hiring and employee engagement, to client acquisition and even investor relationships.
Fast forward a short 2.5 years, and Avenue HQ is a thriving 40 person firm and projected to grow to 120+ employees by the end of 2018. In November 2017, they closed 2.35M in financing to rapidly expand across Canada and the US.
KUDOS from the team
"Crystal is not afraid to ask hard questions objectively looking at our business, helping us focus on areas of our business that often get overlooked as a startup: like culture, people and team development -- until they start to go wrong!"
CEO & Founder
"For me, personally, I [love] having someone in my corner. Someone who will show me how to be better at doing my job but also confront stuff that is keeping me from being my best self."
COO & Founder
"Crystal didn’t just rattle off a list of productivity tips, but actually talked through my workload with me, and together we developed possible solutions. In addition to practical takeaways that have changed (and improved) the way I work, these conversations also made be feel better psychologically about my workload.
- Coaching 5+ new leaders who have grown teams to 3+
- Employee happiness score of 8.7, putting Avenue HQ in the top 10% of companies
“I think this dichotomy between technology and people is really interesting for Avenue HQ. So many early stage technology companies are 100% focused on the technology, and the people factors take a back seat. Once these companies figure out the technology and start to see success in the market, they run into problems because they haven't invested in their people.
We knew that Avenue HQ was going to be successful and employ a lot of people. Focussing on them early was paramount, to build a foundation for growth.
Talent Collective helped us navigate many of the early questions we had in how to set up a strong people foundation for our company. They facilitated the creation of our values and helped us implement them throughout the company so that they were meaningful. They also helped us implement proper hiring and retention practices, which was really important as we grew from 12 to 40 in 2017.”
— Chris Troelstra, CEO and Founder
Like most new companies, the founding team was new to people leadership and management, lacking the experiences and skills to grow up a strong team. Recognizing these skill gaps, they enlisted Talent Collective to keep a hard focus on people engagement and leadership development.
Playing the roles of on-demand People and Talent Partner, Leadership Advisor and People Development Coach, our objective was to design and implement strategies with a people centric focus, aligning with company objectives and values while keeping size and scaling top of mind.
Some of the key projects we have led includes:
- One-on-one Team Leader + Executive Coaching
- Monthly Team Leadership Group Training
- Company Values Definition Workshop
- Compensation Philosophy Definition
Building a foundation of one-on-one coaching, we focused on the individual leader which allowed us to identify opportunities to increase employee engagement and performance. We deployed “just in time” learning and development plans focusing on the critical pressure points in the full life cycle of the employee experience.
Core Values Definition and Implementation
Total Compensation Strategy
Candidate Experience Strategy
New Manager Training
Emerging Leader Coaching