Namely’s Founder Talks HR on the SaaStr Podcast

On the latest episode of the SaaStr podcast, Harry Stebbings sat down with our founder and CEO, Matt Straz. They talked about everything from when companies should make their first HR hire to how to effectively screen for successful employees.


We’ve pulled together a few highlights, and you can listen to the full episode here.


On why HR matters:


“[Through working in mid-sized companies, I realized] HR wasn’t just another department. It was the heart and soul of the company. If you get HR right, you get culture right. It’s an extension of everything good that happens within the company.”


On when companies should hire a senior HR leader:


“As soon as possible...We added a Chief People Officer [Nick Sanchez] six months ago...but I would have had him join when we crossed about 100, 150 people...he’s brought so much to the company and to senior leadership.”


On the ideal relationship between CEO and CPO:


“I didn’t realize what a close partnership it would be...[Nick] and I are fairly inseparable. We probably spend 1-2 days a week together working on virtually everything that has to do with people, talent, and training...I would encourage every founder and CEO to have their head of HR report directly to them, instead of through finance.


On whether CEOs are responsible for company culture:


“Absolutely...I didn’t realize in the early days how important culture was. It was just something that existed, and I thought always would exist. But as you start to scale you can lose your culture very, very quickly...It is absolutely, fundamentally my responsibility, and my job is to work to codify that culture. The difference now is that it’s not just top-down. The culture comes from everyone in this building and in all our buildings.”


To hear more from Matt firsthand, the full episode is available here.