Stepping into the Unknown
PROVO, Utah – Sep 28, 2020 – Moving to an unfamiliar place for a new job can be a stressful, intimidating, and lonely experience. Feeling inspired to help others cope with these feelings, Carly MacLennan, a BYU Marriott School of Business 2020 MBA graduate from Lethbridge, Alberta, started her own business, SocialHire, which helps newly relocated employees have an easier social transition.
The idea for SocialHire first came to MacLennan during a meeting with Microsoft executives that she attended while on an MBA human resources trip. “In my first few months of the MBA program, I went to a meeting in which Microsoft employees shared how they had poured millions of dollars into improving their onboarding process,” she says. “They were seeing better retention with their new employees, but they were still losing employees who missed their friends and family or couldn’t get used to living in the Seattle area.”
MacLennan had personally relocated several times for her own jobs and made new friends quickly each time. “I’ve moved to Washington DC and California, and the social transition was surprisingly easy for me,” she says. “I once had a conversation with my coworkers in California about how I’d adjusted to my new circumstances, they were shocked. They asked me a million questions, like ‘How did you find a place to live? How did you find your roommates? How did you make friends?’”
These two conversations sparked the idea for SocialHire. “I paired my experience and my conversation at Microsoft and realized that moving to a new area can be a lonely and difficult transition for most people,” MacLennan says. “I wanted to help employees struggling with these transitions.”
The main goal of SocialHire is to contract with companies to work directly with their relocated employees and connect them with other employees from the company in their area. “At SocialHire, we help employees identify specific things that they are looking for to improve their quality of life where they’ve recently relocated,” MacLennan says. “That can be anything from finding a nearby park where their kids can play to living near people who share their interests and hobbies. After we know what these employees are looking for, we assist them in finding places to live and connect them to other employees with similar interests.”
At first, MacLennan’s biggest challenge was learning how to navigate the world of entrepreneurship. “One of the most difficult hurdles I faced was switching to an entrepreneurial mindset,” MacLennan says. “Starting my own business had been nowhere on my radar, so I had to dive right in. I began by interviewing people to find out if SocialHire was a service their businesses would be interested in utilizing.”
Although she has encountered road bumps along the way, MacLennan finds any progress exhilarating. “When I first started, I felt an enormous amount of motivation and energy,” she says. “My skin would start to buzz, and my heart almost burst because I got so excited about the progress I was making. I love making any bit of small traction.”
Earlier this year, MacLennan entered the New Venture Challenge, hosted by BYU Marriott’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, which recognizes students who have started their own companies. SocialHire was a runner-up in the competition; consequently, MacLennan was invited to participate in this year’s Founders Launchpad. The launchpad is a summerlong training program hosted by the Rollins Center and is designed to help students further develop their companies.
The Founders Launchpad provided MacLennan with several invaluable resources, including mentorship. “My mentor from the launchpad was a perfect pairing for me. I am working with his company right now and gaining a ton of experience in the exact same industry as my company. I'm so grateful for that resource,” she says.
The launchpad also helped MacLennan expand her network. “Networking is so important, especially as an entrepreneur,” she says. “The launchpad gave me great resources and opportunities to talk to people who have successful careers and entrepreneurial experience. I expanded my network greatly through the guest speakers who led our trainings.”
MacLennan looks forward to her future. “I’ve learned that an entrepreneurial journey looks different for everyone,” she says. “For me, I never expected to start this journey, and when I did, I fell in love with my company. I believe wholeheartedly that my vision for the company will one day become reality.”
Media Contact: Chad Little: (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert