The AlphaCredit case features Augusto Álvarez and José Luis Orozco, founders and co-CEOs of AlphaCredit, a rapidly growing financial services company in Mexico City. Using two primary vignettes, the case highlights three challenges faced by Álvarez and Orozco as they grew the company: 1) Onboarding key hires in a small company; 2) Terminating key employees; 3) Communicating significant company events to employees. Each of these challenges is connected to the broader issues of company culture and personal brand.
The first vignette addresses common hiring concerns once a new hire has joined the firm. The protagonists have hired a new chief operating officer (COO), and are faced with deciding how best to “onboard” a new person within a company that has a distinct culture. They realize the COO has violated certain cultural norms, and these actions need to be addressed. The case leaves the reader to decide whether to retain the COO or terminate him, and determine what type of severance would be appropriate. The severance issue could be viewed as a distinct economic/legal question, but the case weaves in the issues of company brand and culture as well.
The second vignette is broken into two pieces, both relating to a cell phone allegedly stolen within AlphaCredit. The first section focuses on what to say to the group of affected employees. Points to be considered include: what form should that conversation take; where should it take place; who should attend the meeting; will questions be taken, etc. As with the first vignette, the issue of culture and brand is forefront. The second section focuses on how to handle a well-meaning HR manager who has made a serious error that undermines the company values, as well as her own effectiveness. The stakes are high as Álvarez and Orozco decide her fate.