A contagious positive attitude has taken Alma Ventures’s Head of Human Resources through a pandemic quest for self-improvement. Agustina González had always been incredibly upbeat and outgoing. A classic morning person, she took on the day early and found any excuse to explore outside with her friends, her boyfriend, or her family. However, the trying months of lockdown showed her an even better way to lead her life.
“I’ve been radically changing my eating habits”, she says. It’s not that she ate really badly before, but she wasn’t exactly aware of what was best for her. Agustina consulted a nutritionist and found out a whole new world of self-care. “I fell in love with having a healthy lifestyle: I’m always looking for new recipes or for healthy bakeries, and I’m constantly doing research”.
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Agustina started implementing better nutrition to fulfill what she thinks are the three essentials of well-being: “You have to sleep well, you have to go out to work out, and you have to eat well. That’s it”. A balance of those three things allows the perfect flow of creativity and professional growth.
This same positive spirit is what Alma Ventures looks for in its candidates and the core of Agustina’s HR strategy.
And then there was Alma
“What I love about Alma is its fast-paced and dynamic environment. Everything is so fast and has a lot of potential”. Agustina also found Alma Ventures during the pandemic. She came into the company to run the human resources department, where she has been able to put into practice her experience as an analyst, recruiter and entrepreneur. “The pace at which we are growing is exponential, every week we have newcomers, it’s huge”.
“A fast-paced environment pushes you to reach for more. To achieve that which you have always been looking for”.
This snappy rhythm makes everyone at Alma feel challenged and motivated. According to Agus, this not only means internal growth for the company, but also reflects on the communities in which it operates. “Helping the community and finding a home for families in these neighborhoods is intrinsic to Alma. We work in an industry that has a very direct impact on people, and you can truly change their lives”.
Since an international team runs Alma Ventures almost 100% remotely, Agustina knows that she can find the right employees —whom she affectionately calls “rockstars”— no matter where they are.
So… what’s an Alma rockstar like?
In order to make everything work remotely, Agustina’s strategy is centered on a very specific kind of candidate. “A fast-learner, someone full of enthusiasm that really wants to succeed. Someone with good energy, optimism, that loves to work, help, and interact within a team”, Agustina asserts.
Another key element for the Alma recruit is adaptability. Regardless of their nationality, age, or cultural background, newcomers should be ready for the sometimes unpredictable demands of a real estate start-up.
Could we sum it up in three words? Flexible, adaptable, and dynamic: three positive aspects that define Agustina herself.
“Culture begins with people, and it’s ever-changing”.
Once the talent is recruited, Agustina has two key areas to tackle. First, the onboarding process has to spark a connection between the individual and the company values. “Everything is thought out so that our recruit knows who we are. They first go through HR to learn the company values and our organizational chart”.
After that, they meet with their own team and have very casual cross-meetings with other teams, so they have a chance to know everybody. “The purpose is to get to know our people, to chat and interact with them, so the next time you need anything, you know exactly who to look for, and hopefully you already have a little connection with them”.
The last series of meetings is with the directors, investors and the CEO. The new employee can ask them anything and start building a personal link between his or her own individual goals and values, and the company’s.
The glue that holds us together
The second thing Agustina has to ensure is that company culture remains strong, despite virtuality and distance. This means, for example, listening to employee’s ideas and needs to come up with smart benefits (like unlimited time off and vacations).
Also, having a fresh set of team-building activities to keep everyone engaged and happy. “That’s why we have Friday Flight Nights, Coffee Time with Travis, or special activities like the one we did on International Women’s Day”.
As Agustina puts it, culture is the glue that holds Alma together. “Contrary to what many others may say, culture begins with people, and it’s ever-changing”. Human connection is both starting point and endgame for many cool projects to come for Agus and Alma. The real estate company will soon have dedicated spaces for both professional training and artistic, musical, or culinary exchanges.
“I have so many things on the drawing board. Everything’s coming together, so I get kind of passionate about it”, she concludes. “I love what I do. All of this may sound like I’m a total workaholic, but it’s just that I really like my job. Like, a lot”.