People, Scaling, and Growth Oh My! How career architecture and employee experience can be your company's yellow brick road
When I was the head of HR at a very fast-growing startup, I sometimes wanted to click my heels three times and say, "there's no place like home," and wake up well-rested with no HR troubles. But people leaders are resilient and figure sh*t out (google helps) – and that's the case with Caroline Werner, Chief People Officer at LogicGate, a Jump Capital portfolio company.
When the global pandemic hit, HR leaders were thrust into the spotlight as the planners and fixers for the challenges ahead. She's taken on all the challenges of creating an inclusive, safe, still challenging environment for her employees.
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Caroline to talk about the talent and HR topics that are top of mind for her, what she’s building at LogicGate – and why she thinks these projects are integral to the company’s long-term health and success.
In the current talent market, companies need to be creative and smart when retaining talent – Caroline credits career architecture and employee experience as LogicGate differentiators. Her previous experience at Korn Ferry helped her lay the foundation for career architecture within LogicGate. As she tackles this, she is mindful that her employees have access to "experiences" and are aware of the various paths their careers can go within their organization.
Building Career Architecture
When kicking things off, she ensured the leadership team and the rest of the org spoke a common language—doing so established ease for all parties involved in career conversations, including providing feedback, discussing promotional opportunities, and setting expectations. Caroline also stressed that career architecture does not necessarily have to be a career "ladder" but can be a career "lattice," a concept that feeds into employee experiences.
Caroline advised companies to implement career architecture programs early, even in companies with only 25 employees. Programs like this will need to be reassessed often, regardless of size, so getting the ball rolling when things are less complex is a good idea. Second, HR leaders should get on the same page with their leadership teams on what "good" looks like (going back to establishing a common language for all). Doing so allows you to assess performance and recruit appropriately.
Next, we touched on employee experience and what that means to her and LogicGate. Her short answer: What is your company's differentiator? Talent can find similar roles in many other places - so what makes a company stand apart for talent?
Employee Experience = Company Differentiator
She asks this question daily as she builds out all people-related programs, from benefits to hybrid vs. remote work, learning experiences, and communication. Caroline believes this is one of the more important initiatives at LogicGart, so she promoted someone on her team to focus solely on employee experience. She believes companies would do well to ensure employees can grow in multiple ways, including soft skill growth.
Inclusivity is a must - not a nice-to-have
She shared that when thinking about the employee experience, inclusivity is key. So is creating a safe place where employees are heard. DEIB is top of mind in everything she does. Moreover, she shared that investing in people leaders can go a long way in creating a positive employee experience – and she referenced the adage that people leave bad managers, not bad companies. LogicGate could be the best place in the world, but if an employee has a manager not equipped to support them, none of that matters. Simply put, train your people leaders early and often.
Caroline is a dynamic, engaging people leader and that came through in our conversation. Her unique background, beginning her career in hospitality and the Hyatt rotational program, aligns well with understanding an entire business and how all the moving parts must work together to function. In the face of any challenge, from a global pandemic to a tornado, Caroline is an undaunted people leader who has planned and prepared for everything.
Are career architecture or employee experiences top of mind for you or your company? Drop a line to [email protected] to keep the conversation flowing.