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The Chief People Officer as PM - advice for rethinking company systems

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First Round Review
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Current Chief People Office at Credit Karma, Colleen McCreary, shares her approach to the systems and tools in her purview and how to better approach essential elements of the people function.

Mistake #1: Not Digging into Compensation

  • Set up a system that emphasizes and practices clarity, context, and consistency- the Three C's
  • Some simple questions to ask when illustrating the three C's:
    • How did you end up with the company?
    • Why did you stay?
    • Where did you work before?
    • What's working really well at the company? What isn't working?
    • What am I not seeing or hearing?
    • Who else should I talk to?
  • Identify the big themes, what areas your team can go after, your three priorities, and the timeframe to accomplish them in
  • "If you don't consistently provide clarity and and context, you'll end up working on these things endlessly"

Mistake #2: Not Tailoring Rewards & Recognition to Your Specific Culture

  • Establish an incentive system to encourage the right behaviors
    • Reflect on whether the incentive actually drives the behaviors you say you want, or the things that you care about
    • McCreary's examples: Pay everyone the exact same, and if the market moves, your pay moves; nominate others who've shown exceptional impact
  • Gamify recognition
    • Ask yourself: What are we trying to accomplish? What are our values and how do we live them out?

Mistake #3: Not Talking About the Difficult Stuff

  • Normalize what's going on in the company, don't let things fester and dig a hole you can't get out of
  • Most companies tend to ignore the mountains and valleys of growth and people will assume the worst
  • Raise and spotlight the topic yourself to get conversation going
  • Build trust so people can feel comfortable voicing opinions or pushing back

Mistake #4: Not Staying On Message

  • Important to join how you tell your story inside the company with how it's being told outside of the company
  • You don't want people to build a narrative based on what the outside world tells them
  • Act like a one-hit wonder pop star: slow down and tell employees how you're going to define success-stay on message

Mistake #5: Not Reframing Career Growth Properly

  • Have a framework at each level to define what career growth even means, lack of promotion is often mistaken for not growing
  • Emphasize strengths over weaknesses
  • Encouraging career growth in every direction
    • Emphasize that taking a path somewhere else or doing something else is still career growth
  • Encouraging the right kind of feedback
    • Reflect: What was the most meaningful observation that you've reflected on from your peer and/or upward perspectives?
    • Learn: Which characteristics do you want folks to recognize as improvements in four to six months? Or what strengths do you want to continue to leverage?
    • Action:  What actions and support do you need and do you want between now and the next cycle to make this a reality? 
    • Enable: As a manager, what can I start, stop or continue that will help you in your growth journey?
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