Romy von Roeder: “A company can only fulfil its goals if it gives people the chance to grow”
TIER Mobility, Europe’s largest electric scooter company, has grown at lightning speed since its inception in 2018. It has raised over £435 million ($660m) in funding and debt and is one of only three e-scooter brands approved for a pilot in London.
Romy von Roeder, the company's Senior Vice President of People and Organisation knows what it has taken to reach this moment. And she has an idea about how the micro-mobility company can achieve its goal of creating sustainable mobility for future generations.
“I believe that you can best fulfil your strategic goals, if you give people in the organisation the freedom and autonomy to make things happen while enabling and supporting them to continuously grow their capabilities,” says von Roeder.
According to von Roeder, getting the most out of a team is also about investing into inclusivity and diversity and actively supporting mental health. What’s more, it’s about making sure ‘low performers’ are given all the right tools they need for success.
Championing diverse initiatives
“The big opportunity with smaller startups is that they have the opportunity to think about building diversity very early on”, says von Roeder.
When she joined in 2019, TIER only had 300 employees. Now, there are nearly 2,000.
Von Roeder has been championing staff initiatives like Women of Tier, which successfully strives for diversity in the workplace and in the wider mobility industry.
One standout pattern: Men are twice as likely as women to ride an electric scooter, according to a report by Transport Findings.
Hence, von Roeder sponsors team initiatives and training that peddles against these ingrained stereotypes. She says: “Continuous reflection and creating awareness is key to success here.”
However, she would like to see more education - particularly of founders - about diversity and the economic value it creates. Hence, making sure companies consider this huge opportunity right from the start.
High pressure and “positive stress”
Von Roeder does recognise the pressure of high growth startups can be extremely demanding.
“Only if you are at a very specific stress level, can you be at your best performance. If your stress level goes too high, even the best performers see their performance drop off. On the other hand, if your stress levels are low your performance can fall too,” says von Roeder.
Creating an environment where ‘positive stress’ can blossom is always something she wants to maintain in a team. She says: “Managers have to be enabled to drive this optimal performance level in their employees.”
A key part of von Roeder’s role is analysing low performance. But she says it is not a one-way street:
“We have to ask ourselves as an organisation, did we do enough to enable this [low performer] to be successful in their job? Did we give them the necessary tools? Did we give them enough leadership, mentoring or even just the relevant technical skills to get the job done.”
If an organisation cannot meet those requirements, then they need to look inward and help team members who are struggling to get the job done.
“Sometimes people are just not placed in the right role according to their strengths. Finding that out and adjusting accordingly can create a great source of talent in an organisation.”
The In-Focus interview series is a collection of articles commissioned by Atara Partners with some of the world's fastest-moving technology businesses and their leaders.
Find out more about Atara Partners by clicking here