EP 15: Kimberly Hiler, Chief People Officer at Intradiem
James Mackey 0:11
Hi, and welcome to episode 15 of Talent Acquisition Trends and Strategy. Today we're joined by Kim Hiler. Kim, thanks for joining us today.
Kimberly Hiler 0:20
Absolutely. I'm happy to be here.
James Mackey 0:21
We're so happy to have you as well. So, before we jump into it, I know everybody would love to hear a little bit about yourself, your background, and what you're up to right now.
Kimberly Hiler 0:30
Great. So thank you. I am Kim Pilar. I'm the Chief People Officer at Intradiem, we are a technology company based in Atlanta, and we have employees actually all around the United States. And in Canada, in the UK. Now we're about 180 people.
I've been in HR for over 20 years, I started as a project manager at an HR department, and then over the course of a lot of time, then part of some great organizations and have been able to really hone my skills and do what I love to do, which is to be a people office. I am very passionate about putting employees first and making sure that we balance the lives that we all have inside and outside of work.
Joining Intradiem about a year ago, fit in with the things that I believe in for myself and my family, as well as the things that I want to do in my career, as well as helping him get to the next step.
Things that we are right now focused on, we have a two-part strategy. One is to succeed with use cases, which are around our business, in reinventing customer service, in contact centers for our clients, and in making their lives easier. The second part of that is succeeding with people. That is the number one thing that we probably focus on the most, our customers are extremely important to us. But we're not going to be able to be successful with our customers if our people aren't successful. We're a people-first company, and drive most of what we do forward with that part of our strategy.
James Mackey 2:07
Very cool. And just so everybody knows, how does your team deliver the solution? Is it a SaaS product? Is it a services company?
Kimberly Hiler 2:15
SaaS product, It's a product that goes right into the contact center, the agents are the users of the product. It can be anywhere from learning, helping them understand, evaluating the time that they're on the phone, maybe letting them know lunch break starts early, it also could be sending different types of training to them while they're sitting at their desktop, things like that. But definitely, the goal is to win, we say win with use cases. That is the use cases, the technology, and it's about saving our customers money in the long run in the contact centers.
James Mackey 2:51
I love it. I thought it was a SaaS products company. But I wanted to confirm because whenever I'm speaking to leaders of products, and companies that are instilling the people for value and culture, I like to point that out. Because people leading with people and people first initiatives isn't just about doing so if you're a services company, even if you're a tech-forward company, you're a technology company, your products company, at the end of the day, it takes amazing people to build amazing products.
Kimberly Hiler 3:22
Right? Correct. And that's where people first come in. And it's one of those that you say it, and you're like, okay, yeah, sure your people are first but we all know that if you don't have the right people in place, and that they're not happy at work, your customers don't get served. So we don't have jobs, without people. I mean, that's the thing that we all have to pay attention to.
James Mackey 3:46
Right and I mean, most companies are gonna say they're people first. A lot of the companies are now without naming names, but a lot of companies right now resending offers, before start dates, I'm sure three months ago, were touting a people-first culture. So I would love to kind of get your thoughts on what people first mean to you. And not only from a high-level kind of culture or philosophy.
Can you give us some core examples about how growth stage companies can really implement people first culture when it comes to process and policy and how maybe people are or lead or management or professional development? How do you implement that first people approach?
Kimberly Hiler 4:27
Yes, I will say, it's not easy. And I will say that during my interview process about a year ago, you hear people first just like you said, like, oh, okay, sure. Are you really walking the talk? And, you come into a company like Intradiem and our leadership team and our CEO Matt McConnell, and it's real, and we feel it every day and when we talk to our employees, and I did kind of a roadshow in my first year and tried to meet as many people as I possibly could.
And during that process, I heard more and more. I am part of Intradiem. I love this company because of our people-first strategy and because we really actually do what we say. One of the things that's part of it is our core values, I will honestly say that we live and breathe our core values of servant's heart, craftsman's attitude, and revolutionary spirit.
Servant's heart is about obviously putting other people before ourselves, we're very active in our communities, and it's very important for us, for our co-workers or community, our customers to be able to give back. And no matter what that is, it's doing things for each other. But it's also doing things for, as I mentioned, the community and our customers.
The Craftsman attitude part, we're going to make mistakes, we know we're going to make mistakes, it's learning from them, and then continuing to challenge ourselves to get better every single day. And then the revolutionary spirit is challenging that status quo, and reinventing customer service. So we take all of those three values often, and weekly, we have individuals who are giving each other high fives and calling out those values. And that is one of the things that makes our employees, that number one priority. Is living and breathing our core values every single day.
He has another freedom with responsibility. So that ties into a little bit of the remote first. But the freedom with responsibility is when we decided to go remote first, like many companies, obviously during the pandemic, but we've decided to stay remote. First, we listened to our employees, we knew that they were very happy at home, enjoyed the work-life balance, able to have lunch with their kids or do whatever else they needed to do, and we listened to that. But with that comes that freedom with responsibility, the fact that we're allowed to work from home, but the responsibility of still meeting the needs and the company's goals for achievement and ourselves has to be there.
And that's that shared part of allowing the flexibility of our work hours allowing the unlimited time off, implementing wellness days, doing things like that, we are able to do all of those things because our employees are actually still working towards achieving the goals that we have for ourselves and for the company.
James Mackey 7:29
I totally get it. And I want to get some more thoughts from you. From a tactical level, what are some core areas where your company, I mean, remote for us, which I know you touched on? But, beyond that remote-first culture? Before we dive more into that, what are the most common ways or the best ways that companies can really implement a people-first culture?
Kimberly Hiler 7:57
Yes, I mean, it's not easy, I think, especially in a remote environment. So I use the word intentional a lot. I think that everything with people first has to have intentionality behind it. I think that starts for us in candidate attraction and experience. So I often will say that the very first instance that somebody learns about Intradiem law, they're seeing us on LinkedIn, or they're clicking on, you know, our website, is the very first touch of them learning who we are.
And if we are describing that in words, and then during your interview process, through your candidate experience, you're onboarding, and you're meeting people, you're hearing stories, you're feeling the culture because, in words, it's very hard. And it's also when we're sitting on screens to build those relationships and those trust in that trust.
So we've started it in our very intentional interview process, making sure that we're staying in touch with people probably more than you used to. I mean, the candidate experience is super important, and you need to, wow, the candidate, but at the same time, you have to do it more, because one, the market is extremely hot right now, we all know that. And then as individuals are on-boarded, I want them to continue to believe that they've made the right decision in their careers. And in that process, it's meeting individuals. It's understanding who we are, and why we do what we do. And it's through setting up, you know, reviewing your DISC profile and understanding who you are and who your manager is and who the people that you're meeting.
Simple things like we set up slack groups for our new hires, so they can feel like part of a community right away or pairing them up with a mentor, not just a manager, but meeting people outside of their department, because we're sending as I said across time zones from California to the UK So we're, trying to make sure that someone feels as though they are part of the culture, part of our overall mission, through very intentional discussions and meetings. And, we're it's a work in progress. I mean, nothing's perfect.
We're tweaking things as we go. I think we've revamped our onboarding a number of times already. And then it's also through just your day-to-day, we have twice a month, we do all-hands meetings with the entire company. We'll talk about people's birthdays and anniversaries, we'll talk about the core values like I mentioned, and we'll call out things that individuals have recognized each other for we are very candid and transparent about the status of the company. So we go through a dashboard, and we are very careful to make sure that people feel as though the work that they do on a daily basis, is also part of the overall mission. To do these all-hand meetings are extremely important, in these town halls.
We're also now moving forward towards some more tactical things where twice a year, we're gonna try to get the entire company together, which is part of that remote first, which we can come back to. But we also have heard from our employees that they want to see each other. So that also is part of that just getting people ingrained in who we are, we kind of call ourselves degraded orange, versus like the Intradiemer's, those are company colors. So you know, we are green and orange, any interesting problem was my problem. So you say all these things, but we actually are doing them.
Go back to all hands. So we're trying to get our groups together, our entire company twice a year. And then on the off quarters, have your teams actually get together. And during that time, create fun things. Also, do some community service there. And all of that is about building relationships with each other.
James Mackey 12:07
Yes, I really love what you're saying about the off-sites twice a year. I think one of the challenges that some companies are facing right now, particularly growth stages is that some of them are deciding to come back to the office. But in over the past couple of years, they've hired employees throughout the United States. So they're going to keep that headcount open for the remote team. But people that are communicable to the office, they're trying to come back to a hybrid.
One of my concerns that I have for companies doing that is that it's going to be hard to create a completely inclusive environment because you're gonna have some people that are meeting in person and building those relationships and building that rapport. And unless a company has a lot of really strong checks and balances to remove bias from promotion paths, it's going to be very difficult for the team members that remain remote, to build as strong of relationships and potentially have all those same professional development opportunities.
So I almost prefer saying, no, let's keep it, you know, 100% remote, but let's just invest in doing these off-sites where we can bring everyone together. And so everybody has, hopefully, the same opportunity. And then also those opportunities to do some of the creative collaborative strategic thinking and things that you need to do in person. I personally, love that. Take the money that you're not spending on the office space that people don't even want full time and invested in a couple of really nice trips, which beyond just the collaboration aspect. And the relationship aspect. You're creating great experiences for employees.
Kimberly Hiler 13:45
Yes, and it's interesting that you say that about spending the money because one thing that we have decided to do. So we have about 27,000 square feet in our Atlanta office, which is actually in that suburb of Atlanta, but that lease is expiring at the end of this year and we have decided to let that lease expire. But with that, you know, one point, we're like, oh, we're not going to get any more office space. Because we are, like I mentioned, I mean, we're in 28 states in the US, and 50% of our population is in the state of Georgia, that also does not mean that they're within driving distance to the office.
So in listening to people, we've had this space, and people have been able to use it if they wanted to. And it's been very small groups of people that have you know, you live in Atlanta, I live in Atlanta, let's get together in person, but it's been so minimal. And we realise we did not need that space. So we're letting that lease expire. But we're looking at trying to find something local that, this big group of people if they want to use it, they can go in. But it'll be more enticing more in that live work play environment more collaborative, it won't be reserved offices, it won't be any of that. But at the same time, then those teams that they travel in could use that space to get together and see each other, but we will not say you are required to come to the office.
We have been saying "you can have the office space to use as a tool if you want it if your internet goes down at home, or you just need to get out of the house, or you want to meet with somebody face to face. Because we know sometimes that does work. But to your point, it's opening up the budget, where, if our marketing team wants to get together and they decide, only one of us lives in Atlanta, let's go to Chicago, they could do that. And they could have a two-day on-site somewhere. And those are all the things that we're going to, you know, take the money that we're spending on this massive space that we don't need, and then put it towards these in person, these that travel expenses and do other things to enable that collaboration, like you just said.
James Mackey 15:50
Right. I think with everything that's happened over the past couple of years, people are just putting on a much bigger emphasis on quality of life, integration of work, and personal life. And just, generally speaking, they're not directly asking the question in the interview, like is this opportunity going to create great experiences for me, but in terms of their decision making, and how they're thinking about their career and where they want to work, there are certainly putting a much bigger emphasis on that.
And I just think that the company off-site it's such a perfect way to do it. You go, everybody's excited to see each other, they're going to usually like a fun location with fun activities to do a lot of collaboration and strategic thinking, and just hang out and get to know each other on a personal level. And then you can go back to work the following week, totally recharged and refreshed and happy about the experiences you had the previous week.
So I really do think that the top growth stage SaaS companies are thinking about it similarly to how you are in general. It might be like some exceptions, where people really believe in hybrid environments, and who are we to say, "maybe they're wrong, but you know, I guess everybody knows their business better than other people, potentially. But I think for most companies, the remote first culture and going all in, and that strategy is definitely the right move.
Kimberly Hiler 17:11
What we did, and I'm sure there are other companies out there that did this, too, we surveyed our employees, we asked them. I think it would have been wrong, if we had just said, you know, we think that this is the best thing for our customers is for all of you to be in person working next to each other, that it needed to be reversed. We needed to listen to what our employees wanted and needed because again, they're the ones doing the work that is making us money and supporting and enabling us to support the current customers and get new customers. And if you don't listen to that group of people, your long-tenured employees, or ones that you're trying to attract may not want to stay or join you.
So we did a survey and credit to our CEO, Matt. We've listened to them, we've talked about, hours, calendar, management, professional development, all of the things that they care about, in order to still want to work with us and want to work for us and keep their career moving forward. So, to me, it's all about listening.
James Mackey 18:21
Yes, I guess, when you've been trying to implement the people first culture for a long time, I feel like a lot of the things that we're talking about, they feel kind of obvious, in a sense, like they feel like yes, of course, like, you know, if you need to attract the best fit individuals to your company, in order to produce the best possible product or solution for the client.
So this is definitely an oversimplification, but one way I like to think about businesses, basically just too big, like demand gen and experience funnels, right? And it's like, you have to optimize it on the prospect and client side, that entire journey. And then you have to do so the same thing for the people. And it seems like a lot more resources and thought goes into the client journey than goes into creating great experiences for employees, even though when you have the best fit employees for your organization, you're gonna get the best result for the client. So I mean, again, it's just one of those things, it seems pretty simple and straightforward. But I guess this is why high-level strategy really matters. And a lot of times the best high-level strategy is pretty simple, right?
Kimberly Hiler 19:34
As we're talking about it, it's like, oh, it's common. It's not to a lot of people. I mentioned earlier that I think about the candidate like the employee lifecycle starts with the first touch you have to the company, but it goes all the way through to when you're alumni. You want to get to a point where we have an entire strategy for every step along the way. It's really easy to focus on candidate attraction in the experience. And it's really, I wouldn't say easy, but you know, your focus on professional development and all of those things, retention of your employees.
But your alumni are just as important. Because if you enable a wonderful career journey along the way, and somebody decides to leave for whatever reason, and sometimes you want people to leave. Not because they're not servicing and not doing the job, but it's, that's their time in their career to depart. They might refer wonderful people back or they may boomerang themselves. We have a lot of people who have left and come back. And that's what you want. So that's something that I'm also really focused on, is that just the entire employee lifecycle from start to finish?
James Mackey 20:47
Yes, I'm really interested in the concept of like, an alumni group, and officially sponsored by the company alumni group. I think as Secure Vision gets bigger, I want to try that and just experiment. I'm sure some companies are doing I don't know, to what extent or how officially sponsored it really is. But I had this thought, I mean, it's like you Okay, people 10 years are decreasing, right? People are leaving, they're moving?
And what if we create this alumni group that's officially sponsored, and people have access to certain information introductions, just certain kinds of perks, if you will. So it's like, okay, you worked here, you've contributed, you grew, you learn and Okay, now you're tackling the next chapter. But you're still part of this team, right? You're an extended part of this team. And maybe there's some way to create some type of group around that.
Kimberly Hiler 21:41
Yes, it could be very little things. If you did an all-hands meeting and decided to have an alumni happy hour or something like that. it's very little things that you can do, because to your point, a lot of those individuals, you know, the ones who have voluntarily left, the ones that you regret leaving, were part of what got you to that point before they left, you know, they were an employee for a reason. And to engage with them, I think is really important. I have not figured all of that out yet. But it's something that I really want to. And I think there are little ways you can do it.
James Mackey 22:18
I haven't totally figured it out. It's just something I'm thinking about. And I'm like, this would be really cool. Right now, for instance, we're implementing a PEO. So that's a massive project, right? And unfortunately, I'm not doing, a lot of the heavy lifting, I have an amazing team that's helping but we have initiatives that are really impacting in a positive way our existing employees. So that's the primary focus. But if we can get to the point where we feel like all of our systems, or our people and talent functions are optimized, which you know, they're never going to be set and done, right? We're always trying to push and get better.
But I would like to, hopefully, have more bandwidth to focus on the alumni groups, so we'll see. So getting back to remote first, I have to ask, just because of what's in the news with Elon Musk.
I just want to get your thoughts on this. What do you what do you think? I mean, what are your thoughts on his statement? On his approach to how he wants to run the company? I'm just curious to get your thoughts on the whole situation.
Kimberly Hiler 23:22
"Everyone, to come back to work" that statement? No, we actually totally disagree with that. So just to be totally candid on it. That goes back to we listened and this is where we stand, we stand on the remote. First, we want flexibility, we want people to have work-life balance. And, you know, our CEO even made a comment about it in our last town hall. So we are going to stick by what we said and I kind of giggling about it in a way because I just don't quite understand that thought process of his, but..
James Mackey 24:03
I'll tell you what. Everything started to fall into place for me, when immediately like 24 hours later, rumors are going around about a 10% layoff. So I'm wondering if it was almost a kind of like he didn't want to just come out and say initially, that they're going to be going through layoffs. So the first kind of rein in the remote first culture. That's not cool. It's not a good thing, but I was wondering. It just seems like the timeline was very, it was just one before the other.
Kimberly Hiler 24:35
It does. It felt weird to me. And you're right, he could have very easily been, you know, I'm gonna go ahead and say this and see how many people leave voluntarily. And it's possible I mean, companies do that. I'm not going to try to get inside his head by any stretch. I just know that, even during the pandemic and I wasn't part of Intradiem at the beginning of the pandemic, I will note that.
But, the leadership team made a decision, we will often say that we want you to make sure that you have your meals and that your families are taken care of, that you don't have to worry about your groceries. So it's very much that is going to be the focus. And if we're ever in a position, and we're fortunate that we're not, but if we're ever in a position, I know that the company will go back to we don't want you to worry about your groceries. And we'll take whatever stance we need to take and do whatever we need to do to make sure that our employees feel their jobs are not at risk.
That way, then they're doing the work that we need them to do because they're not stressed about things in their personal life. And then our customers are being supported that the way they need to be. Then that just kind of keeps that collaboration and you know, then every conversation you have with a fellow employee isn't about to do you think we're gonna lose our job? Do you think this? Do you think that and you don't have to worry about that, because we will continue to, to say that they're our number one priority?
James Mackey 26:05
Right, and I'm really happy you actually brought that up, that's actually a not a topic we directly talked about on the show yet, just in terms of minimizing stress and helping the team feel safe and creating that psychological safety just within the company.
These are very specific examples of SecureVision, but one of the things that we did to remove stress and anxiety from working at SucureVision, as you know, we are an RPO firm. So basically, companies can borrow teams of recruiters from us to help staff up projects, right?
Typically, in our industry, people are on low base salaries with high commissions, and it creates a tonne of anxiety and stress around performance. And it also in my opinion, kind of incentivizes maybe behavior that doesn't keep quality, top of mind, either for customers, and it goes back to what we were talking about earlier, generally what's best for employees is going to be best for customers. And if you have something that's creating friction for employees, it's going to create pass along that friction to the customer somehow, and it's going to impact outcomes and experience.
So what we decided is like, "You know what? What we're going to do is we're just going to oppose having a big commission plan, we're going to offer all of our recruiters 100% of their comp and guaranteed comp. And so a lot of the times when people come to work here, they're almost getting, you know, 100% Raise, or, at least like a 50% rate, like a substantial increase from their previous employer, is 100% guaranteed. And what we just basically say is," look, we know, recruiting can be stressful, we don't want you worried about if the deal is going to close. We don't want you focused on that. All we want you to focus on is just producing the best possible experience for the client. And we don't want you to be worried about the other stuff.
So that was a big thing that we did and it worked. to be It's not that, of course, the only stress that comes with work, you know, but we tried to do max capacity, we implemented one recharge day a month in addition to taking off all federal holidays, we implemented a minimum PTO policy. I mean, we really went all in with this model to try to alleviate some of the pressures and stresses so that people can have a healthier kind of experience and feel really good. So I think that is a huge part of creating people-first culture, is creating that safety.
One other thing that we're doing, is we make very clear that for performance, right, and we don't have performance conversations often because we're really tight upfront with making sure we get the best fit individuals. But we make clear that, if a performance conversation happens, that doesn't mean that, we're parting ways or you have to be worried about your job security or stability. It's about aligning and helping and trying to get back on track.
And so I make it very clear to everybody. Unless there have been several conversations. And it's been proactively outlined over a long period of time, or, over at least a four or five-step process. You have absolutely nothing to worry about. Because I don't want people to be stressed or worried about, you know, their job security due to the market or performance or anything like that. So we make it very clear, nobody ever gets blindsided.
Kimberly Hiler 29:35
Yes. I always said in my HR career that if you're delivering feedback, and it's a surprise that you've failed along the way. I'm a huge proponent. Performance reviews need to happen. Unfortunately, you need to have documentation. I totally get that as an HR professional, but at the same time, they shouldn't be a surprise and really you shouldn't be spending any time. In that discussion on the look back, it should always be a look forward, in my opinion, what can we do differently to get to the next level versus trying to rehash things? And if you're rehashing, and those are surprises, like I said, we failed as people leaders.
So it's interesting you said that, and there was something else that you mentioned about, oh, the hours. So it's funny because one of the things that we're trying to do right now has people intentionally have conversations with their managers about work hours and then block our calendars. And further to that, if I need to take a break over lunch, because, I need to take my dog to the groomer, or whatever that may be, or if I have a doctor's appointment, you know, block the time before you have to drive or take make sure you're blocking that. But what our message to each other is that respect those blocks on the calendar.
So someone living in California isn't working East Coast hours or vice versa. It's all about respect for the individual. Ask questions, if you need to schedule a meeting, and you can't find the time, ask the person before you just go and put something on their calendar because you just never know what's going on. And that is a huge, a huge thing that we're now trying to implement a little bit more in that in that remote first.
Because it's hard when we've got people who live in different time zones, trying to do work all day, as well as meet with people who live, in London to California, as I mentioned. And that is something that's really important to us is making sure that we're respecting each other's balance. Because no one can work 12 hours a day, that can't be an expectation you will burn out we will lose that person. And then we're not promoting wellness at all. Like you said, so.
James Mackey 31:57
So quick question. So you all have an office in London?
Kimberly Hiler 32:01
We do not have an office. We do have a presence. So we have a UK entity. We have employees now in the UK, starting back in November of 21. We have about a dozen and it spread out in the United Kingdom. So we're balancing that. They have management in the United States. We're balancing those relationships. We're balancing time zones, but we do have customers over overseas too. So some of that is set in place to make sure we're supporting them too.
James Mackey 32:32
So I'd love to learn, maybe some of the top lessons learned about managing the people function with an international team. In a recent episode I was discussing, with Barry, who's the CEO of Malwarebytes, is they have a large presence in Eastern Europe. And what he mentioned was, they actually had to have, obviously, surveys, but deep conversations as well, because you can't just do service, you have to get in there and have real conversations with people.
In terms of remote first preferences, for instance, what they noticed was that in certain regions or certain places throughout Eastern Europe, people really wanted to be more so in the office than the team in the US market for different reasons. So that was one of the lessons that he mentioned, he learned managing an international team is that, based on the region, there's probably going to be some significant differences and what people are looking for. And, to be clear, I think they had hundreds of employees throughout Eastern Europe. So it's a bit different.
I'm just curious if there are any lessons learned nonetheless, on just working with international teams, and kind of bringing everybody together with shared values, but obviously, still kind of respecting regional differences, cultural differences, things like that?
Kimberly Hiler 33:51
Yes. I mean, it's new for Intradiem, I'll say that. We had a few individuals that were contractors for a long time, but the UK entity, as I said, is only like seven months old. And we're slowly ramping up. And like I said, we're about 10 to 12 people that we'll have by the end of the summer. So we're learning that, but at the same time, the UK is really different than the rest of Europe. And then if we were over going into, you know, Asia and areas that way.
To me, it still goes back to no matter where you're located. It's about having conversations like staying in touch with people and being intentional. And, some of the managers that we do have the individuals that are in the UK are familiar with that and their past lives. And have that experience of simple things like don't schedule a meeting, East Coast nine, or, you know, five o'clock time when your individuals in the UK are trying to go to bed at 10 pm.
So it's just that thought process of "wait a minute, I'm in this time zone, you're in a different timezone. Are you working your hours, your work hours? Are you working our hours? I have an individual on the HR team who lives in California and works East Coast hours. So she's up online at 5 am, which I think is crazy because I'm still sound asleep. But if like she wanted to do. but it's just really, it to me, it doesn't really matter where you're located, at least for us, the UK has a similar culture, I think to a lot of parts of the US. It comes down to being intentional about your conversations, being flexible, listening, and being transparent. And if you're doing those things, you're gonna be fine, no matter where somebody is located, at least from my perspective.
James Mackey 35:47
Yes, and as long as you have those processes in place regarding what you just discuss, it also can be effective to have people working in multiple time zones, within a certain day, just the work product that can be produced, spans across multiple time zones, which can potentially accelerate growth.
Kimberly Hiler 36:08
It's interesting because we use a tool, we use 15five right now, for performance management. But it's got a piece of it for weekly check-ins and we've also instituted that we want our managers to meet with their direct reports twice a month at a minimum. And because we've been kind of built that muscle memory of the weekly check-ins where we're, I don't want to use the word monitor, because it's not really that it's really just a communication tool to say, where are you? What are you working on this week? How do you feel this week? What are you how are you working towards your, you know, OKRs for the quarter, and then meeting a couple of times a month, again, it might be a social conversation, but that's okay.
It's really all about communication, everything comes down to communication, no matter and whatever mode that is, whether it's slack, or a text, or a phone call, or a zoom call, or an email, you're staying in touch with your people, and then building that muscle memory of those, that constant conversation. A lot of the problems that you may ensue later or the surprises that may come will be minimized because you're talking.
James Mackey 37:19
I agree. And I think one of the biggest mistakes that organizations can make at scale, is getting caught in the trap of always thinking about what is the scalable way to achieve employee feedback and relationships. And the reality is that to some extent, you cannot scale relationships. To some extent, you just need to jump on the call, you have to listen, you have to put the human first and be empathetic and understand.
I'm not against surveys, we do surveys on a quarterly basis, and they work. Even as CEO, I'll still every once a while, I'll jump on a call with the team with team leads or with people that are just passionate about making an impact here, and really get into what matters to them. Because I don't want to lose that pulse on what matters most to the team. And we have other leaders within the company that do that as well.
So I just feel like that's a very important piece for people, leaders, and just leaders in general, to not get so caught up in the concept of scale and automation, that you do lose sight of building real relationships.
Kimberly Hiler 38:23
Well, and you said something, we're humans, I will say that all the time. I'm like, I know that you could read it and say we're humans. And we are only people but we are, we're human beings. And we have stuff everybody has. You don't know what somebody brings to work every day, they can have a smile on their face and have put a pet down that morning like you just don't know. And if you don't have conversations with people, build the relationship to build the trust to have that we are humans first. And we can only perform to a certain level, every single day, and you can't expect someone to be 120% every single day.
And that goes back to something that you and I were talking about earlier like the mental health and the wellness of individuals and respecting their boundaries and respecting what's going on with them. And if they need space, and they need whatever it is that they need. If you're getting your work done, and it's quality, and it's meeting our expectations, and you need to take a couple of hours off because you've just had a crappy day. Just tell me and we'll talk about it and then we'll move forward. I would rather have somebody do that than try to act in a way that they feel like they're expected to act to meet a need when they really just can't get themselves there. And that's just being aware of us being human beings.
James Mackey 39:49
Yes, I couldn't agree more. Very well said. And one thing that I think you might find interesting too, is in one of the first episodes we had on Steve Cadigan and Steve was the first CHRO of LinkedIn. And he scaled them from around I think 300 employees to 3000. And one of the most interesting insights that I really love that he brought to the table was talking about how at executive meetings, not just people and talent meetings, but executive strategic meetings. The first thing that was discussed every time was how are we going about building championship teams, and world-class organizations like how are we how are we ensuring that we have the best fit individuals on all of our teams and all of our products to drive results?
He said, one of the biggest disconnects that he sees in organizations, particularly scale organizations, and later growth stage companies are that everybody talks about how important people are and how people are the primary driver of value. But at a lot of these executive meetings, people functions and hiring and retention and engagement are many times not at the top of the agenda. And so he said that that is something that companies need to flip because people impact every function and department.
Kimberly Hiler 41:08
Honestly, that's part of why I joined Intradiem is that we put people first and when I say that, again, it's words, we start every meeting, every leadership meeting we have every week, and we talk about People First. Literally, our number one priority, every town hall's number one priority, we start the meeting with people.
We've had meetings where we've had full agendas that we would get to our customers and get to our goals, you know, number two and three on our list, and sometimes not get there. Because we've been so focused on talking about our people that we end up sometimes not getting to the customer or the financial piece, but as we talked about earlier, you're not getting hit any of that if you don't have the people. And that was part of you know, that like I said early on, it's part of it's very important to me and my own just personal ethics.
The fact that I work for a company that does put people first and that it is top of the agenda makes my life a lot easier as a chief people officer, because I could actually implement strategies, and people can be like, oh, yeah, okay, we're gonna do that. And it's a nice place to be.
James Mackey 42:19
It's interesting when you really start to get the individuals that have been in people leadership the longest, and they have the most experience, or just have the highest quality experience, it seems that most of them are quite aligned on what you're saying.
There are a lot of people talking about it, maybe that hasn't really been in the role or do not have as much experience that might differ from pinions greatly. But really, when you start to get up there, and you're speaking with individuals that have been through it, and have successfully led people functions it's, most people agree with the topics that we're discussing. Just understanding that doing the right thing for people it's also the best thing for business.
Kimberly Hiler 43:07
It's so rewarding too. It just makes the day so much better. If you know that your employees are happy. It's very simple! I mean, I could clearly talk about this for a very long time.
James Mackey 43:27
I know! We only have five minutes. We could talk a little bit about employer brands. How do you want to tackle it? What do you want to talk to?
Kimberly Hiler 43:36
I'll say as I mentioned earlier in the conversation that I had two big goals, to be excellent at candidate attraction and experience. And the second was, is the development of our people. About that, I could talk about it for a really long time, but on the candidate attraction and experience, you think about that funnel if we want to get people in the top of the funnel, and then obviously get down to the bottom where we're offering a position to a qualified candidate, the best candidate that we can find for the role.
But what we were finding during this hot market is that we're a small company, people don't know who we are. So we were like, Okay, we got to figure this out. We're getting people in the funnel, but they're not necessarily the people that we want to hire. They are not qualified for these different roles. So what we did was we decided to work with a third party to go down this path of employer brand value proposition, with that whole goal of listening to our employees. So we had that we conducted some focus groups, they did some interviews, we selected people across the company who are passionate, you know, all walks of life, different stages of their career, different positions, and listen to them and what was important to them and why are they working in Intradiem, the culture, the job, the product, whatever all of that those answers were.
Then that firm took all of that information back and helped us create what we want to describe to the world who Intradiem is, to attract people to want to work. Because like we talked about, it's not just words. So that's why, we worked with the firm to record a video that would listen to people, not just our CEO, but others talk about who we are. Because again, you can read something, but until you actually see someone, say it, feel, you know, it's watching their body language, how they emphasize their words, putting something in print and bringing it to life it is a drastic difference. So that's what we're working on with this employer branding project. Is actually creating an ad campaign that will be able to entice candidates to come to work with us and will work along with the marketing team and the work that we're doing on our website that continues to inform our customers. And so they'll work together and just an entire brand campaign.
We're still in the middle of the project. But so far, everything that our employees have said, and as we're starting to look at it comes to life, we'll be able to help us build that attraction strategy that we want to get to, and then we'll attach metrics to it and things like that. But we're in the real early stages. And it's just something that you know, creating a score around.
Being excellent at the attraction is not easy, because there are so many stages in the funnel. And then there's the cyclical cycle of talent, acquisition, and all of those things. But it's been a fun project to kind of be part of, and it's something that I haven't done before. So I'm enjoying the work.
I love it. If you're open to it, I would love to do part two, where we just focus on employer branding, talent, attraction, and development. Because I don't want to try to I have a lot of questions. And we just, honestly, it was fun talking with you about the first two topics that we just didn't have a chance to get to it.
I would love to do that1 And there are so many other things I didn't talk about, about our talent, career development strategy, and all these other things. So yes, I would love to do a part two, it'd be great.
James Mackey 47:16
Great. Well, Kim, thank you so much for joining us today. This was an absolute blast. Just so much value packed in. Thank you.
And for everybody tuning in, thanks for joining us, and see you next time!