Onrec: Tell me about beqom’s acquisition of Our Tandem.
At beqom, we recently announced the acquisition of Our Tandem, a company that I founded in 2016, which has helped to re-imagine the world of work and the way employees experience the workplace. When we first started the company, we had this idea that real-time feedback was the ‘silver bullet’ to solve performance management in the workplace. Since then, we have grown and learnt so much and the journey has been truly rewarding.
This is a really exciting time for us, we are thrilled that Our Tandem has joined the beqom brand, we see a perfect match between our offerings. This is an industry-first move which combines the power of beqom and Our Tandem’s solutions, helping to align personalised rewards with meaningful behaviours, goals, and skills, transforming how companies reward and recognise their people, attract and retain top talent, and address pay equity and transparency.
Onrec: How did you get started in HR?
I suppose I love the idea that you can change workplace cultures. Not a lot of HR people think they can change culture, but that's not true. You 100% can and it's by changing the things that matter most and, for me, performance always mattered the most because how you manage people is fundamental to your culture. It screams who you are.
If a manager only sits down with you once a year to talk about you, then that says a lot. Whereas, if a manager is connecting with you regularly and taking the time to give you feedback, they care about your career. They're having growth conversations with you and building a trusted relationship.
Onrec: What exciting new HR trends are you noticing?
Compensation is evolving. One of the problems with a lot of compensation tools out there is they give you one template. This is the way you pay everybody. This is the way you manage performance for everybody. But the reality is so different. Sometimes you're paying for skills, sometimes you're paying for performance and sometimes you're paying for the collective.
The beauty of the combination of our platforms is we're hugely flexible. You can have multiple templates paying in different ways for different parts of your organisation. And in fact, there shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all approach because you shouldn't manage and reward your executives in the same way you pay your retail staff, your head office or your manufacturing team. You need different compensation strategies to drive different types of performance.
Onrec: Biggest challenges we face going into 2023?
I think it's the macroeconomic environment and how that influences employees’ mindset because the big societal shifts have always changed people's behaviour and their habits. If you think about the last few years, we've had so many big moments, everything from the Me Too movement to Black Lives Matter, from the pandemic to the Great Resignation, from working from home to juggling childcare and a war in Ukraine. And now a bigger macroeconomic problem with the rising cost of living – people have been hit with a lot! There’s a lot going on and people will need resilience and support to be able to take it and keep going.
Onrec: Where do you see the recruitment industry in 5 years?
I think that we’ll follow the trends in marketing and create more personalised experiences. We need to centre the experience on the individual, as opposed to having generic processes. I think HR is only getting to that now and I think that trend will accelerate. You're going to see an awful lot more personalised experiences centred on the employee and how to engage with them.
Onrec: COVID hit the industry hard. How did you manage and adapt?
An interesting time, indeed, this was pre-acquisition so we were still operating as Our Tandem. It was actually a big turning point for us as a business because at that point we were really focused on feedback alone. And that was the point at which we said: “Feedback may not be the biggest commercial need coming out of a pandemic.” So that's when we really decided to go for it and build performance end-to-end, which ultimately led to our acquisition by beqom and also to some of our biggest clients signing.
So, it really was a defining moment for us. It was tough, but we kept close as a team, did daily check-ins, and built an entirely new platform in the space of eight months.
Onrec: What was your career low and how did you overcome it?
Early in Our Tandem’s infancy, I remember sitting at an awards show when we were starting to get some pilot customers and they weren't really paying us any money. We were just getting them to test the concepts and so on. It was a female awards show and there were all these very inspiring women going up to collect their awards, and they had built huge businesses and done extraordinary things. And it was a really hard moment because I felt that my business was a failure at the time and I wasn’t used to failing. I was very successful in corporate life. I was always promoted every two or three years. So to go out and set up a business and fail – it hit hard and that was a really uncomfortable experience for me. This imposter syndrome took hold of me. And the other thing was the guilt because you take up a lot of other people's time when you're building a business. I had a co-founder and I'd asked another leader I knew to help me, who later became a co-founder. We were working nights. We were getting people to build products for us. So you actually drain a lot of people's time when you're building a business, and I felt so guilty because I thought: “What if it's not going to work? Then I’ve just wasted all these people's time.”
But you just have to get over yourself, get up and go again. Two years later I went to the same award show and picked up an award for Start up of the Year! So, you just have to get on with it. There’s an awful lot of self-doubt that happens in the early stages of setting up a business, and you really just have to dismiss that doubt and push forward, not always easy but very necessary!
Onrec: What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
I would say that you are capable of more than you can imagine and to believe in your ability to do extraordinary things.
Onrec: What do you enjoy outside of work?
I have two young girls who are the light of my life and I like to spend as much time having fun and raising them to believe in themselves. I have a few really important friendships particularly with other female founders and the support that I get from meeting up and connecting with them over dinner or drinks is often the highlight of my week.
Onrec: If you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you?
- My phone! Cannot be without and I would just pray for a wifi signal.
- My kids, they would probably love the adventure!
- A good book, could be a long wait for that rescue boat..
Onrec: If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?
I’m probably most like a dog - I get very excited about my own ideas! I need walks, to clear my head. And I’m very loyal to my friends and the people who care about me.
Onrec: What was the last gift you gave someone?
My co-founder had a milestone birthday and because we were going through the acquisition we had no time to properly celebrate it so I bought her a mulberry bag to mark the moment.