Scaling up from a People’s perspective


Being close, clear and present, with a laser focus on people is key in growth, according to Anna Holmqvist, Chief People Officer at Matsmart, who has worked with HR for more or less her entire career.


“I think it’s the most fun job in the world because I get to work with the potential of the business, as well as the people.”


Anna started her career in small, entrepreneurial startups, to move on in bigger companies like Telenor and H&M, before heading back to the scaleup world when joining Estrid.


“Getting back on this type of journey with more tools in the toolbox is exciting. To build structures and shape building blocks for people, when having more experience, is rewarding.”


Just about a month ago she joined Matsmart as Chief People Officer.

“What attracted me was the combination between growth, the amazing business concept and contributing to a more sustainable future.”

What’s important to keep in mind during intense growth? 


Anna believes that being present and keeping a laser focus on people is key in growth. She rather thinks “I’m a part of this team” instead of leaning on traditional HR with traditional policies and processes.

Who the “user” is


“You could think of it like product development. Keep in mind who the “user” is and who you are doing things for. It’s their feedback that’s valuable and should set the direction forward. I think that’s a really important mindset.”

Locating the core


“Find what’s genuine and important in your team, and dare to be direct about it. You don’t have to attract everyone, it’s better to be clear about what you can offer, which makes the matching in recruitment sharper.”

“It’s so much fun to be in a startup environment but it’s also quite demanding. It’s important to be completely honest and transparent about what stage of the journey you are in and what it requires.”

Prioritizing people onboard


“Growth requires people. Often time and effort goes into recruitment, but it’s important to also give the right conditions and tools to those you take in and already have onboard, to enable delivery and keep them on track.”

“Growth is not only about adding more people, but also to grow with those you already have. Don’t get caught in recruiting, dare to challenge each other internally too, when it comes to roles and responsibilities.”

Scale what’s good


“If you’re going to scale, you want to scale what’s good and what makes you successful, instead of scaling what’s not. It’s important to define what it is in your culture that’s positive, that you want to grow further with.”


How to build positive environments for people in growth?


“I believe in building safety and engagement through clarity. To be clear about expectations, what performance means to you, what tools are available, your paths to decisions and which behaviors that are considered successful.”

“The difficulty often lies in the simple things - it’s about talking and investing time in creating good relations.”'

And remotely?


“Once again, I believe that clarity is key. If everyone knows what their expected contribution is, it’s gonna help trigger the feeling of how to move forward as a unit and reach goals together.”

“And keep exploring to set the rules! What is our common game field? How do we work in different time zones with different languages? Find your recipe for being digital.”


How to create attractive Employer branding?


“More than putting a lot of resources into employer branding, it’s about doing good stuff that you can talk about. Or even talking about stuff that didn’t go very well, but that you at least tried.”

“But don’t underestimate that it’s a competence in itself, and if you don’t have it in your people's team, I believe it’s important to hook arms with someone who has.”


Last but not least: Any personal advice to dream job seekers?


“Don’t get stuck in thinking you have to be in a certain industry, at a certain brand or make a certain amount of money. Define what would make it feel like a dream job.”

“Ask yourself: what do I want the most? Maybe you want to work in growth, in a specific organizational way or with a methodology that suits you? Don’t get locked up.”




Thank you Anna for sharing your thoughts and insights! 💙

Published: Jun 2, 2022