Katie Burke (HubSpot): How Should Employees Navigate Today’s Macro Environment?
Speaker 1: This is a follow- up episode to my last conversation with Katie Burke, chief people officer at HubSpot. In that episode, we talk about how leaders and companies should navigate today's down market in relation to their people and talent function. How should you communicate with employees today? How do you create the right return to office culture, and how should your recruiting strategy evolve in today's market? If you're a leader, and you're asking these questions, which basically everyone is today, make sure to go back and listen to that episode right away. On today's shorter episode, the after party, if you will, we turn the tables and ask what advice Katie would give to an employee who's asking themselves," Should I stay, or should I go in today's uncertain environment?" If you're navigating your own career path and asking yourself that question and don't know the answer because of the uncertain macro, then this is the episode for you. Don't miss a bonus question on what makes for a great chief people officer versus just a merely good one. Given the macro landscape today and everything that we talked about in the main episode: about how companies and leaders should be approaching people in talent, given that macro landscape, if we inverse it a little bit and talk about it from an employee perspective, if you had a friend or a family member that was coming to you and asking for advice as to what they should do with their career path in today's market, what advice would you give to that person?
Katie Burke: Yes. My advice would be threefold. If you are considering making a jump or staying at your current company, your most important questions are about the business and the balance sheet. You really want to understand the quality of the business that you're operating under and its growth potential, particularly given if things change. Some good questions to ask that we try and really address up front at HubSpot are things like," Okay, if there is a major market correction, how are we positioned to succeed or thrive, or how might our business be really adversely affected by those macro changes?" Then, just basic questions like," Cash on the balance sheet... What does that actually look like?" because that actually really matters from a payroll perspective. Rather than just thinking about your own equity options comp, really think about the stability and the position of the business, particularly given macroeconomic challenges. Number two would be focusing on impact. When everyone else gets distracted by the macroeconomic environment, it can be super easy to spend hours of your day refreshing Twitter. Turns out that's not actually the best way to keep your job or to potentially get promoted even during a particularly chaotic time and so really focusing on impact. The third thing is I was a lifeguard in college alongside our SVP of marketing, John Dick, at HubSpot. What I always say to people is no one ever wants to be saved by a panicked lifeguard. You don't want to be the person who's like," Save yourselves! Run for your lives!" It's just not a great look, particularly if you're a people manager. It is totally fine and understandable to stress about the world around us. But when you're at work, be really thoughtful about providing calm, balanced perspective because it really does make a difference in the degree to which people can trust you and also just a degree to which people will share information with you because they know you can handle it. Those are my three pieces of advice for anyone navigating this environment.
Speaker 1: What distinguishes a truly great chief people officer from just a good one?
Katie Burke: I think good versus great come down to two things. One is a sense of purpose, so you understand the business purpose for your role. To me, a lot of HR folks will focus on..." I need a seat at the table. I need a seat at the table." But not why you need a seat at the table. The reason you need a seat at the table is to drive business outcomes that are really meaningful from a people and talent perspective. I think sometimes people/ leaders get too worked up about getting that seat and not enough about building the table and the business purpose and objective behind it. But in addition to sense of purpose, I would say a sense of humor is the other thing that distinguishes a great chief people officer versus a good chief people officer. When you said we were doing an after party, my first reaction was," HR never gets invited to the after party. This is awesome. I'm fired up to be invited.' I think sometimes you forget that people have had really negative experiences with HR in the past. It doesn't actually matter necessarily what you say or what you empower your team to do. It really matters the degree to which you're willing to make fun of yourself, to own mistakes, to be humble about where you are in your own journey. I would say really great chief people officers are really humble leaders and also have a great sense of humor. The folks that I admire on that front have both those things.
Katie shares the advice she’d give a friend or family member who is deciding to stay in a role or recruit for a new one. Most of the advice today is focused on leaders and companies. Katie’s advice for you, the employee, is fresh and spot on.