Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes is known for having an unique take, especially when it comes to developing new tech talent. Today, Holmes has taken to LinkedIn to announce a new ‘guru’ track within the company, for employees seeking to grow their careers while avoiding management positions.
Here’s how Holmes describes the current gap and Hootsuite’s proposed solution:
“What’s missing, not just in the tech world but across the board, is a dedicated track—complete with titles, incremental pay raises and true upward potential—for exceptional performers who aren’t keen on managing people. These are the experts within an organization who have amassed a unique body of knowledge and who continually push their company to perform better. They may be leaders, but they lead by example, not by mandate. They inspire co-workers around them with their singular contributions rather than through direct instruction.
“Advancement for gurus doesn’t involve assuming responsibility over bigger and bigger teams. Instead, gurus move up in an organization in other ways. They may be awarded the reins of progressively larger projects with bigger budgets, freed from daily responsibilities to work on new problems and product lines, asked to mentor promising new recruits or tapped as thought leaders. Promotions are based not on team performance but on individual impact within an organization and deepening or widening of skill sets. And, most importantly, gurus are in turn rewarded the same way as individuals on the management track—with new job titles, opportunities for training and professional development, enhanced pay and incentive packages and other perks.”
While Hootsuite has already instituted a guru track for engineers, Holmes’ post marks the expansion of the program to include all 700 employees at the social media management company.
Even if it doesn’t succeed as a talent retention tool, the initiative will certainly cement Hootsuite as one of the more forward-thinking tech startups in Canada. Whether or not it destigmatizes the term ‘guru’ is anyone’s guess.