Exciting new world ahead for HR (or People Operations, I should say)

If you’ve followed my journey for the past year, you’re aware that I left my long-time gig with HubSpot to build my own software company with two fantastic other people.

It’s been 11 months since we officially started Compt and holy cow change. It’s more exciting and also more difficult than I previously imagined.

Some things that stand out as significant adjustments for me have been:

  • Marketing to marketers versus marketing to HR/People Operations. First off, I hate the title marketing. I think there’s a ton of baggage and I’d prefer to think of it as providing value and sharing ideas and concepts that could help others. So, I’m changing my marketing title to People Operations trend seeker and sharer. 😉 Just joking, but the transition from marketing to marketers to marketing to HR has been a fascinating, and challenging one. It’s an entirely different department and function that I’ve been accustomed to working with and understanding since my career began. Just this transition alone has helped me to expand my business acumen tremendously.
  • Also, going from a large company with over 2,000 people to a small company with 4 (soon to be five). In a small company, there is zero ego, zero politics and everyone’s goals align with the business. Not that that wasn’t happening at HubSpot, but as any company grows, it becomes more complicated to navigate the shifts or leaps that come with scale.
  • Early stage companies need to build everything. By the time I got to HubSpot, the inbound story had already been developed, and my goal with building the Academy team with the others was to focus on building upon and scaling that story. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s the easy stuff. Creating a new space is not easy, but it’s much easier for people who join once the groundwork has been laid.

I’ve also noticed so. many. emerging trends in HR/People Operations. The amount of change undergoing the HR function today reminds me of what was happening for marketers 10 years ago.

A decade ago, when the internet became the content behemoth that we know it as today, marketers were met with tons of additional opportunity. Reason being, the internet gave them more data, more information, more reach, and with all of those – more responsibility and respect.

Fast forward to today, the world of HR is just beginning this transition.

5 Significant transformations in the world of HR include the following: 

1. “HR” is now “People Operations”

You might have already picked up on this, but there’s a huge shift from calling the department and role HR (short for human resources) to People Operations. Titles are shifting to coincide too.

Reason being, there’s so much happening in the world of HR, or People Ops rather, that a rebrand was almost inevitable. The name change also matters because it signifies a new group or batch of professionals have arrived and they approach the function dramatically different than their more experienced counterparts.

2. New research available on how people want to work

In the early 2000’s, there began a new way of behavioral science research and organizational network analysis (ONA). Substantial research on these topics has only gained speed since then.

Nowadays research is completed and more accessible and understandable than before, thanks to websites like content publications like Harvard Business Review, HR Trend Institute, and podcasts on productivity research and the future of work.

Below are just a few of the new research emerging on workplace best practices:

3. New ways of working are emerging, and so is software to align with it

As new research emerges, so do new ways policies, programs, softwares to better support team members.

For example – digital marketers went through a period of focus on personalization – i.e. showing the right message to the right person at the right time. And now, people operations are going through a personalization transformation too. To assist companies in navigating the transition, many new software products have popped up.

Robin helps companies to personalize their work locations using hotdesking.

Ace-Up helps employers give targetted and hyper-focused one-on-one coaching to executives and team members.

Compt helps companies to transform their generic one-size-fits-all perks offerings into personalized programs that solve for everyone.

Other massive shifts happening in the way people want to work, including the following:

  • A desire to understand the higher purpose or “why” behind the company and the work.
  • Increased passion for working for a company that has similarly aligned contribution goals to society and values.
  • Demand for increased flexibility with work location and hours.
  • More supportive work environments which include multi-purpose areas for different types of work like collaborative, solo focus, light traffic, meditation, and more.

4. Access to more data than ever before

The collection and use of workforce data to analyze, predict, and enhance performance has exploded over the last few years.

It makes sense. There’s so much data available. Companies can now have their employees wear monitors to track them and their movements. Companies can integrate health and wellness programs with software and wearables that keep them up-to-date on employees’ health vitals. Organizations now have productivity tracking software to find out who is working, how much, from where, and more.

With all this data at their fingertips, there is now a new and significant role at organizations: talent analytics.

Talent analytics professionals can also find out:

  • What employee burnout is, and what are the most popular factors which lead to it
  • Predict what makes a great sales rep (i.e. is it sales experience, customer service experience, or something else)
  • Uncover just how much a manager’s guidance plays a role in a person’s success
  • How likely people are to recommend your organization as a place to work (aka eNPS)

And so much more.

5. The emergence of a more serious employee success-obsessed mission

Where most people at companies are customer success-obsessed, people operations professionals are employee success-obsessed.

CAC, LTV, NPS, churn/retention are metrics focused heavily on customer-success. However, they can also be adapted to focus on employee success.

And today, many of the biggest brands like Virgin are focusing more on employee success than on customer success. As Virgin founder and CEO said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they take care of your clients.”

This is not a novel concept, but as the research on the role employee happiness plays in productivity, and a company’s overall success continues to grow and spread, more people are beginning to turn their focus back to the employee.

To help me learn and navigate this new space, and set our company up for success – we’ve created all sorts of helpful resources:

Resources for People Operations professionals:

What do you think about the transformation happening in the HR and people operations profession? Are there any other major shifts happening that I missed? Leave them in the comments section below.

 

My top 10 of 2017

If you know me, you know that I emphasize the reflection process in my life as a way to learn, grow, and improve. Also, life moves fast, and so this is one of my favorite ways to capture the moments and look back on them too.

Without further ado, this year’s top 10 moments in chronological order.

we Visited Australia 

In May, my husband (then fiance) took a trip to his home country, Australia.

It was my third time visiting, and we fit in quite a bit during our two-week stay.

  • We traveled to Sydney and stayed in Coogee Beach.
  • We walked the botanical gardens and took a cruise around the harbor with family during Vivid.
  • We visited Canberra (their version of Washington DC) and sat in on Question Time.
  • Took a trip to “the country” in Mansfield.
  • Ended our trip with a visit to Melbourne.

Me winning at Settlers and enjoying a VB.

Us enjoying the view from Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge during Vivid.

 

Picasso’s “The Weeping Woman” at the National Gallery of Australia

I Left my job AT hUBspOT

Six years in life is a long time, and even longer at one company. After more than six years, I decided to leave HubSpot. I left to experience more of life, diversify my professional experience, and increase my contribution to the world. This was especially difficult because I was leaving one of the teams that I helped build – the HubSpot Academy team.

When I left, I posted an update to LinkedIn to share some career highlights, which you can see here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6301814278504611840/

Here are some of my career highlights:

  • Started the HubSpot Academy division with two other remarkable people, and grew the team to 23 people.
  • Along with the team, conceived and built our training webinars and videos, courses, the certifications program, inbound training day, and more. We started from ground zero and had zero users and nothing built when starting out, and when I left we had awarded over 73,000 certifications to the market. This was one of the more fulfilling roles because we were able to help thousands of folks get a job, promotion, a seat at the marketing table, and more. Talk about meaningful work.
  • Responsible for transitioning us from webinar-based training to video-based content. This was a big and scary proposal, but after figuring out how to best approach it – our team manager gave me the go-ahead to test it out.
  • Built HubSpot’s Learning Center with a few others. This was a vision I pursued relentlessly at all costs, and now it’s an integral part of the company’s offering.
  • Lastly and my personal favorite, building a ridiculously excellent team. When I think of rockstars, I think of every single person that’s we brought on to the HubSpot Academy team. When it was three of us in the beginning, we knew that every hire would change the dynamic tremendously and it was critical to bring on folks that would add unique value. Now people are writing books, innovating like crazy on certification courses, developing new types of education products (like Lessons. Go Lindsay go!), and more. If you have the chance to connect with one of them, don’t pass it up. Tell them I sent you. 😀

Leaving the company and the team was no easy decision. I sought the help of many mentors and even a career coach. If you’re contemplating the difficult decision to stay or leave your current job, check out Red Cape Revolution. Darcy Eikenburg is an excellent career coach who has helpful content and ways of thinking. She offers a course chalk full of introspection exercises and activities to better uncover your superpowers, passions, and goals in life. Also, this TED Talk helped tremendously to make the decision, and so did the book, Designing Your Life.

The impressive HubSpot Academy team climbing Mount Monadnock.

I Traveled throughout THE US (WITH MY FIANCE)

When I decided to leave HubSpot, Ken and I decided we’d use this time to proactively plan our next chapter together.

When we took a step back, we decided to use this time to travel, potentially move to a new city, and do some formal training.

Thus, we embarked on a journey that we both always wanted to do – travel the entire United States.

We traveled for 45 days and drove about 11,000 miles on our little Hyundai Elantra. We drove as far south as New Orleans, as far west as the coast of California, north as Seattle, and then came back through the middle of the country.

Based on what I saw on our trip, I also was inspired to start Tech Job Training for Americans.

Us on day 1 of our 45-day trip around the US. And the vehicle we traveled in.

we Visited 12 National Parks

Up until this point, I’d only been to Acadia National Park. On our trip, we traveled to the following parks:

  1. Shenandoah National Park
  2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  3. Guadalupe National Park
  4. Petrified Forest National Park
  5. Grand Canyon National Park
  6. Bryce National Park
  7. Zion National Park. We hiked the Narrows, which wasn’t what we were expecting at all.
  8. Death Valley National Park. It was 107 degrees Fahrenheit when we arrived.
  9. Yosemite National Park
  10. Grand Teton National Park
  11. Yellowstone National Park
  12. Rocky Mountain National Park

Climbing to the top of Guadalupe Peak, the tallest point in Texas.

At the top of Guadalupe Peak with zero visibility.

Us at the Grand Canyon, the day before we hiked down.

Hiking The Narrows at Zion

Thor’s Hammer at Bryce

Our tent at Death Valley in 112 degree weather. We camped in our tent for about half the trip. 😀

Climbing to the top of Yosemite Falls. Notice all the smoke in the background.

Us at “Le Trois Tetons” aka Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park

 

The Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone

Rocky Mountain National Park 2 hours north of Denver.

we Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon

One of the most physically demanding challenges I’ve undertaken in recent years, hiking into the Grand Canyon was nothing to scoff at.

It was unusually hard because of the challenges we unintentionally added into the equation, like:

  • We did our hike in the middle of August, one of the hottest months of the year in Arizona.
  • We left way too late in the morning. We began our descent at 9:30 am. That is a huge no-no because….
  • We also picked the one trail which doesn’t have access to water or shade, the South Kaibab.

Halfway down our hike, we came across a small bathroom building which had a thermometer on it – it read 110-degrees, in the shade.

When we got to our campsite at the bottom, another thermometer read 130-degrees in the sun. No wonder when I got to the bottom, after a 5-hour hike I was loopy.

About an hour into the canyon.

Halfway down, notice the temperature. :X

Here’s what it looks like toward the bottom of the Grand Canyon with the Colorado River.

we Imposed ourselves on friends while traveling

One of the beautiful parts of traveling the country was being able to see so many of our friends who now live across the US.

We stayed with friends who newly moved to NYC. We met new friends in Raleigh, NC. We stayed with our good friend Brin in Austin and saw other friends who have recently moved there. We visited Sara in San Francisco and Rachel and Ryan in Seattle. We stayed with Ken’s uncle in Vegas, and grandfather in Chicago.

We’re truly blessed to have such great people in our lives who are willing to let us both crash there and show us around their new city or hometown.

If you travel across the country, you have to impose yourself. This was great advice I got from my friend Evan, and I’m so happy we took it.

we Got married

If you read my top 10 blog post from last year, then you know that Ken and I met in Rome. One year and nine months later, we formalized our union by getting married with 50 of our closest family and friends in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

we DID A VEGAN 30-DAY CHALLENGE

One day after our wedding, Ken and I watched What the Health because a close friend recommended it. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s a documentary which “examines the link between diet and disease, and the billions of dollars at stake in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries” Ken and I decided we’d try a 30-day vegan challenge.

After 30 days of no meat or dairy, I lost 4lbs and returned to my high-school weight, had tons of energy, and ditched caffeine since I no longer needed or wanted it. I also didn’t need my allergy-induced asthma inhaler which was an excellent benefit as during the fall months I typically would rely on it.

However, it wasn’t easy in the beginning. At the four-day mark, I began to feel listless and wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the 30-days. I felt sick and thought either I started battling the flu or I was ill because of the diet. After a new friend on Twitter generously sent me a free Purple Carrot box, we began to understand the power of nutritious vegan meals.

Some of our favorite vegan recipes:

After going vegan, I’ve remained a vegan at home and a vegetarian outside the house.

Learn more about 30-day challenges here.

I mEDITATED MORE often and fullY

This year I meditated almost 100 times.

Meditation was something I never thought I’d do, be interested in, or need. However, when a colleague said he meditated to “add some yin to his yang,” it got me thinking. I worked at a fast-paced company, on a fast-paced team focused on innovation, and my workouts were HIIT. Everything in my life was yang, so much so that I didn’t truly understand the yin side.

After meditating, I’ve noticed the following perspective shifts:

  • I’ve become a spectator of my thoughts. I don’t always let my thoughts or emotions at the moment drive my interactions, as I can now see them for what they are – they’re akin to clouds floating by as they’re never permanent.
  • I’ve begun to appreciate silence, solitude, and being with myself.
  • I learned about stoicism while talking about meditation, which is a philosophy I now subscribe to and study.

There are so many quality meditation apps available for download for you to choose from. I’ve been using Calm, and I love it.

I Signed on to my next career challenge

I’ve recently signed on as cofounder and head of marketing at an early-stage startup based out of Boston.

 

Honorable mentions:

I started to write again and on Medium this time. You can see my few posts here:

I also went back to my alma mater, the University of Florida, for a football game with my husband and parents. I loved being able to show them where I took business classes, my favorite restaurants/ bars, and take them to a game to give them some insight as to what it’s like to be a Florida Gator.

Another excellent year full of exciting moments has passed, and I look forward to seeing where 2018 takes us.