Listening to Your People in a Fast-Growth Company

TIA FOMENOFF

Tia Fomenoff has always loved helping others solve their problems—whether she’s placing people in their dream jobs, working with customers to make more money, guiding small businesses on the uses of social media or even recommending great restaurants to acquaintances. In today’s podcast, Tia shares in-detail how she and the leadership team have listened well to their employees, even adapted accordingly to the extent of giving a $2000 mental health spending limit for every employee! 
 
Her unconventional career-path began in northern British Columbia in the non-profit and tourism industries, then shifted to focus on digital marketing and customer success at high-growth tech companies Unbounce and Buffer. Tia is now the Director of People and Culture at Thinkific, where they build software that enables entrepreneurs to create, market, sell, and deliver their own online courses.
Some questions I ask:
  • What are company leaders today realizing is the most important thing for their businesses when it comes to culture?
  • Are you seeing a lot of mobility (people bouncing around) between startups in your city? How do you deal with that?
  • When a startup Founder & CEO decides to introduce a Director of People & Culture role, what are they thinking?
  • As a non-native People & Culture leader, what has been the most challenging part of stepping into your role & what have you learned about yourself?
  • How do you balance non-traditional experience with the need for the compliance that a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) brings? How do you split up these responsibilities on your team?
  • What is the difference between culture fit and culture add… and what does values fit seem to be something you look for when hiring?
  • How do we build cultures where people speak up?
  • How do we properly survey our employees? How do people at every level of the company bring forward ideas to leadership?
  • What mistakes have you made in your hiring over time?
 
In this episode, you will learn: 
  • Great recruitment becomes a primary competitive advantage in a high-paced, fast-growing tech cities
  • How to transition from a different area of business (e.g. in Tia’s case, she was in marketing) to People & Culture (P&C)
  • Having a non-strict-HR background can be an advantage for a leader in the P&C department, you can understand all the roles & their needs, how to help people grow & be happy opposed to having a key focus on compliance
  • Diversity is very challenging to obtain when looking for culture fit. When you look for a values fit however, you will be rewarded in the beautiful diversity you have in your organization.
  • Amazing to see that when people are encouraged to adopt the value of “We give a shit” how people will roll up their sleeves to pitch in when needed.
  • Set up a channel for communication of new ideas to leadership! Having a flat structure internally allows for people to bring ideas forward to their people leader, even one level above without much feeling they are stepping out of place.
  • Structuring your employee engagement surveys with (1) evidence-based questions, (2) net-promoter score (e.g. How likely are you to recommend working at Thinkific to a family or friend) and (3) free and open-ended questions (e.g. What’re your favourite things about working here? What are some things we can do better?).
  • How to act on your employee’s suggestions, group them into themes, and then make them fully transparent by sharing them with the whole company so people know of the progress towards change and understand what is happening!
 
Connect with Tia Fomenoff:
 
Also mentioned on this show:

How To Integrate Virtual Assistants Into Your Company Culture

Today’s episode is all about Virtual Assistants, Remote Workers & how all this fits within your current company cultures. We are proud to feature Virtual Gurus, once a little remote working agency with a team of 10 people, now a team of 150 people, considered the largest freelancing platform in Canada. Today we’re uncovering some of the secrets surrounding the mysterious world of remote work and virtual assistants, so tune in now! 

Connect with Bobbie Racette and her team: 

Some questions I ask: 

  • How can companies looking to hire a VA get over their hesitancy to this new way of building your team?  
  • Do we not all do more remote work than we think? 
  • How do you work with VAs to ensure they’re supported, especially since they work by the minute and not on salary? 
  • What does it look like for a virtual assistant to get up-to-speed to best perform the tasks required by the hiring company? 
  • How can a virtual assistant or team member actually integrate within someone’s company culture? 
  • What can a Virtual Assistant DO and NOT DO? 
  • What are some examples of how VAs have concretely built businesses & fostered growth? 
  • If I’m a client of a Virtual Assistant company and now my VA is doing a significant amount of work, what does it look like to incorporate your VA into your team and company culture? 
  • What does a company that organizes and leads a cohort of VAs look like? 
  • What is your vision for a company that works with one of your assistants?    

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • The need for your VA to be in a community of collaboration and accountability with other VAs. 
  • The importance of complete transparency with your assistant when you hire a virtual team member, time-based (to-the-minute) tracking and productivity, a major differentiator in today’s age of a distracted workforce 
  • Helpful tips on “showing up and staying productive” when working from home. The professionalism of VAs is paramount, not only to it being a worthwhile investment but also for the VAs to do quality work & enjoy the process. 
  • Virtual Assistants can support businesses in growth from managing emails and calendars, to website support, development and social media. 
  • What a typical process of working with a VA company looks like and how to slowly & patiently offload tasks that you’re not strong in or enjoy doing to your VA(s) and you can go back to running your business, doing what you’re best at. 
  • Virtual Assistant services 

Also mentioned on this show: 

Turning Your Culture Around & Getting Out of the Way

On this week’s episode of the CultureING Podcast, we are joined by Matt Diteljan!

As the Founder & Futurist of Glacier GenZ Advertising and Cascade Influencer Marketing, he gets to see things from a bird’s eye view and focus on the future. Matt first grew Glacier from his dorm room in University to an international multi-million dollar company with hundreds of clients, 50+ employees, and a well-respected name in the Higher Ed. marketing sector. When he’s not at the Cascade office, Matthew is very active on several boards including the Entrepreneur’s Organization and the EO Accelerator Program, or you can likely find him sending it down a mountain on his mountain bike.

Some questions I ask: 

  • How to start being proactive about helping people with their career plan, especially in an organization that is primarily of the same age demographic (e.g. millennials). 
  • How do you let your culture mature enough to authentically dictate your values, mission, vision & cultural framework? 
  • How can you funnel back to your organization the futuristic, lofty plans & ideas? 
  • What does a leader need to do to maintain open-handedness around control over all decision making, growth and ideas? 
  • What is the leaders preferred way to receive constructive feedback from a “lower level” employee? 

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • How to take your culture from fear-based culture to a world-class culture 
  • What it looks like to recognize you are standing in the way of the company’s growth 
  • How to transition from CEO to Futurist & Chairman 
  • How do you create a leadership vacuum that continually calls people higher and leads to internal promotions & increasing levels of leadership 
  • What it looks like to take a financial hit on the journey to fighting for your values 
  • How to manage the dynamic of a futuristic leader working alongside a day-to-day CEO 
  • How to bring your whole team into the future idea and have them begin thinking of how their role will need to change to fit into the strategic direction moving forward 
  • Futuristic thinking about whether or not we really have to fire people 

Also mentioned on this show: 

Connect with Matt Diteljan: