The Perks and Culture section focuses on getting to know different companies and how their benefits and work atmosphere impact the day to day work life, and life in general, of its workers.
To kick off this section of the Teamy blog, we sat down with João Figerinhas Costa, founder and CEO of Humaniaks, a recruitment and training agency born in early 2019. He told us about Humaniaks and how they plan to modernise the recruitment processes. We also discussed the importance of flexibility at work and the future of companies and how their employees work.
João was in charge of the Talent and Acquisition team at Uniplaces, before he decided to launch his own project and get to work with multiple clients instead of just working in-house.
What differentiates Humaniaks from other recruitment agencies is the training part. Joao explains that the “training section comes from a market need, more than from a specific wish or desire. It fits out recruitment business model very well, so that’s something that we will be launching soon.”
1. What is Humaniaks' Mission?
Our official mission is to bring 1M people into the jobs of the future.
This is why, for now, we have two verticals: recruitment and training agency. We recruit people into a kind of more sophisticated jobs or more sophisticated organizations and the education/training part will very much be in the risk killing component. The training will help people transition into careers and jobs that are more advanced in terms of digital or technical skills, what we call skills of the future.
2. What makes Humaniaks different from other similar companies in the market?
We operate in a super lean way so our operations are much more sophisticated. We don’t have a technological product, but we do have a lot of algorithms running to identify clients and to do lead generation for clients.
If you want one commercial or external differentiation, is that most agencies have consultants that have always worked in the consulting field and generally come from a pure psychology background. We [at Humaniaks] operate as former in-house employees, so we have the accountability and understanding of how the recruitment operations work within a company. That’s why we fit really well in existing recruitment teams and that’s an important value to our clients and a differentiation when we pitch our services.
3. What markets are you focusing on in terms of countries?
Our idea was to start and focus only in Portugal. One of our biggest clients is doing an expansion to the Iberian Peninsula and they found us because they wanted some help on Portugal in specific. They were really happy with our work and asked us to help them out in the Spanish market as well. To be honest, it was not something we had in mind, strategically speaking. We accepted because we knew the client, and the roles were kind of in a level of complexity that we were happy to work with. The [Humaniaks] team had already recruited for Spain in our previous experiences so it wasn’t something new.
We went for it, and now we actually have more clients in Spain, not more than in Portugal, but we’re doing an Iberian Peninsula position.
4. Which would you say are the perks of working at Humaniaks?
There’s a few structural perks and there’s a few mindset perks.
The first one, and the most important one for me, is flexibility. I’m super flexible and one of the reasons why I also wanted to start my own company is because of the lifestyle. I’m not the kind of founder who thinks “I want this kind of lifestyle but everyone else who works with me has to have a not so great one”.
We are four people. Myself and two recruiters, who work full time and a business developer, who works part-time because he’s enrolled in a master’s degree. As a team, we decided to establish a 4-day work week, two of the recruiters only work between Tuesday and Friday.
Having this criteria doesn’t interfere with anyone’s life, and it doesn’t intrude with their work either. I think that’s the biggest perk we have as a company.
We also have a book club. I don’t know if this is a perk, or not, but it’s definitely something nice to do. Everyone on the team, and two guests, each read a different book each month, which ends up being 6 books per month between all of us. At the end of the month, we get together and everyone presents the book they have read. With this, we don’t only get to read 12 books a year, but we also practise summarizing skills and public speaking.
5. Remote work, freelance, work from home… How do you picture the future of companies?
I think that the future is “no rule fits one” or “no one rule fits everyone”. There will simply be a better distribution of the types and standards of organizations.
One trend that I see, which is a very cool trend, is what I call the collective of freelancers. It’s basically people who keep operating as freelancers, but they build a shared brand and they operate under that brand.
It’s particularly interesting, because it combines the feeling of belonging to a wider organization, but also gives the flexibility to operate outside of it.
Traditional companies have a legacy and it’s much harder to completely transform them versus starting up with an already existing flexibility or different model. Some companies, like Buffer for example, operate 100% remote and have radical transparency.
I think that the future is “no rule fits one” or “no one rule fits everyone”.
To answer your question, I think that there will be more flexibility with startups just because I do not foresee the capacity, the space and context for very heavy organizations to change so radically in the short-term. Some companies are creating innovation hubs, innovation teams and building a new vertical from scratch, which is different because it’s new. For this reason it can, more or less, operate under different rules that the core organizations.
6. When you talk about flexibility, what do you mean? Is there a rule into “being flexible”?
I think that flexibility is see what team you have. At Humaniaks we are all under 30 and aside from me, everyone is under 25. Their needs are different from my needs, which are actually different from someone who is 32 or 33 and has two kids.
The flexibility factor depends on three pillars: the organization you have, the type of work you do and the team you have, and somewhere in alignment between those three things. Be flexible, but establish your baseline rules and structure to ensure that the flexibility doesn’t interfere with your work. There is no rule, I think that’s the main thing.
My biggest advice to all clients is look at their team and figure out how they can enable their life in a better way.
Be flexible, but establish your baseline rules and structure to ensure that the flexibility doesn’t interfere with your work
7. What is one thing you do at Humaniaks that other companies could adapt?
I think the flexibility is the answer. I don’t think we have radical flexibility, but we do have a lot of flexibility.
I think that my main worry as a manager is that everyone has the right set up for their life to work, not for their work to work. Of course they have a professional role to play, metrics and performance indicators to achieve but I wanna make sure that the set up works for their lives and that their work is not a problem of an obstacle for the lifestyle that they want to have.
My main worry as a manager is that everyone has the right set up for their life to work, not for their work to work.
The way this 4-day week started is because the two recruiters are not from Lisbon, so they go home most weekends. When they do, it’s very nice to realise that you don’t have to go to work the next day, and you can actually spend the Sunday evening with your family at home. We tested if this impacted the speed in which we can actually present results to our clients, and so far what we have understood is that it can impact if we are not careful of specific things. The solution is to put in place practises that avoid us not delivering specific things on time.
I don’t think that companies should, by reading this post, think “we should all move to 4-day work weeks”. I think smaller companies could perhaps think about it, it’s a really cool and beneficial thing, but you can also think about working remote three days a week or working from 7 to 3pm everyday. There’s endless possibilities to being flexible.