HR Superstars
HR Superstars

Episode 11 · 1 year ago

Compassion, Empathy, & Resilience: The Keys To Organizational Health At BlueVine


Historically, organizations have operated with an overly simplistic view of what motivates people.

They had little understanding of how important belonging is, how to build esteem, or how important it is to be sensitive to individual needs.

But if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we must be human first.

We talked with Gianna Driver, Chief People Officer at BlueVine, about leading with compassion, empathy, and understanding.

We also talked about:

- What 2020 taught us about empathy and how to lean in to those lessons.

- How to keep human first values top of mind as we go back to “the new normal.”

- How to operationalize individual needs at scale.

- What ingredients a culture needs to help its employees realize their potential.

- How to train and practice core competencies like resilience.

For the entire interview, subscribe to HR Superstars on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

Being a successful leader entails empowering others with the tools to really understand themselves, so that then they can become self actualized. My job is to not self actualize people, it's to enable them to do that. Yes, Sulls, you're listening to HR superstars, a podcast from fifteen five that highlights stories from the front lines of HR and people offs. Each episode will showcase fascinating conversations with leaders offering their unique experiences and advice for building an extraordinary company and culture. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to another episode of HR superstars. I'm Shane Metcalf and I'm here with my cohost David Hassell. Today we're really excited to have JANA driver join us. Johanna is the chief people officer of Blue Vine, of FINTECH company empowering small businesses with innovative banking and financing solutions. She has a passion for helping organizations scale by creating diverse ecosystems that enable employees to unlock their full potential, something we are obsessed with here at fifteen five, responsible for leading global human capital strategies. Johanna brings over fifteen years of executive management experience and small, large, private and public companies. Welcome to the show, Jianna, by Shane and David. It's great to be here. Yeah, it's so great to have you. You know, one of the things I'm always curious to understand, like why people choose a certain career path and then, of course, at your level, you know, at a high level, being responsible for such a such an extraordinary culture and a large company. How did you get to where you are today in that regard, and what were some of the formative experiences in your life that you feel like may have steered you in the direction of being a people leader? Yeah, well, I didn't grow up envisiting a career in people operations or HR. I actually don't know many people who do. And Yeah, my story, my story begins with my mother. Actually, she immigrated to the US as a maleloader bride from the streets of Manila in the Philippines and through various twist and turns, we ended up in a women shelter and that's where I spend so fair bit of my childhood, and what I didn't realize at the time was that these experiences were really the birthplace of a love for people in the human experience and an ability to truly be empathetic and relate to people from all different walks and places. That's amazing and it's funny because actually just reading read hastings new book, no rules, rules, and he was mentioning in there that when he was running peer software, he had a people leader came in who was really empathetically oriented and human oriented and he, you know, had engineering mind and just couldn't quite understand what the heck she was talking about. And it's so funny. Now, the world we're in right now, it especially with Covid, I imagine that that level of empathy and human connection is what's needed not just from people in your position, in our position, but I think throughout our organizations. Now, can you share more about that? Yeah, and I'm curious, like how how have you seen, you know, the effects of Covid on your organization and where that empathy has been required and how you personally have guided the the organization to lean into that? Sure. Well, let me make a few connections between growing up where I did and then getting to yes great and then then hath yet it Tanto that as well. You know, I started my career in various startups here in the bay area and when you're in a small company you do a little bit of everything, so you're a bit of a generalist. And even today I think of myself as as a businessperson first and foremost, and I happen to do HR and people operations. I don't think of myself, is it, as a people person. We are at like an NHR person, stereotypic, litle h our percent and what I started to realize early on in... career was that I naturally gravitated toward the roles in the organization, that we're very people centric, so things like creating mentorship programs, reward programs, incentive programs, being really mindful and strategic around how we promote talent, how we recruit and attract talent, how we help people move on from the organization and how do we do that really kind and empathetic and thoughtful way? In fact, you think you can learn a lot about an organization based upon how they treat people on their way out. I'd love to just I've in a little bit more, you know. I mean I think of you know, I used to say this thing like I don't trust somebody who hasn't had their heartbroken. And you know, like you know, I don't know, we probably all have those friends who have never really had their heartbroken and then maybe they get dumped one day and it's devastation, you know, and it's such a painful experience. But you know, part of why I said that is is that I think that the suffering we go through in life is part of how we actually grow and cultivate compassion for other people, because it is really knowing, knowing and working with our own pain and our own suffering that allows us to, you know, actually have space for other people's pain and suffering. And you know, does that, does that resonate with you? Like, is that part of your journey of the experience of being in a woman's shelter and both seeing other people and you know, you because that's not but probably not something that most tech professionals have gone through in their life? Yes, a hundred percent. What I started to realize from from this early formative years through to wharton and beyond. And you know it wouldn't I had the opportunity to study amongst some of the world's brightest, most accomplished privileged families, and what are started to realize is that it doesn't matter if you are the prints from you know, XYZ country, or the daughter of a president or whatnot, or if you are the the child of an immigrant single mother who grew up in a shelter. At our core we are all humans. Now, we know have difference beliefs and we look different, we have different cultures, etc. But the common thread is that we are all people. We have basic human desires and needs for belonging, for feeling like we're part of something greater than ourselves, and I think you're exactly right. Shame, that ability to relate to others, to have empathy and compassion and to understand that we are much more similar than different, I think, is that the core of being a truly thought provoking people. Operations, professional, you know, covid are, I think, really accelerated that way because we're all in the same boat. We all struggling and I think if we could chart empathy levels and organizations and companies that starting to say, Oh wow, the internal states of our people matter and mental health and wellbeing is important. How do you think we as we return, and you know you are and you're talking about your first business trip you die in a year and the kind of awkward transition back into crowded airport and social interactions and you know. So as we transition back back into us, you know, the nude normal and kind of a weird normal. But how do we keep the gains and empathy and kind of human first value that have come to the surface as we go back into the office? So a few things. Number One, I think the channels of communication between an organization and its leadership and all of the employees are essential. So whether that's through regular pull surveys or various internal mechanisms for communication, that... mission critical to making sure we understand the needs of our employees that were meeting those needs and then the feedback loop of well, how are we, how are we doing that? What I would also say is really important as we make this transition going back into whatever the new normal is going to be, is to remember that if two thousand and twenty and Covid has taught us sending thing, it's that we must be human first and also welcoming of everyone's different preferences. So right for one person may be very, very different than what's right for another person. If someone has pre existing conditions, or maybe they themselves are very healthy but they live in a multigenerational home where there are other at risk people. All of these things have to be taken into consideration and we, as a John Professionals, have to help our organizations be adaptive and inclusive and create systems and program APPs that are not one size fits all, but they are very much individualized person to person. Yeah, that's lead opposite of tailorism, you know, management of the you know, just get the mold and keep stamping them out and everybody does the same job the same way. It's it's exactly opposite of that approach and I think the organization is in the future that succeed are going to be those organizations that do have that human center to approach, the organizations that really understand we must create an environment that allows for psychological safety, that allows for people to truly be themselves and bring their whole self to work. It's those organizations that are going to be able to attract, retain and develop key talent. Yeah, I mean you could basically be one of our one, a fifteen, five employee and we are so philosophically aligned around all those things. I'm curious a couple of things. You know, to going back to what you said, Shane, around the tailorism. You know, I feel like we have operated historically as organizations with an overly simplistic view of what motivates people and, you know, carrot and stick management, you might call it, right, if the one size fits all external motivators and not really tapping into people's intrinsic motivation, understanding how important belonging is, understanding how important esteem is, understanding how it's important it is to have the to be sensitive to each of the the the kind of the different needs of individuals. How do you do boat? Two things. One is, how do you operationalize that at scale? Because at the outset it's what we need right. You want to want to be able to take care of people's individual needs, but as the company grows larger and larger, things have to have process right and you have to be able to scale systems and so I imagine for some people listening that might sound daunting. So what are some of the things that you've thought about in terms of like how to actually operationalize that? Hm, I think it starts by the company first having a sense for its own mission and vision and getting really clear about that. What sets you apart from other organizations? Why? Why do people come and continue? Well, why people come and work for you, and then why people continue to stay with you? One of the things that I've done in a couple organizations are called stay interviews. It so, in other words, people the company for you know, a number of years, sitting them down and understanding will why are you still here? Your top talent? It's wonderful to have you here, but what keeps you here? And then also starting to really amplify that evp, the employer value proposition, and being really clear around here's who we are, here's what we stand for. But now, within that very broad umbrella, there is space and room to be who you are. That's one of the things that Blue Vine that I that I love so much is we pride ourselves and being a very diverse, inclusive workplace and...

...belonging is about being able to be who you are and know that that's accepted. And again we go back to having various mechanisms for communication with one another, with upper management, with you know, those who might be you know we're putting into you. I think that is absolutely important as we create these environments that allow us to evolve. I think also understanding that this isn't a static thing, it's not once and done. Who we are today should be very fundamentally different than who we are five years from now, because we're going to resolve our environments are world is all changing. I really love that. One of my favorite quotes as if you are not amazed by how naive you were yesterday, you're standing still and actually the second part is if you're not terrified of the next step, your eyes are closed. And if you're if you're standing still and your eyes are closed and you're only dreaming, that you're awake a caged bird and an open sky. And I love that because you know, we do. We hope, we are lucky if in five years we are a different version of ourselves, but I think that it's also not a given and that we're going to realize our potential. So we I'm curious, you know, in your bio you talked about helping unlock people's potential, and so can you, can you speak to what are some of the ingredients that are necessary in a culture for it to be a transformative experience for people, for them to come in and one version of themselves and thanks to their culture and the peers and the environment, the management styles, the leadership philosophy they they do actually realize more of their potential, not only as a professional but also as a human being. So several things. Number One, I think it starts with creating tools, having tools that allow employees to really start to understand who they are, helping them on earth their meaning. What is it that that that motivates them? What are their passions? When do they feel most alive? And then, I think, after that, allowing for internal mobility within the organization to try new things, to to fail, to learn from those experiences and then to say okay now, now, maybe I want to go from this part of the organ move into another, another part of the organization. Ultimately, one of the things I have learned is very similar to parenting. Being a successful leader entails empowering others with the tools to really understand themselves so that then they can become self actualize. My job is to not self actualize people, it's to enable them to do that. Yes, sells and and I think that's part of the magic that we have to bring into organizations is helping them do that. You know, it's really fascinating for me to realize. We've been talking about this concept of best self management for a few years and it's really this idea that, rather than managing for performance, if you manage for best self, if you manage for, you know, creating the environment that allows people to realize their own potential. Right, you're not going to realize it for them, but there are certain human needs that you need to take care of. People need a sense of psychological safety, they need a sense of belonging, they need the right tools to do that. Introspection exactly what you said, and it feels like there are I don't know what it is, it's like a phenomenon. There are people and companies simultaneously coming to the same conclusion. And this, this, I would say, is really kind of the cutting edge of what's happening and in business culture today, and that, you know, business culture and humanity were a little bit of this chrysalis phase between the old way of doing things and the new way of doing things, and we're having to reinvent the systems and curious. How do you think about the realm of performance management, which might include things like performance reviews might include. Manager Practices might include. You know,...

...historically we used to rate people and put them on a on a bell curve and you know, if you've follow the GE model, cut the bottom ten percent, which is really great for psychological safety. What are you guys doing there? What are you guys doing differently now in taking some of those attributes from the past, because they're important right, because you need to be able to assess people but also have them be a tool for for furthering people is potential and creating an environment for people to be actualized. To me, one of the things that I feel is very important for organizations to embrace is feedback culture and one of continuous learning. So performance reviews and performance conversations shouldn't happen just once or twice a year and I think when when organizations are healthy and managers are being really thoughtful about developing talent and people, these are conversations that are naturally woven into the course of regular check INS and these don't have to be huge, heavy lift types of conversations. I know many of us in the old days during performance review time, would grown internally because it's like, oh my goodness, there's all of this work. Now that has to be done. Where the giving, you know, feedback and trying to remember, okay, wait, what happens six months ago, and let me remember, you know, like what all of those details and stuff that. I mean, it's not timely. It's just not it's also not effective. And so I yeah, part of part of evolving and moving into that the next era, I think, is having these continuous checkens. We have several internal tools that allow for that. Technology has just been so wonderful in this regard. And what also happens is I think employees are more receptive when they're getting little chunks consistently a feedback as opposed to like, you know, a big bag of feedback once or twice a year. It's a lot more effective when you have the you know, the drip irrigation feedback systems. Yeah, well, I think it's more natural way of being in relationship. Right. You know that the annual performance review is a very artificial construct that isn't actually relational. And so continuous, continuous feedback, being in constant dialog what is working, what isn't working, and having just more truth in our conversation, in our dialog, is actually how we're wired to thrive and grow in relationship. Yeah, and I think in power in your organization to be vulnerable, to really lean into those hard conversations and we as managers, and you know, it's not just about giving one way feedback. It really is about creating a forum and place where it's a conversation and we are also on a learning path and a development journey. I think those organizations that start to really embrace that we're going to set themselves apart in the future. Yeah, how do you how do you bring this to light? What are the rituals, what are the traditions you have inside of the company that allow this to actually be practiced and live? I think I can talk about this for no less than three or four days. So, person one of the things that we have done recently is we've rolled out an ecosystem and framework throughout the Organization of levels and, you know, functions and competencies and part of that, you might be saying, well, yeah, like that's kind of a you know, old school way, when we kind have taken a slightly new twist to it where, yes, there is there is that framework in rubric, but at the same time, what we have done is we're having conversations to educate our managers and leaders so that they can then how these conversations around not just job specific competencies, but also around leadership shadow. What is your legacy? What is the impact that you're having? Who are the other people you're bringing along on this journey? And so then what we're starting to see is these leaders are...

...engaging in really thought provoking conversations with their teams and their direct reports and they're starting to really have conversations around how am I, how am I being a more resilience employee? How? So, I mean not your typical career having your development types of conversations. That really getting to empathy. Resiliency of two thousand and twenty taught a sunny thing. It was the ability to be resilience and adaptive is going to be absolutely critical. And said moving past this pandemic. Yeah, and I mean I don't think that the world is moving towards more stability. You know, as the rate of change occur increases and work in the T S and all these exponential trends are converging, it's like, yeah, we were not even when the pandemics over. It's not like the world isn't going to continue changing before our eyes. So, like, what what is that look like internally? What are you doing? What are the conversations you're having around resilience to to help people think if resilience was a competency, how are you training resilience into your people? Well, it's actually starting during the recruiting process. So teams are recruiting teams as part of the interview process, when they're screening talents, at the very very you know, first and second conversations, they're starting to ask questions around resiliency, around agility, around and, you know, a growth mindset, to quote caroled wagon and the wonderful look that she's done there. And so then what we're finding is when you when you start this process before day one of employment, what happens then is this natural progression of that's part of the employee experience. And then, concurrent to that, we also have leadership modules internally so that we're educating our managers and leaders and how to have these psychologically save vulnerable conversations regularly during these continuous check ins with their employees and they're asking some of the hard questions. What we've been able to do is through technology. We use a tool called lattice to power a lot of this. We're able to preload some of these questions into the weekly one on ones and weekly updates that happen through the system between managers and employees. So we're pre populating the system. was some of these questions that that really start to open these beautiful cans of worms that are sparkings and some really great dialogs. Yeah, it's amazing, the the power of questions right, you know, because because a question from really divert attention anywhere you want it and it really require self reflection from the person being asked exactly a hundred percent. And then I again, I think that also our managers and leaders, and it starts with, you know, our sea level team. All of us are really mindful and we hold ourselves accountable to live out these these values and practices as well. Like this isn't something where we want to just enable other people and tell them what to do. We are also having these conversations and saying, how can I show up and be better and be more authentic? How can I show up in a way that makes you feel more included and and welcome? And similarly, when one of us is on the end of perhaps not feeling as heard or as seen as we might want to. We do have the sort of environment in space where we can virtually speaking now, to have someone on the shoulder and say can we can we have that conversation again, because I wasn't really feeling like my voice was as amplified or heard as I would liked. And that ability to be vulnerable. What we're realizing is that others in the organization are watching and learning and mimicking that and really beautiful ways. We call this cultivate. Relational mastery is one of our core values fifteen five, and one of my favorite tools in my relational tool kid as a Redo. You know, like and...

I usually use this in my personal life with my marriage, but I brought it into work more and more lately, where if there's a breakdown with somebody, and maybe there's there's some of the trigger and there's some of the conflict that we, you know, start to move towards resolution but it's not quite there, and then saying hey, can we do a Redo? Yes, and I'm basically going back to the moment where it actually happened, where the breakdown was, and just thinking what we've now learned about the other person's perspective and where we maybe weren't being conscious, and then just Redo it and reenact the scenario. It's a one of like more the more magical tricks I have to actually get to the emotional route of resolving a conflict, and I like to call that stop, rewind and press play again and maybe go yeah, metaphor that I that I say is that didn't feel good for me and I'm guessing that probably didn't feel good for you. So let's stop, let's rewind and then let's play this out again. And what's what would be different now? And what I find is it that allows all the all the parties, but there that's two people or three people are whatnot to feel heard and to feel validated and affirmed, because then we have it's almost that we're rewriting that story and we have a different altcome and we all feel all much more connected and heard, and just that, like these are the experiences that do start to build that organizational resiliency so that then you've got that foundation to whether some of these crazy storms that we're all going through. What do you most excited about in in you know, this being the spring of two thousand and twenty one and we are in this kind of awkward transition. But what do you what's on your radar that you're excited about for this coming year that you think is, you know, not necessarily just recovering from last year, because I think we all probably need a bit of recovery and emotional renewal, but what do you see as on the cutting edge of what's emerging inside of the whole world of people operations? Multiple things. The first thing that comes to mind that I'm so very excited about is we, as leaders and organizations, understand that our responsibility isn't just to care for employees while they're working for us nine to twenty five, eight to seven, or whatever those hours are. What we learned during this really difficult time and year is we have a responsibility to honor the whole human and so what that means and what that looks like in practice is offering resources for mental health. That's here to stay. That's not just something that we're going to offer in two thousand and twenty one, that's something that we're going to offer henceforth and moving forward. Offering financial literacy classes, so that many of us who may not have grown up in homes where financial literacy and owning a home and understanding the difference between a Rath and, you know, all the different sorts of mechanisms were building. Well, these sorts of things, I think, are going to become norms and table stakes at any organization, these types of benefits having, yes, like your eap sort of program but having much more than just that. It's not just about having these resources for people who are in distress and the difficult situations. It's about keeping people healthy. It's about year again a mental, emotional, financial, spiritual, all of those things. That's exciting. I also think organizations and leaders are starting to realize more than ever before what helped us get through two thousand and twenty were the HR leaders, because we were the ones who are the pointy end of the sphere, working with our people who were going through not only a pandemic, we were also transitioning to sheltering in place, working from home, we were going through political unrest, racial injustices. I...

...mean, two thousand and twenty was just a horrific year. What got organizations through that year were the people on this podcast that people listening. Were the it was the CHR rose, the HR manager, is the HRBP's out there helping employees and helping organizations help employees get through this. I think CEOS and leaders are realizing, wow, you all do a lot more than just hire, fire and performance manage. And Yeah, there's a true strategic part of this that we want and we want more of. And the last thing that I would add to that is I am excited about all the tools and technology that's coming about that allows us to have more of an analytical, databased approach to the value that we're creating an organizations. These are things that the sales teams and engineering teams and other teams have had for quite some time, but our function has never had it in the same way that we're starting to see these tools come about and that's very exciting. And I would add that part of what what is so exciting about the getting the data and being able to have more data informed decisions around people and supporting the whole person is that I think that the people creating technology are starting to wake up to the shadow of technology, that it's really easy. Yeah, sure, we can create leverage scalable technology, but if it just gets people addicted and they fall into the hole and there can be enormous costs of that. And so how do we start to integrate the the principles of positive psychology and humanistic psychology and, you know, maslow's Maslow's work on self actualization, and bring those into the technology we're actually building, so that by using these tools we actually benefit versus, you know, become more isolated and disc connected from each other? Absolutely, absolutely into that. And then then we have are one of our director, our director of people science here here fifteen five coined the term positive product design, which was a product design methodology that was really I don't know if you've seen the social dilemma documentary about some of the downsides of negative tech and and really technology that's advertising driven, that's really designed to keep us engaged, probably at our own expense, and in really counteracting that and saying can we, says Shane said, can we bring in positive psychology? Can we create technology that, through its use, uplifts and helps people thrive? And so I think that that's also a thing that I'm seeing more and more in in some silicon valley tech as well, which is exciting, very much so I'm curious what do you think are some of the potential pitfalls for us to start thinking about avaiting as we're transitioning back into hybrid models, you know, as some people are going into the office but some people aren't right and there is more of that individualization and more choice. But what are some of the things that you're looking out on the horizon and saying, Oh, we've got to be careful because that could get us into trouble. So it's not a one size fits all approach. It's not formulating, I think understanding that there's a lot we don't know and we need to make sure that, in whatever we choose, that we maintain that Flix ability to evolve an adapt as we've returned to the office. I think it's going to be super important and I think it's okay to communicate that to employees and to position it as this is what we are going to to do initially, but we want your feedback, we want to engage in dialog, in conversation, because this could change, and say that's kind of number one. Number two is, as we transition back to in office hybrid types of environments, I think being kind to our employees and understanding that there is a lot of anxiety that that goes with returning back into an in person environment. Also understanding that when we return, we're not returning... the old norn. We're going to be returning into an environment that has people coming and going and and I think it'll be rare that we have meetings where everyone is in person. There will probably always all, almost always be some folks who are dialing in remotely. Well, how do we be inclusive and mindful to consciously include those people in the dialog? How do we make sure we're having the real conversation during the meeting and not the conversations that happen after the meeting? How do we maintain symmetry of information? And you know, often there's there's kind of proximity bias and those who are closest to us there is an unconscious bias sometimes. So I think holding ourselves accountable to these things is going to be important as we transition back into the the hybrid environment. I think very few companies are going back to in person five days a week. Nine, two, five. Right. Yeah, those are all, I think, all the right questions to be asking and we're we're hearing very similar from other from other people leaders have there. Are there any specifics, practices or things that you're already trying to implement in that regard to kind of to make sure the loving level, there's a level playing field between the people who are in person versus remote? What we're trying to do is leverage technology. Went through some in other words just making sure that those who aren't physically in an office for always able to join, whether it's in the phone booth, conference rooms, of cafes, all of that kind of stuff throughout one of the other things specific to our company that we've been able to experiment with is we have a large portion of our employee base that's in Tel Aviv in Israel. Oh well, Israel has done a pretty amazing job of rolling out the vaccine and because almost all of our employees in our Televiv office have received one, if not both, shots of the Israel is using primarily the fiser vaccine. What what we're experimenting with is returning to the office. They're a little bit earlier than in the US. And Number One, what we're realizing is a slow migration and transition bath. Is Key and critical because the things that we didn't think about before, like childcare, since, you know, all of that is not as it was. We need to make sure that we're providing options for for parents. We need to make sure that we're really mindful about contact tracing, because now that people are coming back into the office for those who may contract the virus, how are we going about the responsibilities we have to make sure everyone is safe? Now when the US, we need to be mindful that their privacy laws and things that we need to be mindful about. So we can't ask people in the same ways that you might be able to in other countries whether or not they've been vaccinated. How do we treat people equally and fairly? And so what we're trying to do is create a little bit more physical distance in space between the death so that people aren't sitting quite as close to one another. But there's there's there's a lot of unanswered questions. There too. We're kind of, I like to say we're stumbling forward in that because we don't write the answers. Yeah, yeah, amazing. How you know, covid really is revealed just how interconnected everything really is. You know that's not like Oh yeah, because I think we used to think, oh well, work is work and life is life, and now you're suddenly realizing like, oh, we can go back to the office, but childcare is in back up and we do anticipate that. We need to actually factor in so many more part to the equation than we ever have before, which is, I think, part of why their role of being achieve people, officer leading people inside of organizations is it's both been accelerated and elevated through a more strategic position, but it's also infinitely more complete lex than I've ever been in any any period in modern history. So it's, you know, it's I think it's it's such an amazing time to be...

...learning so many new skill sets and be, you know, taking a broader view of how systems all interact together. I think to I mean in the old days we had many companies would do these wellness campaigns and have trucks common do flu shots and stuff like that. We're talking about how do we include covid shots in that? Rightly, do return to the office, because that's something with with flu shots. We want to give our employees the ability to have a COVID VAC scene if they would so like. So we're looking at all of these sorts of new things that we never imagined we would be thinking about as we transitioned back to an in person environment. That's great. How are you supporting your managers, like, what do you what does it look like for increasing the effectiveness of your managers and how do you think about that in your role? So we have a number of managers who were first time managers and leaders and we also have managers who've been managing for quite some time, and what we're realizing is it doesn't matter if you've been managing for a long time or if you're new to management. We're all new to this situation and one of the things that that we've spent a lot of time and conscious thought talking about out and working on is how do we maintain culture as we're going into this more hybrid, hybrid model and roll and everyone contributes to culture. H Our people, teams, I think, are often the torch bearers of culture, but we all contribute to it and managers are often the front lines of that because they're holding that for their teams. And so we've put a lot of focus on virtual types of events. So not everything is in person other maybe in person components to it for those who are comfortable. But as an example, we've had a mixologist come and do these sorts of things where we're, you know, together, but we're separates and distance. We're doing our first volunteer week in April where we are having some of this in person distance and mass and safe, but we're also having some events that are virtual, so reading to children and stuff like that. We're working with our managers on creating inclusive workspaces where we don't accidentally shame people based upon their preferences in this remote environments, because we don't know the the burden as they carry. We don't know what's, you know, in their in their homes, we don't know their personal situations, and so working with managers to increase that Eq and that ability to create ways of working with one another where we're not judgmental. It's okay to be who you are and to make modifications if you need to. That's something that has been a bit of a work in progress for us. How do you find the balance of creating a distinct culture that has strong opinions and is clear of who the culture is for and who the culture isn't for while also allowing space for people to be their authentic selves. You know, that does that makes sense, like you know, in in the thriving of the conversation of diversity, equity and inclusion and saying, yes, we want to actually treat people with respect, we want to pay people based on logic, not, you know, privilege. And and yet also we don't want to say, Hey, we're a culture for every single person, because that's just not going to be a recipe for a distinct culture because, you know, humans are so varied and we have the full spectrum of humanity. Isn't all going to fit inside of a single company. So how do how do you find that balance of having an opinion, taking a stand on the values, but allowing spaith for people to be there up and so...

I go back to where it begins, and for us it begins during their recruitment process. So one of the things that we were very intentional to do in two thousand and twenty was, I give you a small here, we change our interview process and the various things that we assess people on look for. We change the wording from culture fit to culture ad because we don't want people who are going to necessarily just fit into our existing culture, because we don't want clones, copies of who we are today. We want culture at culture add that. So it's a culture fit, it's culture add but you bring up a really good point because while we want to be inclusive and have all of these new voices as part of the conversations, we also need to have some direction, in some sense of self, because you can't be things to all people all the time because you end up achieving nothing and it's just chaos. Right and so that starts also by having clarity on what you stand for. So going back to the company values, and I think we as people leaders, create these these overarching frameworks and umbrellas and then we allow people to understand here is who we are, here is what it's like to work in this organization. And during the interview process, even the recruiting process, candidates can self select out if that's not something that that speaks to them. If they don't feel yes, be their authentic self at at our company, that's okay. That just means this might not be mutually like what we're reach looking for. So I think a lot of this begins during that initial courtship phase of the relationship, because that's where you you're kind of getting to know one another and people can start to self select out if it's not quite feeling like it's a place where they can really be themselves. How do you make the like because it's easy in an interview, you know, for people are kind of say what you know they think you want to hear. And so do you have any process to make it really clear this is, this is who were for and this is who are not for, so that there's less ambiguity? So, prior to Covid, we were working on some more non traditional types of interview practices, so things like not just sitting across a person and a conference from asking them questions, but going for WOBS, going for a run together, playing tent like, doing these things outside of the office to really get to know who a person is. Now, obviously, covid has thrown a little bit of a curveball into, you know, into all of that, and so what we're trying to do now is ask questions that are more behavioral and more competency based than, you know, your traditional sort of questions, and also getting at the heart of how someone processes, how someone thinks, what really motivates them? What are there? What are their drives? When are they most alive? What types of environments do they find they really thrive in? These sorts of questions are helping US ascertain whether or not they're the sort of boaks that would be happy here, and and also additive. It's really great. Yeah, actually, when we introduce new employees of fifteen five, one of the questions we ask is when do you feel most alive, and we have people present on on that and a little story about their grandparents and whatnot. So it's really sweet way to get to know somebody right and because I think that's it's such a beautiful question. You know what makes you come alive and and is this the place that's going to make you come alive? Active tissues so that, yes, you're looking at your colleagues not as just workers who happen to work for the same organization as you, but these people, these whole humans that have families and interests in passions...

...and lives and things outside of work that they bring to work because that's part of who they are. That's why. Yeah, questions. Yeah, that's a great group called humans, not resources. Yes, yes, absolutely. We are humans first. Yeah, I was curious. You know, like when we're in the office right we have an opportunity to build that connective tissue, almost just biosmosis, you know, people get together, they meet in the hallway, they go out to lunch, but this last year we haven't had that opportunity. Everything's, you know, hyper scheduled. We have very focused meetings and whatnot. Have you guys figured out a way to to kind of like recreate some of that cultural serendipity, the you know, the the connective tissue, the inner personal that's not just, you know, business oriented. Or there are their practice just as that you've put in place to allow people to have that personal connection we have. I'll share some of those. We're also continually learning and iterating on this. So we ask our who's for their thoughts, their feedback. Some of the things that we've done and our employees have been very, very happy and embraced are things like guided meditation, and these are things where it's done in a remote and, you know, through through zoom or another system, and you're able to get in your own space and go through what you might go through in person. We've done we've done yoga classes, we've done cooking classes. We do a lot of games, so that could be games, funny games, name that to like picture. Are All sorts of different things like that, and it's just a time to be silly and goofy and remember that childlike joy that resides in all of us. And then what we end up finding is when we go back into meetings where it's tactical and operational focus, we actually draw up on some of those interactions and connections, and so you see people making these really fun inside jokes about someone's favorite hot sauce or, you know, whatever these sorts of things are, and that's just really fun and it's a good reminder that we like to have fun. We're humans. Were joyful people, and we need to be able to bring that into work and have that embraced. Yeah, it's amazing that. You know, we're naturally for that, right. That's what we naturally do with our friends and our community. It's a WHO had the good idea of like rip out the thing that makes us human and then go to work and be professional. You know, it's just a totally backwards approach. Yeah, well, Jana, thank you so much for joining us what an inspiring conversation. If people want to few and and hear more of your thoughts work, they find you. So you can follow me on Linkedin. Gianna driver on linkedin would probably be the best place. They're also welcome to Emov directly right well. Thank you so much for joining us on HR superstars. Thanks, Joanna. Fifteen five is the only evidence based people and performance platform for highly engaged and high performing organizations. Strategic HR leaders in all industries use the platform to win by improving communication, up leveling their managers and increasing company wide engagement. Learn more at Fifteen Fivecom you've been listening to HR superstars stories from the front lines of HR and people ops. Be Sure you never miss an episode by subscribing on your favorite podcast player. If you're listening on Apple PODCASTS, you'd love for you to leave a thoughtful review or give a quick rating by tapping the stars. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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